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New business aims to help dementia sufferers

An expert in Alzheimer's disease and dementia has set up a new business focused on helping people cope with the conditions.

Krista Tatem's Memory Lane offers services like companion care and consultation services for families and care homes on how to create dementia-friendly environments.

Ms Tatem also offers training sessions for healthcare professionals and care home staff.

She said: “People with dementia really require a lot of outdoor activities — that eases the anxiety and difficult behaviour. We don't have medication which is effective in managing these behaviours.

“It's about anything you can do to keep people physically, emotionally and socially stimulated.”

Ms Tatem studied activation coordination and gerontology — the science of ageing — at George Brown College in Toronto after starting work as a candystriper in a dementia care unit aged 17.

She has also studied the Eden Alternative, a US-based programme designed to help the elderly, and Montessori education methods adapted to help stimulate people with Alzheimer's and dementia.

She said: “There are programmes available that are mainly housed in nursing homes. There is a gap in services for early to mid-stage people.

“They can't stay alone, they need supervision, but don't require nursing assistance.”

Ms Tatem said that she attended a European conference on Alzheimer's last year where experts said they were no closer to a cure for the condition.

She added: “The focus now is on alternative therapies, which is what I do.”

Ms Tatem said she used “a social style”, working with up to three elderly people at a time, taking them on trips and to restaurants, cafés and island beauty spots.

She said she started taking on private clients while spending several years as programme director at island charity Action on Alzheimer's and Dementia.

Ms Tatem added: “Starting Memory Lane has always been a dream of mine and I can now put it together into one comprehensive level of care.

“There is no other programme like this in place.

“It's been a slow process. I was doing it while I worked with the charity, but it was hard to fit it all in so I decided to go 100 per cent with this.”

Ms Tatem said that, as the population ages, Alzheimer's disease and dementia would become more prevalent.

She added: “The statistics are frightening — right now, we estimate there are about 1,000 people who have had a formal diagnosis.”

But she said: “That's not even close to the real number, who haven't had a formal diagnosis.

“The number one risk factor is age and as the population continues to age, they expect it to reach epidemic levels.”

Ms Tatem can be contacted on 505-3679 or by e-mail at memorylanebda@gmail.com

Community care: Krista Tatem, who has launched Memory Lane, aimed at providing a stimulating environment for older people, with client Les Platt (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 24, 2017 at 9:00 am (Updated March 23, 2017 at 11:12 pm)

New business aims to help dementia sufferers

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