Fold Housing Association Launches Therapy Bus
|Former GMTV presenter, Fiona Phillips joined NI Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey at Belfast City Hall yesterday to officially unveil the 'Fold Brain Bus' initiative.
Ms Phillips been vocal about her experiences in caring for her father with dementia.
With its distinctive pink and purple exterior, the mobile unit has been designed to help raise awareness of dementia and dementia-related issues.
"There has been so much negativity surrounding the significant challenges to our society posed by dementia," said Eileen Askham, Director of Care Services at the launch.
"But today we are launching a new support alternative that can make a real difference to people with dementia. Helping them to maintain their independence, and giving them more choice and control over their lives."
The Fold Brain Bus is believed to be the first of its kind in Europe and contains leading-edge technology that enables people with dementia to engage in cognitive and physical activities, which aims to help reduce depression, agitation and stress levels.
It can be adapted to the user’s specific interests and memories and can also be used by families and carers as a basis for improving social interaction. Its ultimate aim is to improve the quality of life for people with dementia.
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Ms Askham continued: "Fold Housing Association has long been proactive in seeking innovative ways to improve engagement and quality of life for people with dementia and we are extremely excited to be launching this initiative today. Longer-term we feel the mobility of the Fold Brain Bus will also help to tackle the care and diagnostic challenges posed by the rising numbers with this condition by improving access to leading-edge therapy technologies for people throughout Northern Ireland."
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: "Today represents a very positive step forward in the continued development of dementia services in Northern Ireland. It is very pleasing and encouraging to see innovative developments such as the 'Brain Bus'.
"The technology on board will hopefully help reduce depression, agitation and stress levels for people with dementia, ultimately contributing to an improved quality of life and it will help restore a sense of control and dignity to their lives.
"I wish to commend Fold Housing Association on their dedication and hard work in developing this service, which is the first of its kind in Europe. Not only has this hard work resulted in a new service for people with dementia, but it also acts as a platform for raising awareness of the condition."
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