Torbay libraries are supporting the launch of the Reading Well Books Prescription Scheme which supports people with dementia and their carers.

The ground-breaking scheme, which already helps over 275,000 people with common mental health conditions feel better through self-help reading, is now turning its attention to the enormous need for quality-assured support for dementia care in the UK.

In a very successful first year, Reading Well Books on Prescription 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.

Building on this success, Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia will be available in Torbay libraries as part of a national library strategy to support the development of dementia-friendly communities and build understanding and awareness of the condition.

Executive Lead for Harbours, Culture and the Arts, Councillor Amil, 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. I am extremely pleased that Torbay Libraries will be supporting this valuable scheme.”

“Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia means that public libraries will play a significant role in helping to build dementia-friendly communities. The scheme provides quality assured information and advice, support following diagnosis and with early memory loss, practical and emotional help for carers and suggested activities to help people remain active and independent for as long as possible.”

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.

Improving dementia services and quality of care is a key priority of the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge and with the new scheme, 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. 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.

The 25 titles on the Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia list have been recommended by health experts as well as people with lived experience. 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. The list was unveiled at the official launch at the Wellcome Trust supported by Minister of State for Care and Support, Norman Lamb and Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey.

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

Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia is supported by Alzheimer’s Society, British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, The British Psychological Society, Carers UK, Dementia UK, Innovations in Dementia, National Association of Primary Care, NHS England (IAPT), Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

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