Bath-based charity, The Research Institute for the Care of Older People (RICE), are launching a peer support and wellbeing programme of events and activities for people with a recent diagnosis of dementia or memory loss and their family or carers.

Since March 2023, when RICE was awarded over £300,000 by The National Lottery Community Fund, the charity has been assessing the post-diagnosis needs of patients and carers by gathering data, collecting insight through workshops and 1:1 sessions with people living with dementia. A new Lived Experience Advice Panel (LEAP) consisting of people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers now meets at RICE every two months to collaborate with the charity’s fundraising team on many aspects of their work.

The first post-diagnosis support to be launched by RICE is a selection of seasonal drop-in events for people experiencing memory problems and their loved ones or local people living with mild to moderate dementia in the Bath community. Participants are invited to enjoy a friendly, informal and relaxing morning activity with others in a similar position. Some events will be hosted at RICE while others will include visits to local museums or other places of interest. Activities and Events - RICE

RICE’s drop-in activities over the next few months include;

Thursday 16th November 10am-12pm Toast, Tea and Poetry at The RICE Centre, the Royal United Hospital, Bath.

Tuesday 16th January 10.30am-12pm Holburne Museum visit and Wedgewood inspired creative session.

Thursday 8th February 10.30am-12pm Holburne Museum visit and Japanese inspired lantern making session.

Spring 2024 – Creative and activity courses planned to support those affected by dementia.

During 2024, RICE will be piloting seasonal events and activities as well as other event programmes to combat loneliness and help people connect with others, with the aim of rolling these out and integrating them in to RICE’s longer-term provision. The project funded by the National Lottery’s Building Communities Fund aims to reduce isolation and confusion experienced by people diagnosed with dementia. It will support families living with dementia to maintain social activities during the transitional phase between diagnosis and longer-term community support by offering a range of activities led by carers and patients.

RICE’s new programme of events builds on its existing support services which currently include a range of courses such as Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, Living with Dementia and a one day course for Carers. The new events will allow the charity to reach more patients and families and provide accessible peer support activities.

Melissa Hillier, Chief Executive Officer at RICE said: “We are excited to be launching a new programme of events and activities to provide post-diagnosis support for people living with mild to moderate dementia. Our research showed that people diagnosed with dementia and their carers would value a safe meeting space where they can meet and share with people in a similar situation, learn from one another and provide mutual circles of support. We believe that our new groups will help reduce isolation and smooth the transition between diagnosis and longer-term support. Please get in touch if you’d like to attend or volunteer at RICE events, we would love to hear from you.”

Wendy Williamson, a patient at RICE and member of their Lived Experience Advice Panel said: “Dementia is a very lonely journey and RICE’s events help people to connect. I had lost touch with some people we knew who attended RICE, but now we are going to meet up again and have a coffee and talk about what’s out there. Being able to talk together and share is good.”

RICE is an internationally recognised research institute, treatment centre and Memory Clinic dedicated to improving quality of life for older people through its research and support for people with dementia, their families and carers. As well as undertaking dementia research and conducting clinical trials into potential treatments for dementia, RICE hosts the NHS Memory Clinic for Bath and North East Somerset. The RICE Memory Clinic receives referrals from local GPs, assesses patient’s memory and thinking skills and provides treatment and medication for dementia.

The charity is seeking more volunteers to support RICE at their events and activities and skills required include an enjoyment of creativity and the arts, office or fundraising support, any ‘hobbies’ or crafts suitable to share at workshops.

To book onto RICE’s seasonal drop-in events or register as a volunteer, contact [email protected] or call: 01225 476 420 or visit here.