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Good Brain Gang

Good Brain Gang is committed to developing innovative arts, activity, learning and exercise based opportunities. We welcome older community members and specialise in working with people living with a dementia, their families and friends. Good Brain Gang is a real "youth centre for all the ages"!

11 December 2017
South West
Care, Arts, Membership Organisations
Local Alliances:
Bristol Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

The centre offers a daily programme of meaningful activity and support, creating a setting for "healthy ageing" with a focus on relationships, community, the arts, inter-generational learning/activity, exercise and eating well. We will support re-establishment of meaningful roles that give purpose to the lives of our community elders, relieve pressure on family caregivers and ease recovery from the trauma that often comes with a dementia diagnosis. We are open Monday-Friday with extended opening times between 8.30am and 6pm.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

For this project to reach its full potential, collaboration with other care and welfare organizations is needed.

2. Actions

  • Preserving a positive self-image and building up confindence

    Being in the wrong environment and not receiving the proper support when we go through a difficult period of our lives can lead us into a vicious circle. This is especially true for people with dementia; losing confidence in ourselves and our memory can lead us to stop taking risks, becoming more introverted and socially removed. In turn this means we become less physically and mentally active, spending more time at home doing passive activities such as watching day time television.

    By providing a range of activities our centre is focused on breaking and reversing this cycle. The stimulating environment we are working to create, will in turn, build up the confidence of our members empowering them to maintain better relationships and forming new ones though physical and creative activities. 

  • Creating a sense of togetherness and belonging.

    We want to enable the members to have a say in how the centre uses its resources, i.e. which artists we support by hiring them for an arts session. Each member will be bringing a set of skills to the centre and we intend to incorporate these into the centre. Apart from making the activity centre better this creates a new role in society for our members giving them a sense of purpose. Rather than feeling like a burden to others, the member is now becoming a patron of the artist who is giving the arts class.

  • Create a real youth centre for all the ages

    The activity centre will be a melting pot for artists and community members to come and share their passion with the members and for the members to showcase and develop their own ability. We hope to create a platform that allows the artists to develop their own art by sharing our resources with them, such as allowing them to use the equipment of the centre. This will be an inter-generational centre and we will encourage artists to come forward and present their work and teach at the centre. We will also work with members to find artists and activities around their own hobbies.

    Examples of activities include:

    Music and music appreciationArtist Collaboration ProjectsDance and Movement programsPaintingPotteryCooking classes

  • Use research to live a full and meaningful life

    There have been many studies and research done on new forms of day centre, meaningful engagement, the arts, exercise and quality social involvement. The results have been unambiguous, that support in early and even later stages of dementia has meaningful and long lasting improvements on the quality of life of both the person with dementia and their carer.

    Recently the Meeting Dem study compared meeting centres (day centres) with day care in nursing homes. They found that after 7 months only 4% of people in the new style of day centres had been admitted to full time nursing homes as opposed to 30% of those in old style day care, usually offered at nursing homes themselves. In the Netherlands this new sort of centre has become more prevalent, increasing from 11 to 130 between 2004 and 2015.

    We are integrating this research into our centre and will continue to work with the academic community to incorporate any new findings.