Big thank you from

Leslie Kelling

Leslie KellingLESLIE Kelling is Project Co-ordinator Fold Brain Bus which is operated in conjunction with Fold Housing Association. The Brain Bus is a revolutionary mobile therapy unit that contains leading-edge technology which enables people with dementia to engage in cognitive and physical activities.

Leslie began her career in the USA at age 19 as a care assistant and loved working with people with dementia. She also worked in a dementia care unit in a nursing home while completing her first degree and then furthered her experience providing and co-ordinating activities in dementia specific Assisted Living and spent several years as Activity Director in a Nursing Home. In July 2009 Leslie moved to Northern Ireland to work with Fold Housing Association on the Fold Brain Bus.

As Project Coordinator for the bus, I'm involved in the direct delivery of services to people with dementia, as well as managing support processes such as assessing the wants/needs of participants, scheduling sessions, staff support, coordinating travel, overseeing technical support and providing demonstrations to visitors.

I have always been fascinated by the processes of the human brain. Dealing with memory loss can be particularly challenging at times, but it is also extremely rewarding work as well. No two days are alike and it makes one appreciate the small successes when you see how patients progress.

A typical day on the Fold Brain Bus consists of welcoming participants (two or three at a time) in 45 minute intervals. Each participant has the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with a member of the team, exploring their interests through the technology. The system provides easy to navigate touch screen button menus that make it simple for each participant to find items that interest them. The main menu offers a range of category choices from Travel and History to Games and Entertainment. Within each category there are a multitude of choices to provide cognitive and physical challenges. Some of the most popular activities are the cycling and flying simulators, jigsaw puzzles, word games and the music jukeboxes/karaoke. On the surface games, history, travel and music seem like simple entertainment, but the mental and physical stimulation they deliver is of real benefit. The Fold Brain Bus is introducing cutting edge technology to the provision of care to people with dementia. The initial response to this technology is extremely positive. It is generating enthusiasm with providers throughout Northern Ireland and the UK. We believe that this is the beginning of a revolutionary change in the way care providers, Trusts and the government view the provision of services to people with dementia and other groups of vulnerable adults. At the moment I am generating and collecting data for an evaluation in conjunction with Stirling University. This research will evaluate the impact of the use of the technology interventions on quality of life for people with dementia in a housing-with-care setting. We are evaluating a range of physical, mental and functional indicators over a six month period and the early anecdotal evidence has been really positive. In my spare time I have a wide range of interests and enjoy almost anything. I enjoy travel and experiencing new cultures.

Ulster Star