Living well with dementia on the Isle of Wight

ContactSue Lightfoot, Head of Commissioning Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, Isle of Wight CCG
Telephone01983 552028, 07795963569
AddressSouth Block, St Mary’s Hospital, Parkhurst Road, Isle of Wight, PO30 5TG

This project aims to create a Dementia-Friendly Island building on and enhancing the existing Isle of Wight Dementia Action Alliance. This will create long-term connections between public services, voluntary groups and communities to support people with dementia and carers to live well.

To gain a ‘quick win’ the first priority will be to work within the hospital to make the environment more dementia friendly. In the last year we have launched the ‘Butterfly Scheme’ and now want to implement recent research carried out about how colour affects people emotionally and physically and can encourage eating, promote social times and helps people find their way around and contributes to an interesting and inspiring environment.

The project will use dementia friendly colour’s to highlight certain areas, and objects as in toilet seats, grab rails and clock faces. Shades of colour will also be used to distinguish those areas that are “patient” and “non patient” to deter patients wandering into an area where there safety may be compromised. Better lighting (automatic and low level as appropriate) will help people living with dementia through navigation, orientation, mobility/reduction in falls risk, independence and involvement. This could then be used as an exemplar for other organizations and agencies to learn lessons from.

‘Circles of Support’ will be used to inform, enhance and complement the Good Neighbour Scheme through its direct work with local communities to offer innovative, practical and holistic action to improve the quality of life for people with dementia, and their families/carers.

Dementia advisors will work within, and collaboratively with, the aligned Memory Services. They will be an identifiable point of contact for people with dementia and their carers, signpost people to appropriate universal, mainstream and/or specialist services and enable people to navigate and access support. It is planned that all current service users would be able to access the dementia advisor.

Dementia advisors will contribute significantly to the early intervention and prevention agenda identified clearly in national health, social care and housing policy, enabling a strategic shift in this direction. With such a shift, we would anticipate improvements in people’s outcomes and more efficient use of health and social care services. Local and national evidence suggests early intervention can result in delaying or preventing admission to long term care, enabling people to stay at home for longer.


  • To have strong dementia friendly communities across IW by December 2014
  • To ensure people living with dementia have opportunities to contribute and participate in their neighbourhoods, supporting each other to live well with dementia
  • To offer opportunities for people with dementia to have meaningful activities in hospital
  • To create supportive networks across the IOW of people living with dementia
  • To ensure we have a system in place to support people with dementia to access the right information and support at the right time
  • To ensure that people living with dementia receive better understanding and support when trying to access services provided by different organisations and businesses by educating workers in the community to communicate with people with dementia and understand the difficulties they face. This will de-stigmatise the disease by removing some barriers for people when accessing many aspects of their daily lives where they may currently experience difficulty such as banks, pubs restaurants and shops.
  • To offer support to people living with dementia, in their own home such as practical support in terms of signposting to other services such as maintenance, transport, and care. Dealing with and understanding the emotional and physical aspects and demands of providing care at home
  • To ensure that people living in care homes can also access support to improve their quality of life by working with volunteers to improve access to activity and visiting
  • To reverse the trend that for a lot of older people, when they are diagnosed with dementia they find that their personal and social networks reduce or disappear
  • To offer support to carers and families of people living with dementia to understand the disease and the emotional context of living with and supporting a loved one
  • By improving support in local communities it may be possible to reduce the number of people having to go to hospital or having no choices but to move into care
  • For those people with dementia having to go into hospital the environment will be more appropriate by reducing confusion and minimising distress. Improving wellbeing may help to reduce the length of stay in hospital.

Anticipiated outcomes

This project seeks to deliver outcomes for both people living with dementia, their families/carers and the wider community. Not only is it aimed at local businesses and organisations to create more dementia friendly environments, it gets to the heart of local communities, and through a specialist support worker will help build confidence to enable those living with dementia, to live well.

The project will achieve a shift in thinking (reducing stigma and discrimination, social isolation, anxiety and social exclusion) such that:

  • Communities have a better understanding of dementia and how to respond to those with memory loss
  • Improved care and patient experience through environmental changes within the hospital setting which may also impact on the length of stay required
  • There is increasing, but sustainable, capacity to offer support to people with dementia and their carers
  • Carers have increased access to support to reduce the burden of caring on their health and wellbeing
  • People with dementia have improved health and wellbeing; being enabled to live independently, more effectively and securely
  • Older people living with dementia in care homes, will have an opportunity to benefit from volunteer support
  • Education and self-directed support for people in the community will reduce the need for institutional care and may reduce hospital admissions where families will be better enabled to support the person living with dementia within their home environment
  • Older people visiting hospital are less stressed, confused and disorientated
  • Peer support networks will be encouraged to put families with similar needs together underpinned by a new communication framework
  • By integrating services the project will help to identify hard to reach people following a diagnosis of dementia and understand how services interconnect and complement each other
  • Future projects can be designed to ensure sustainability and value for money
  • People who are newly diagnosed and living with dementia will have access to signposting that will enable them to find and access the information and education that is on offer
  • People with dementia and their carers will be at the centre of these developments to ensure services are responding to their needs.