Free self-help guide that has benefited thousands to be made available in GP surgeries

A self-help dementia guide which has benefited thousands of people in Devon is to be made available in local GP practices.

The Dementia Carers’ Pathways guide has already provided practical information to more than 10,000 carers in the county.

Over the coming weeks more people are set to benefit as the guide becomes available in every GP surgery in Devon.

The booklet contains guidance and information intended to meet the needs of dementia carers, who are often older, may have restricted income and health problems, and suffer social isolation.

It was written by Devon residents David Light and Jim Delves who found it difficult to find the information they needed while caring for their lifelong partners.

The guide has proved so successful that they have had enquiries about the guide from caring organisations and NHS trusts all over the UK.

David, aged 73, of Bishopsteignton, near Newton Abbot, said:

“The guide has been very well received indeed; we not had a bad comment so far. In fact, one person was so pleased with it that they donated £500 to have more copies printed when their mother died. I think it works so well because it is practical based on experience, and I am delighted that it seems to have been of use to so many people”.

A total of 13,000 copies have been distributed since the guide was launched two years ago.

David and Jim remained committed, positive and flexible while working with the NHS to develop the guide. They also gave much of their own time and money to the project.

Both men have also been instrumental in setting up “memory cafes” throughout the county with NHS Devon and Devon County Council.

The guide was funded by Devon Partnership NHS Trust with support from the Senior Council for Devon, Rotarians and Bishopsteignton councillor Alun Williams.

It has already been sent to carers, carers’ networks and voluntary agencies in the county. Devon Partnership NHS Trust is now working with NHS Devon to make the guides available in local practices.

Paul Baker, head of primary care at NHS Devon, said:

“It’s great to see how two carers have turned frustration into action. The guide is a uniquely imaginative, highly valued means of support to carers and has clearly made a real difference. We hope that making it available in GP practices will help many more people in future. I’d like to thank David and Jim for all their efforts.”

The guides will be available in GP surgeries in Mid Devon and Exeter this week. Practices in other areas will stock them from the end of July.

If you have a difficulty obtaining one please contact David or Jim direct on dlight@gmail.com or jimdelves@yahoo.co.uk

For more information or interviews contact Paul Hopkins on 01392 356 956 / 267 647 or 0797 133 0491.