In a move which rivals the greatest hat tricks in footballing history, dementia specialist nurse Betty Lucas will be working alongside Newcastle United Football Club and a local health charity to support people with dementia to keep fit and connected.
Admiral Nurse Betty Lucas, who is based at HospiceCare in North Northumberland, has played a key role in organising football sessions for people with dementia in collaboration with Newcastle United Football Club and Active Northumberland – a charity committed to improving health and wellbeing within the local community for those living with a life-limiting illness.
This partnership resulted in an inaugural Dementia Football programme which took place in September. The programme is open to anyone living in North Northumberland with a diagnosis of dementia. It will run over ten weeks and be held at Active Northumberland’s Willowburn Leisure Centre, Alnwick and Swan Leisure Centre, Berwick. The football sessions will be facilitated by Paul Yeardon, Newcastle United Community Coach for Alnwick and Regan Graham, Newcastle Community Coach for Berwick together with HospiceCare’s Admiral Nurse, Betty Lucas. Betty is providing additional support to communicate and encourage the people with dementia in the football sessions.
The sessions encourage people with dementia to play the game at their own pace. Each session will last for one hour, after which there will be an opportunity to relax with families and carers over a cuppa and cake to share memories of the history of Newcastle United Football Club.
Admiral Nurse, Betty Lucas, said of the programme: “Through these football sessions, we hope that people diagnosed with dementia can make connections to people with similar interests. We also want to enhance the experience of being part of a team as we know how important connection is to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness amongst people with dementia. Families and carers will have the opportunity to get involved with the session as well; it’s a great chance to meet with each other and form their own support network.”
Nina Burnett, HospiceCare Clinical Lead, said: “We are thrilled to be part of this venture as it epitomises our ethos on quality of life.”
This ground-breaking project has provided wonderful benefits to the local community living with dementia already. It also reflects the growing body of evidence around sport keeping people with dementia healthy as well as providing them with valuable moments of connection and reminiscence – well done Betty!
For more information on how you can support people with dementia in exercise as well as looking after yourself: