PEOPLE with dementia are receiving support in the community thanks to one woman who says the “condition is not something to be frightened of”.

Elizabeth Bartlett has been running the Laverstock Memory Support Group in her own home for about 10 years and has run other groups in the area prior to this.

The group, which meets on Wednesdays, supports those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, giving them an opportunity to talk about their experiences, interests, memories as well as discussing recent news events.

They are also able to share ways of coping with dementia with others in the same position.

Elizabeth said she was brought up around dementia and came to recognise that it is “not something to be frightened of”.

“I began to recognise quite early on that it is the emotional needs of people that are often the greatest. It was very easy for us to assume people with dementia didn’t know what was happening to them and that is the biggest myth,” added Elizabeth.

“There is now a much greater emphasis on living well with dementia. We can’t change it but we can help people live as effectively and for a longer period of time.”

Currently the group is able to support 15 people but there is a waiting list for people wishing to join.

It has received funding support from Wiltshire Council. And this month, Southern Wiltshire Area Board gave a health and wellbeing grant of £3,000 to support the group’s work.

Elizabeth, who is a trained social worker and counsellor, said: “What we do is try and help people to talk about their life experiences and what has been happening to them and intermingle that with conversations about memory loss and dementia. We use the term very openly.”

A separate peer support group for carers also meets up.

Elizabeth said it is a “unique” facility and that providing support in a home environment helps people to “feel safe”. She also said there is a lot of “laughter” and “comradeship”.

“What it does is normalises the condition. It is easier for somebody to come into somebody’s home. They feel more relaxed and it takes away the stigma,” added Elizabeth.

“I would like to see an opportunity to develop this model more in other places.”

For more information call Elizabeth on 0781 238 1463 or email