Sandwell Dementia Navigators

Agewell is delighted to be working in partnership with Sandwell Crossroads and Dementia Pathfinders to deliver a service across Sandwell for people living with dementia and their family carers.

Looking after someone living with dementia can be overwhelming and emotionally draining but we are here to help.

Designed to reach out to people living at home, with the aim of improving access to diagnosis and post diagnostic support, the Sandwell Dementia Navigators service aims to fully equip family carers with information, knowledge and skills to enable people with dementia and their families to live well and with meaning and purpose.

A Dementia Navigator can help a family with:

  • Suggesting techniques and approaches for keeping active and staying healthy
  • Working out strategies for coping with family tensions and conflict
  • Identifying meaningful ways to stay connected, engaged and occupied
  • Signposting to organisations in the community that can provide additional help
  • Providing advice on financial assistance and welfare benefits
  • Offering emotional support
  • Providing practical advice and devising approaches for dealing with distressed behaviours of the person with dementia
  • Helping to resolve communication and relationship difficulties

During the period of restriction due to risks associated with COVID-19, Dementia Navigators will provide telephone advice and support, which might include interpreting and acting on the Government’s coronavirus guidance.

Anyone can make a referral to the Sandwell Dementia Navigators service.

Tel: 0121 553 6483 choose Option 6 (Mon to Thurs 8:30am to 4:30pm and Fri 8:30am to 4pm)

Or email: dementianavigators@sandwellcrossroads.org

We are here to help

There is a team of eight Dementia Navigators, which includes Sandra Graham, Debra Pierson and Claire Williams from Agewell, who were previously ‘Community Pathfinders’ with the Kingfisher Buddies project.

“We started work in April 2020 at the height of the first national lockdown,” explains Team Leader Tirath Kaur. “Initially our time was spent reaching out to professionals to let them know about the new service. People with dementia and family carers, who were previously being supported by Kingfisher Buddies, were transferred to the Dementia Navigator service (with their consent) so that they could continue to receive a service.

“A key focus is for us to work closely with GPs and primary care teams to identify people at risk of dementia and provide a streamlined approach to screening. There has been a progressive increase in referral numbers since April and at the end of the first six-month period, Dementia Navigators were supporting more than 300 families affected by dementia.

“When Covid restrictions were eased during the summer, we were able to visit people in their gardens and in open spaces, observing the social distancing rules. Our work includes referring to other services, for example, Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Palliative Care.

“We support family carers with their own needs as well as providing interventions to promote health and mental wellbeing for people experiencing the effects of dementia. Carers can feel overwhendwelmed, so we offer families a whole package of care and support with their own Dementia Navigator.”

Helping me cope

Brian from Great Barr says he really doesn’t know how he could have coped without the Sandwell Dementia Navigators service.

“I took my wife to the Kingfisher Buddies group and I’ve never been made so welcome in all my life,” says Brian. “They were brilliant with her.

She died last year but I’m still being supported which has been a godsend during the pandemic.

“Jason from Agewell has come without fail every week to talk to me and get my shopping. I have hearing difficulties and just couldn’t get my blue badge sorted on my own over the phone, which was making me feel very stressed and upset.

Dementia Navigator Sandra, during one of her garden visits in the summer, stepped in and sorted it for me which was such a relief.

“Thanks to Sandra I am now connected, not only to the online singing group that the navigators have set up, but to my family too. I haven’t got any relatives who live near me, so this has been a great help in reducing my isolation and loneliness. I’m so grateful for the help I’m getting."

 

Dementia Navigators News