By Tony Earnshaw Local Democracy Reporter
TWO new day centres are to be created in Kirklees as the local council re-designs how it tackles dementia care.
Health boss Richard Parry (right) unveiled the plans last Wednesday as part of a wider strategy built on engagement with people experiencing dementia as well as carers, friends and neighbours.
In a presentation packed with sometimes blunt and alarming statistics he said putting people with dementia at the centre of the council’s policy, and understanding their experiences, would provide a vital insight into their behaviour.
Currently Kirklees Council runs two day centres – Knowl House in Mirfield and The Homestead in Almondbury – providing opportunities to help people with complex dementia to continue to live in their own homes and remain as independent as possible for longer.
Day opportunities can also give carers or family a break.
The council is looking to commission two new purpose-designed day centres for people with complex needs associated with dementia.
Mr Parry, the council’s director for commissioning, public health and adult social care, said: “Being a social worker I believe in the social model of disability.
“It’s not about the individual. It’s not even about the wheelchair.
“It’s about the environment in which someone lives. It’s the way we’ve designed our places.
“If we put the person at the centre and understand their experience we get insight into why the person might be behaving in a particular way.
“We need to continue to remember that everyone is unique – and everyone living with dementia is unique.”
Mr Parry’s team has been working with the University of Stirling and its internationally-renowned research centre that looks at the impact of environment on the experience of people living with dementia.
He added: “It advises on a whole series of sometimes quite simple design changes that can assist independence and improve quality of life.”