Reducing the pressures on health and social care is one of Greater Manchester Housing Providers’ priorities, investing in new modern homes and support packages for an ageing population.

GMHP member, Irwell Valley Homes, has a long and successful history of providing specialist housing and support for people affected by all forms of memory loss at Shore Green, a specialist dementia care scheme in south Manchester.

Shore Green significantly improves the lives of people with dementia and other forms of memory loss by providing tailored care and support in purpose designed accommodation, where residents are supported to live independently for as long as possible in their own home within a safe, communal setting.

With 1 in 14 people over 65 living with Dementia, Irwell Valley Homes wanted to expand this specialist support in the communities they serve. Earlier this year they set up ‘Memory Makers’, a series of dementia cafes across Greater Manchester. The cafes provide a safe environment where people affected by dementia or memory loss can socialise and enjoy life enriching activities, such as animal therapy and musical reminiscence, within their local community.

Facilitated by the specialist team from Shore Green, the sessions support everyone affected by dementia, not just the person with the diagnosis. Loved ones and carers also benefit from a place where they can relax and talk to people who understand their concerns and challenges. They can also access specialist advice and support from local services.

Evidence shows that initiatives such as these significantly improve the health and wellbeing of people affected by memory loss and help to reduce pressures on health and social care services.

In 2016 there were 20,000 hospital admissions for people living with dementia or other forms of memory loss in Greater Manchester. Some of these could have been avoided if people had a place to turn for advice and support within their community.

Julia Collins from the Alzheimer’s Society said: “Memory Makers is a safe and welcoming space for people affected by and living with dementia to come together. The staff are friendly and approachable and create a really enjoyable environment which encourages people to participate and engage in meaningful conversations and activities which is so important for their health and wellbeing.”

The café’s which take place every month across Greater Manchester have been funded by the Irwell Valley Foundation, a £2m endowment fund investment that is managed by Forever Manchester, the Community Foundation for Greater Manchester.

Andrew White, Head of Independent and Community Living from Irwell Valley Homes said: “It is essential that people living with dementia and other forms of memory loss have access to services and support to help stay connected in their local community.

He went on to say: “Thanks to the support of the Irwell Valley Foundation, the Memory Makers cafes are significantly improving the quality of life for people affected.”

“Set up to help people find local solutions to local problems and encourage positive change within the communities we serve, the Irwell Valley Foundation has a long history of providing funding to help people with their personal development and wellbeing, as well as projects and initiatives that benefit the wider community. This year we are investing £100,000 in projects that support people, improve lives, and foster communities.”

Take a look at how Irwell Valley Homes is improving the lives of residents by taking a different approach to dementia care.

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