An Edinburgh MSP has praised our specialised support for older people with dementia. Ben Macpherson MSP visited Eagle Lodge Care Home in Leith where he paid tribute to highly-trained staff for proving there can be life after the diagnosis of the disease. Mr Macpherson, who represents communities in Edinburgh Northern and Leith, visited the home to see first-hand the range of care on offer, such as palliative, respite, and convalescent. Eagle Lodge manager Ian Bell introduces local MSP Ben Macpherson to residents of Eagle Lodge Care Home Mr Macpherson MSP said: “I’m grateful for the insight the Salvation Army has given me into their support for older people. “The Eagle Lodge staff are clearly dedicated to the residents and there is a real sense of community here. I was impressed to find out about the wide range of activities on offer to keep residents active and happy. “I was also pleased to be able to talk to the staff about some of the issues facing care providers in Scotland.” Eagle Lodge manager Ian Bell said: “Over the course of Ben’s visit he got to know a bit more about caring for people with dementia. We spoke about staff training and how vital that is. Our staff play a central role in creating a positive culture where residents have an active say in the care they receive. We also work closely with families to ensure we meet the needs of their loved ones. “We offer all kinds of different services that are designed to emulate day-to-day life, from regular meals to a hair salon where residents can book appointments. We also have landscaped garden. “There’s even a replica of a standard bus stop, with one small difference - buses never stop there. It’s designed for people who may be disoriented and want to leave the centre. Often people with dementia suffer from little or no short-term memory. But the long-term memory is still active. They know what a bus stop is and remember that waiting there means they will go home. They will quickly forget why they were there in the first place. Ben Macpherson MSP chats with Lt Col Jonathan Roberts and Major Kathy Betteridge at the support van for sex workers in Leith “We also have a reminiscence room, which has been furnished with typical domestic items from years gone past. The room is designed to be therapeutic and calming by tapping into memories from people’s past. Evoking fond memories can help stop service users from becoming confused and stressed – often conditions of dementia.” Mr Macpherson also visited the Salvation Army’s support van for sex workers in Leith. The van, which goes out late on a Sunday and Monday night, operates in conjunction with NHS Lothian and the charity Streetwork, with the aim of monitoring the health and circumstances of sex workers. Police Scotland also work closely with these services to ensure the women and volunteers are safe. Major Kathy Betteridge is the Mission Outreach and Support Officer for Edinburgh. She manages the Salvation Army’s van and oversees a team of 20 dedicated volunteers. The van provides a needle exchange and harm reduction service, and the team of volunteers are there to help signpost women to the appropriate services as well as offering a listening ear, a warm drink and biscuits. The Salvation Army is also part of an ‘ugly mug’ scheme, which is allows women to report dangerous individuals without having to report directly to the police. The information can then be shared anonymously with police and other frontline agencies.