Rationale, aims and potential for the Getting Along© programme

Rationale

I have lost count of the number of times I have gone in to people’s houses and found them questioning the validity of decades of marriage because neither understood the impact of the dementia upon the relationship. What do we do about it? We separate people. We send one off to respite or day care or into hospital for assessment. Then we send people back together equally ill-equipped to cope with the same unattended antagonisms. We resign ourselves to the fact that nothing can be done about a couple whom we perceive to be ‘always fighting

The Getting Along© programme will work with couples TOGETHER on the unattended antagonisms that frequently occur within relationships where one partner has a dementia. This can often result in the person with dementia losing a voice within their own home, gaps between respite and crises shortening and an avoidable early and permanent separation.

AIMS of the Getting Along© programme
 To gain a more balanced picture of both sides of the caregiving relationship
 To help couples spot potential antagonisms within the relationships and attend to them
 To highlight an area of support that is needed yet hitherto not provided.
 To create what could then be a self-sustaining user group for couples.

 First, to enable dyads to broach subjects they had not been able to discuss
 to facilitate conversation on an equal footing for both participants.

Potential outcomes
Two-thirds of people with dementia live in community settings yet there is frequently a disproportionate investment in long term care as opposed to community care settings. York is no exception. The huge local authority investment in commissioning two new long term care facilities for under 200 beds may well indeed be necessary but according to the Alzheimer’s Society 2013 there are 2,700 people living with dementia in York.
The Getting Along© programme can go some way to redressing that imbalance of investment and provide important practical support in and around the time of diagnosis – a period which is often somewhat a bit of a no man’s land.

A little more info on the programme:
I will be working with 4 couples and visiting each couple in their own home up to 5 times each.
During those visits I will carry out a short series of semi-structured interviews with both parties TOGETHER.
I will follow up these visits with a series of group meetings attended by all 4 couples

Referrals:
I would request referrals from any source for couples struggling to come to terms with the presence of a dementia in the relationship. The preference is for those couples most recently diagnosed or those just accessing services for the first time.

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The first Getting Along© programme gets the green light

Project Lead: Innovations in Dementia associate, Damian Murphy
Tel: 07927 405 854 e-mail: dementiafriendly@outlook.com

http://www.innovationsindementia.org.uk

News Release

October 2014
Innovations in Dementia has been awarded a Big Lottery Fund grant which will fund a pilot of the Uk’s first Getting Along© programme in York that supports couples where one person has been diagnosed with dementia

‘I have lost count of the number of times I have gone in to people’s houses and found them questioning the validity of decades of marriage because neither understood the impact of the dementia upon the relationship,’
says Damian Murphy, project lead and York-based associate of Innovations in Dementia.

The Getting Along© project will work with couples TOGETHER on the unattended antagonisms that frequently occur within relationships where one partner has a dementia. This can often result in the person with dementia losing a voice within their own home, gaps between respite and crises shortening and an avoidable early and permanent separation.

The Getting Along© project can make a real difference in equipping couples at an early stage face up to the presence of a dementia in their midst.

Innovations in Dementia Community Interest Company works with people with dementia, partner organisations and professionals to help people keep control of their lives. They do this through running a range of innovative projects that test out and disseminate positive ways of working to enable people to live well with dementia.

The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40% of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.

The Fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since its inception in 2004 we have awarded close to £6bn.

The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006

For more information and a referral contact Damian Murphy – details above