Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Early onset dementia group helps quality of life

A new Young Onset Dementia Awareness group, otherwise known as YODA, has been developed to help meet the needs of under 65’s recently diagnosed with dementia in the Sandwell area.

Running for ten sessions on alternative weeks to the Trust’s already established Younger Onset Dementia Support (YODS) group, YODA provides an opportunity for people to join the YODS group and help to provide a much needed robust service for this client group in particular.

Both groups are facilitated by occupational therapy staff and run alongside objectives offering people hope, connectedness, meaningful (occupation), empowerment and identity.

Jaime O’Connor, Occupational Therapist, said: “The first YODA group is currently running as a pilot and five out of the six people referred are attending. Initial feedback received from evaluation has been positive and that are six new referrals already collated for a new group which is due to start in mid-February.”

“The groups focus is on recovery through activity and aims to show how people can find ways of ‘living well’ with dementia. Objectives are demonstrated by covering issues such as empowerment through enabling confidence, social inclusion, promoting confidence and reducing stigma with the aim of enabling people to regain hope by offering a connection to services and peers whilst maintaining their own identity. 

The group work closely with a series of different services that attend group sessions to provide information and support. These include:

- Welfare rights
- Dementia Research – clinical trials/questionnaires
- Sandwell Third Age Arts- group activities/crafts
- Baches Solicitors