Social enterprise takes time to improve dementia care across Greater Manchester

Marcia Powell from Unlimited Potential
Marcia Powell from Unlimited Potential

A social enterprise took on a time banking project to help improve the quality of life of people with dementia in care homes in Greater Manchester.

Marcia Powell, who is the project lead from Unlimited Potential, based in Salford, piloted Time to Connect for nine months at EachStep, a care home in Blackley, with residents living with dementia.

The project used time banking to provide opportunities for people to make a contribution to the well-being of others and decide on ways in which they can spend their time credits to create social and support networks for a person with dementia.

Marcia’s role as a time broker was to match a person with dementia and a local person or organisation so they could share skills that would enrich both of their lives.

Marcia said: “Having dementia doesn’t mean you have fewer skills, interests and things that you enjoy – a person with dementia is still a valuable part of society. I wanted to enable them to demonstrate their skills and have a sense of achievement and fulfilment, as well as bonding with someone from outside the care home setting.

“The time banking process can help with preventing loneliness and isolation, create friendships and help decrease medical interventions and GP presentations.

“Giving an hour of your time is a small action and commitment, but it has a big impact for both lives.”

This project fits in with this year’s Dementia Action Week, which is asking everyone to take actions big and small to improve the lives of people affected by dementia.

Marcia added: “Too many people living with dementia face the condition alone and are excluded from society.

“The opportunities to combat this with time banking are endless as the matching is bespoke – whether that be an interest in gardening, dressmaking or singing. We have also done intergenerational work, with school children and college students coming in.”

Since the pilot, EachStep has put a new emphasis on the admission process for new residents to make sure they have a high-quality history of the likes and achievements of each person – so that the interests and skills they have are fulfilled.

Unlimited Potential was approached to take on the project by Timebanking UK. During the pilot, the project won an award for Innovation in Health and Care in the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector, in the Loneliness/Ageing Well category, from Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

For more information on time banking and other Unlimited Potential projects go to www.unlimitedpotential.org.uk

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