Notts County Football in the Community (FITC) has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Society to deliver a programme of activities to benefit men living with Working Age Dementia (WAD).
FITC are currently working with 12 men with WAD, plus their carers.
Participants are aged from 40 to 65 years old and are often socially isolated, as a result of their life-changing condition.
The project has been established to meet a need to deliver a service for a marginalised and isolated group with limited provision.
WAD affects people when they least expect it and is a terminal condition.
On average, individuals live with dementia for seven years after diagnosis, although for some it is much longer.
During this time they experience physical and mental deterioration as well as social isolation.
This sports-based project focuses on innovative ways of addressing their problems, by encouraging people with WAD, their carers and volunteers into shared physical and social activities.
Helen Byrne, Alzheimer's Society locality manager for Nottinghamshire said: "Some people wrongly see dementia as a natural part of growing old, but there are more than 17,000 people under 65 with the condition so it's essential that there is suitable support and advice available for younger people with dementia and their carers.
"The work at Notts County encourages participants to remain fit and healthy, which is particularly important for people living with dementia.
"We are delighted to be supporting the club with it and believe that the better people feel, the better life will be for them and those around them."
Tim Hatton from Notts County FC Football in the Community added: “Working with this group of people with WAD has been a real eye-opener for us.
"We were amazed to hear how little provision there is for this target group and how confused, lonely and frustrating the condition can be.
"Delivering this project is improving the quality of life of these participants and, as a charity that works in the heart of Nottingham’s community, we’re committed to helping them have fun and meet new people.”
Regular physical activity, healthy eating and social interaction have been proven to significantly improve quality of life and can reduce the risk of dementia in later life.
In the autumn, FITC delivered a pilot project, which has been extremely successful and popular, and extremely positive feedback was received from participants, carers and the Alzheimer’s Society, who are FITC's partners in the project.
The innovative programme involves an hour of physical activity and a half-hour social session every week at Portland Leisure Centre in the Meadows.
For the physical part of the sessions FITC offer participants a wide range of alternative, gentle and easy-to-follow activities every week, including walking football, bowls, cricket, basketball, table tennis, volleyball and badminton among others.
In contrast, the social part of the session gives participants the chance to engage in conversation, create social connections and relax in the company of others while having a drink and enjoying a biscuit to replenish their energy levels.
The project increases participants’ skills, confidence and self-esteem, giving them the opportunity and a setting to interact with men who have the same condition.
FITC aim to reduce levels of social isolation that are associated with their group.
By providing mental and physical stimulation to participants, they will maintain links with the community and feel less isolated.
This will help to support them in maintaining self-sufficiency, control and independence in all aspects of their lives. Delivery of our project will:
° Reduce social isolation and provide interaction
° Provide purposeful activity
° Provide friendship and support from peer group
° Provide physical activity, stimulation and participation
° Motivate and stimulate
° Ensure participants feel worthwhile
° Provide enjoyable and fun activities
° Enable participants to maintain community links