Care for Scots with dementia and sight loss to be assessed in new project

A new project will assess how best to care for the thousands of people in Scotland with both dementia and sight loss.

The charity Royal Blind has received funding to research what activities those living in care homes find most rewarding and how they can be tailored to their needs.

Royal Blind said people with dementia enjoy reminiscing through photographs or watching films, which can be challenging for people without full sight.

Instead, the charity organises tasting activities so residents can reminisce through sampling traditional local foods.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey will officially launch the project on Wednesday at Jenny’s Well in Paisley, Renfrewshire.

It is one of Scotland’s two specialist care homes for sight loss run by Royal Blind, with the other in Edinburgh.

The research comes after the charity was awarded £20,000 by the Life Changes Trust, with funding from the National Lottery Community Fund over two years.

It plans to develop learning resources for other care providers who support people living with sight loss and dementia.

Royal Blind estimates there are at least 12,500 people living with dementia and sight loss in Scotland.

Chief executive Mark O’Donnell said: “Around 80% of residents at Jenny’s Well live with both dementia and sight loss.

“Over the coming years, an increasing number of people in Scotland with dementia will also have sight loss, particularly as vision impairment can be a symptom of a number of different forms of dementia.

“Sight loss and dementia both require tailored approaches to care to ensure people living with the conditions receive the support they need.

“We want to develop our understanding and share learning through this project about how we provide that care and meaningful activities.”

Anna Buchanan, chief executive of the Life Changes Trust, said: “The project is one of several that the Trust is funding, looking at how rights can be made real for people with dementia living in care homes.

“We hope it will help us better understand the ways in which human rights can be secured and retained by people living with dementia and sight loss.”

Ms Haughey said: “The Scottish Government’s See Hear strategy sets out recommendations and areas for action to better meet the needs of people with a sensory impairment.

“This year we are also increasing our package of investment in social care and integration to exceed £700 million, underlining our commitment to support older people and disabled people.”

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