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Carers given lifeline from Kent Freemasons

Posted on 23rd May 2018

The families and loved ones of people living with dementia in Maidstone and the surrounding and villages will be able to join a new support group, thanks to a grant from East Kent Freemasons.

The £12,658 grant to Heart of Kent Hospice, based in Aylesford, will fund the In it Together project which will benefit carers whether they are looking after their loved ones at home or have entrusted their care to a residential or nursing home.

The Hospice will host the much needed pre and post-bereavement support group, which will help carers who often experience grief before they have lost their family member, as they try to cope with the challenges of the disease whilst the person they know and love slowly disappears.

The group, led by a specialist Palliative Care Social Worker and Counsellor, will help participants find ways of managing the particular feelings of loss that caring for someone with dementia brings, while also helping them to face their grief with strength and resilience. The support will then continue after the carer’s loved one dies.

The Hospice already offers a monthly Dementia Café for patients and their carers to receive support from professionals and other families in a similar position. In February, the charity also launched its Making Memories Programme providing activities for patients and carers such as singing or making memory boxes, and practical advice for carers to help them cope with the demands of their role.

The number of people with dementia in the UK is set to rise from the current 850,000 people to over one million by 2025. Of these, the number of elderly people in Kent with dementia is expected to increase from around 20,000 in 2012 to nearly 25,000 people in 2020.

Sarah Pugh, Heart of Kent Hospice Chief Executive, expressed her delight at the grant:

“We’re very grateful for this generous gift from East Kent Freemasons. Our award winning dementia care programme is leading the way among hospices, with our monthly Dementia Café and Making Memories Programme. The grant will be instrumental in helping us to fill the gap in the support that dementia carers currently receive.”

Mark Bassant from East Kent Freemasons said:

“We’re very pleased to be able to help Heart of Kent Hospice provide vital support for the carers of people with dementia. These carers start to lose their loved ones well before they die and support during this period can make all the difference.”

The In It Together project will officially launch during Dementia Awareness Week from 21 – 27 May 2018. To find out more about Heart of Kent Hospice dementia care please visit call 01622 792200 or visit www.hokh.org.

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