Feb 17 2012 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Friday
DEMENTIA sufferers and their families are set to benefit from an agreement between the owners of a 16th century castle and a determined local couple.
Stronachlachar resident Jennifer Roberts, a former nurse now specialising in dementia care, and her husband Paul have created two specialist respite facilities in the grounds of Kilbryde Castle, near Dunblane.
Dementia Timeout was launched locally after a successful pilot project to turn a four-bedroom bungalow in Aberdeenshire into a dementia-friendly holiday home in 2009.
Jennifer said: “Our aim is to enable people with dementia to do something most of us take for granted – take a well-earned break or holiday.
“We have been awarded £4000 from Scotland’s Millennium Awards fund to help us turn our vision into reality.
“In the past three years we have met many people with dementia, as well as family carers, who have told us how difficult it is to find suitable accommodation to enjoy a break away from the stresses and strains of daily life.
“We believe the provision of dementia-friendly, self-catering accommodation will go a long way to fulfilling this need.
“The properties will offer people with dementia the freedom to maintain their own structures and familiar routines: to get up when they want, eat when they want and enjoy a stress-free holiday or break with their families and carers.”
The two Kilbryde Castle properties include a cottage and a garden apartment and are able to accommodate between four and six people.
Jennifer continued: “We recognise the growing need for people to see first-hand – and try out – new technology, simple aids and adaptations that are designed to help people with dementia stay safe, maintain their abilities and retain their independence.”
Agnes Houston is Scotland’s dementia champion for the Care Commission and has stayed at the pilot bungalow with her husband, who has dementia.
She praised the design of the project and said: “I think that it would be great to have this bungalow to take the whole family away so that the grandchildren can get to know their grandparents in a relaxed holiday setting and not just a rushed visit.”
Alzheimer Scotland carers stayed at the bungalow alongside a group of people with dementia in 2009.
Anne Naylor, a local involvement officer with the charity, said: “This is really exciting and just the sort of facility that is needed.”
To find out more about Dementia Timeout see its website at www.dementiatimeout.com.