SALFORD HEALTHY COMMUNITIES is relaunching its Sleep Matters project this month which is designed to help people living with dementia and their carers to get a better night’s sleep.

In Salford anyone who cares for someone living with dementia and who suffers from sleep deprivation can take part in the project where they will work with a sleep support volunteer to create a sleep plan to help improve their situation.

Elizabeth O’Connor, Senior Health & Wellbeing Worker at Salford Healthy Communities, said: “When carers are seeking alternative care provision for the people they’re caring for, the number one reason that they give is lack of sleep.

The sleep programme aims to address that so the carers feel better able to cope with their day because ongoing lack of sleep is not only bad for physical health but extremely damaging to mental health and mental capacity.”

Last year's Sleep Support Volunteers
Last year’s sleep support volunteers

She has visited numerous local dementia support groups to let them know about the Sleep Matters project. What is now needed is more sleep support volunteers.

Anyone can be a sleep support volunteer.  They will undergo a two-day training programme to prepare them for the role.

The first training day will take place on Thursday, March 21 and will cover the “why’s and how’s of sleep”. The second training day will involve learning how to do an assessment, Dementia Friends training to give a basic understanding of what dementia is, and a Salford Healthy Communities induction.

Sleep support volunteers can dedicate as little or as much time as they like to the Sleep Matters project and will be given ongoing support from Salford Healthy Communities.

 Professor Anthea Innes, director at the Salford Institute for Dementia, said: “This is a really interesting initiative as sleep deprivation can lead to lowered resistance to many other viruses and infections which can also impact on the ability to provide care and support.

“Therefore steps communities can take to support those providing crucial support and care are much needed and this initiative is to be commended for attempting to find innovative ways to achieve this.”

More information about the Sleep Matters Project and how to apply to be a sleep support volunteer can be found on the Salford Healthwatch website.

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