In October 2014, our Suffolk service organised a one-day event called Living Well with Dementia. 40 places were open to people living with dementia and their partners, family members or carers, as well as professionals in the dementia care field and anyone else keen to find out more about dementia support.

United Response’s aim was to create an event that would bring people living with dementia together, giving them the opportunity to gain information, socialise and try or revisit a range of creative activities. Finally, and most importantly, the event’s aim was to create memories for the future in a new and different way.

A supportive and stimulating event

Along with United Response, a wealth of knowledgeable organisations were on hand to support and advise participants, including the Alzheimer’s Society, Suffolk Family Carers, Suffolk Mind, Age UK, various Suffolk-based clinical commissioning groups, and professionals from the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust’s Nutrition and Dietetics department.

The venue for the event was the Museum of East Anglian Life in Stowmarket, situated in over 72 acres of picturesque grounds and buildings. The museum provided a safe and stimulating environment for vulnerable people, as well as an opportunity for reminiscence.

The activities on offer

Four activity sessions took place throughout the day and attendees had the chance to choose two to get involved in. They selected from the following:

    1. Photography – a professional photographer demonstrated techniques people could try themselves and all attending this session left with a photo.  
    2. Art - a professional artist led participants in the creation of their own memory journals.  
    3. Music and dance – a local dance school from Ipswich provided lessons on a variety of different styles of music and dance.
    4. Creative writing – a professional poet, who is experienced in unlocking past memories and creating wonderful narratives with people living with dementia, worked with the participants.

A member of the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust’s Nutrition and Dietetics team also provided individualised sessions, on request, where participants learned more about beneficial dietary changes and the evolving nutritional needs of people living with dementia.

United Response support workers and volunteers helped to support the artists in their activity sessions and keep the event running smoothly on the day. All attendees and organisations’ stand holders were asked to complete a feedback form in order to evaluate and shape future United Response events, which was very useful.

Experience the day for yourself

This film was created to commemorate the occasion - a day living differently with dementia. We hope you enjoy watching it:

 Fiona Palmer, project development manager, Suffolk. 

This event was part-funded under our community grants programme, which is funded by The Clothworkers’ Foundation and United Response supporters. Please make a small donation to our dementia activity workshops appeal so we can continue our good work around the country.