XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Dementia Friendly Community - Helmsdale.org Skip to content...

Helmsdale Dementia Friendly Community



Portgower bowler to represent the Highlands




Launch of a free family carers learning programme on Tuesday Jan 22nd 2pm at Helmsdale & District Community Centre. Come and see what it is all about. Meet the team and enjoy some refreshments. There will be a couple of short talks, short film and information about the carer’s programme.

The 3-month programme begins February 5th, and is a learning course for people who care for a family relative or neighbour with dementia (or other long-term condition that affects memory or behaviour). It is supported by High Life Highland charity set up the Highland Council in 2011.

Family and community carers are among the unsung heroes of society. Without their work the health system could not cope. People enable their relatives to live in the community, and remain as independent as possible. Caring can be truly rewarding and it can be deeply draining. This course is about building resilience and skills for caring for people, through different stages and individual experiences of dementia, for quality of life.

Based on several years practice research, a professional care and arts backgrounds, the course is fun and informative. Creativity In Care, led by Karrie Marshall, looks at ethical dilemmas as well as understanding how communication, behaviour and ‘making-sense-of-things’ abilities change. There can be huge emotional changes for everyone in the process as people deal with changes from independence to interdependence and changes in memory or cognitive skills. These are explored through creative process.

The weekly course is not about arts and crafts… it is a creative process that uses various art forms in the learning process for all involved. We know creativity has an amazing impact on well-being, and helps people understand complex issues. No prior knowledge or skill is required… just a willingness to come and see what you think.
Carers are welcome to come along with the person they care for, as there is a separate course running at the same time for people receiving care, whose carers are participants on the programme. We all join up to work on a longer-term creative project together that explores the dreams and wishes of care-givers and care-receivers. This creates something that other carers can relate to and gain from.

If you, or someone you know is interested in finding out more, please come along on January 22nd, or phone Karrie on 07716111585. Posters and leaflets can be seen in Golspie, Brora and Helmsdale.
For more information about Creativity In Care see website http://www.creativityincare.org



An intro from Councillor Deirdre Mackay

Deirdre Mackay

‘As a local Councillor I am out and about in our communities on a daily basis.  I pick up people’s fears and concerns and look at  what can be done to help them. Over the past while I have become increasingly aware of the growing concerns around dementia.  As our population ages more and more people are being diagnosed with this condition.

‘Whilst local services at the acute end of the scale are excellent it is clear that services for people in the early stages of dementia are virtually non-existent.  It is so important that people with dementia are helped to live their lives, and pursue their interests, in as normal a way as possible.  The role of carers is central to  this and currently there is little or no support for those who live with, and look after, dementia sufferers. 

‘There are a raft of issues which require to be addressed in order to help improve life for people with dementia and their carers.

‘It is with this in mind that a small group of interested and enthusiastic people met recently to look at what can be done locally here in Sutherland. The heart of our work to date has been to look at what is required to create ‘Dementia Friendly Communities’.

‘If you would like to become involved or contribute in any way, no matter how small, please feel free to get in touch.

Information on the activities of the group will be available on the website


What is a Dementia Friendly Community?

A Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) is one that recognises and embraces the challenges that a life with dementia presents to both people with dementia and their carers, enabling them to live life to its full potential.

A group of like-minded people have got together in East Sutherland to turn our county from one that has little dementia support to a model of dementia excellence for both people with dementia and their family carers, so that no-one newly diagnosed ever has to walk the lonely dementia journey alone.

How is this achieved?  By working collaboratively - and building on the strengths that are already present in any town or village - to develop a beacon ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ that will provide the inspiration for other towns and villages in East Sutherland to follow. 

Our objectives over the next months are to:

  • Identify the key partners, services, activities and businesses within any given town or village to develop a local map of ‘the people and the place’;
  • Engage with and by increasing the knowledge and understanding of all key players bring Dementia to the top of any local agenda;
  • Challenge the stigma, myths and misconceptions about Dementia by opening the channels of communication and removing the barriers to change that stereotyping can bring;
  • Work with local services and businesses to make the community a dynamic and friendly place for people with dementia, their carers, families and friends to live and work in as well as to visit;
  • Work together to increase the opportunity for people with dementia and their carers to remain engaged in their chosen activities of life for as long as they wish to;
  • Work together to increase empathy and support for dementia carers by developing a shared understanding of the emotional and practical challenges they face.

The 4 Es:  our principles for success

1.    Engage – with the local community, bring them on board with the project and make a Dementia Friendly Community our shared goal

2.    Educate – increase knowledge and awareness in all settings and with all people

3.    Enthuse – ‘standing still is not an option’  - lead by example and through positive messages and outcomes 

4.    Enable – make the changes needed and develop the services and opportunities so that dementia isn’t an accepted barrier to quality of life

Anyone interested in working to achieve this goal, should contact us at

Dementia Friendly Group