Harlow libraries books for dementia sufferers on prescription

Communities / Thu 29th Jan 2015 at 05:00pm

ESSEX libraries are taking part in a national initiative – Reading Well Books on Prescription – to support people with dementia and their carers through books.

Under the scheme, people with dementia and their carers can access self-help books from a reading list of 25 titles recommended by health experts as well as people with experience of the condition. .

Cllr Roger Hirst, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Customer Services, Libraries, Planning and the Environment said: “This collection of books will be a great support for people with dementia, their carers and their families. Libraries are seen as safe and trusted places to go for health information.”

The scheme has been set up by independent charity The Reading Agency, the Society of Chief Librarians and local library services, with funding from Arts Council England.

The list includes a range of books offering information and advice about dementia and normal aging, support with living well after diagnosis, practical advice for carers, personal accounts, and suggestions for shared therapeutic activities.

Health professionals will be able to recommend helpful reading to support people with dementia and their carers. People can also self-refer using the booklist to borrow titles for free from their local library.

Copies of all 25 titles on the book list are available across the 74 Essex libraries, and also on the mobile libraries. There is a leaflet available about the collection. There are also a series of reminiscence books to share.

More information is available from local libraries or by looking on the health page of the library website www.essex.gov.uk/Libraries.

Improving dementia services and quality of care is a key priority of the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge and with the new scheme. At a national cost average of £1 per person, Reading Well Books on Prescription is a cost-effective way of delivering community-based dementia care and support.

This builds on the ground-breaking Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme which already helps over 275,000 people with common mental health conditions feel better through self-help reading.

Launched in June 2013 as part of the Universal Health Offer for libraries, the first national Books on Prescription scheme in England supports people with book based therapy for common mental health conditions available from public libraries. It has played an important role in helping to meet the huge need for mental health support. It has been endorsed by the public as well as by GPs, mental health professionals and government ministers as a helpful community-based mental health service.

Research shows that dementia presents a key national health challenge with a profound social, personal and economic impact on the estimated 850,000 people in the UK living with the condition, as well as their carers and families. The new scheme will also help the many people living without a formal diagnosis, who may be worrying about symptoms and wanting to find out more.

Norman Lamb, Minister of State for Care and Support, said: “I am delighted that Reading Well Books on Prescription has been such an effective way to reach people with quality assured help and information and to hear that it has helped people understand more about their condition. The new dementia scheme is an exciting development which I hope will be just as successful.”

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