In 2019 ECCT provided support to Alzheimer’s Manawatu to assist with the building of a multi-use day care facility for those living with Dementia. The project aimed to provide a dementia-friendly environment to cater for the increasing numbers of people seeking dementia day services in the Manawatu. People with dementia and their carers, families, and loved ones often feel socially isolated. The ‘’club’’ or centre becomes a place to socially reconnect. Up to 20 people per day are accessing the day program at the Elliott St facility with approximately 90 attendances each week (several people attend more than once per week). Across the Manawatu up to 190 attendances are counted each week across the 12 programs offered in four different locations.
The new facility, called the Marion Kennedy Club, was completed on the 14th September 2020 and clients started to use the space on the 21st September – notably World Alzheimer’s Awareness Day. The centre is being used daily and is a truly a place of quiet calm and beauty. The indoor space is bright and airy and is decorated in neutral and calming colours. The gardens are a real joy and clearly much pride is taken in its upkeep. Attention has clearly been taken to follow key principles of design developed by Sterling University Dementia Services Development Centre (UK) and the NZ Ministry of Health.
When ECCT popped in for a quick visit to say hello, clients were enjoying listening to music and having a cup of tea with the attentive staff in this bright new space. The old space is still very much in use, including for educational purposes and on speaking to Tracy Lynn, Manager for Alzheimer’s Manawatu, the need for care and support sadly seems to be growing with more cases of young onset dementia on the rise too. Younger sufferers experience faster progression and need different support than their elderly counterparts but thankfully at Alzheimer’s Manawatu can provide the support and care needed, especially now with their larger space.