The Isle of Man Memory Service is celebrating two decades of progress as it marks its 20th anniversary this week.
The fledgling service formed in 1998 comprised a consultant-led team of five, which saw around 100 people per year from its base at Cronk Coar in Strang.
It has since developed into a multi-disciplinary operation providing specialist assessment, investigation, diagnosis and treatment each year to 450 people experiencing dementia and memory problems.
The team now based at the old Noble’s hospital site in Douglas, is led by consultant psychiatrist Dr Chris Jagus supported by an associate specialist, a clinical nurse specialist, mental health nurses, occupational therapists and a social worker.
The service embraces a person-centred, needs-led approach, which offers patients a personalised programme of support alongside any treatments, to help them remain independent for as long as possible.
This includes one-to-one interventions and home visits to help people maintain skills for everyday living. In addition, group activities such as exercise sessions and trips to the popular ‘Decafs’, or dementia cafes, around the island offer a social scene for people with memory problems and their carers.
The service will reach out to the public in its anniversary week, with a stand in Noble’s Hospital foyer on Tuesday 6 March. Members of the team will be on hand to offer advice and information and to chat with people concerned about memory loss.
As in the UK, the island’s older population is predicted to grow in the coming decades. Latest statistics suggest the number of people aged 65 and over will increase by at least 30% by the year 2036. In the light of that trend, the Memory Service is preparing to develop in size and scope, keeping abreast of the latest research and therapies.
Dr Jagus said:
‘The way the Memory Service has developed over the last 20 years reflects the hard work and dedication of the team, and this anniversary is the ideal occasion to raise awareness of our work. We are proud to provide a comprehensive and timely assessment of diagnosis and needs, to give people with dementia and their carers the treatment and support they require.'
‘In view of the significantly increasing numbers of people with dementia in the population, memory clinics are becoming an essential element of social care in our community. We look forward to the service developing further over the next 20 years as we strive to meet the island’s changing needs.’