Memory cafés for people experiencing memory loss have opened in two Staffordshire villages.
The new groups are based in retirement living communities managed by Care Plus in Penkridge and Essington. Catering for residents of those schemes and others in the surrounding area, they are bringing people together to connect, socialise and find support.
The popular weekly meetings set up by the volunteer and engagement team at Care Plus, are free to attend and feature music, activities, conversation and laughter.
Christine – not her real name - attends one of the memory cafés. “I’m at an early place in my journey. I know that my memory isn’t what it was, which makes me anxious. I was looking for answers, a way of understanding what is happening to me and perhaps to find things that I can do, to slow down the process.
“I really enjoy coming here, everyone is very friendly and there are different activities each week. I still do all my own housework and I’ve got a beautiful garden, I’m determined to keep going and the memory café is helping me to do that.”
Care Plus volunteers help to run the memory cafés. Richard (pictured at one of the memory cafés) was given the opportunity to get involved in volunteering by his employer. “My grandmother had dementia, so I was keen to do something where I can help other people with memory loss. I’m planning and leading activities, making the tea and doing whatever is needed. There’s a lot of laughter and you can see how much everyone gets out of the sessions. It’s uplifting and it feels good to know that I’ve made a difference, in a small way.”
Volunteer Sam leads activities at a memory café in a retirement living community that she already visited as one of our befrienders. “Memory cafés are friendly, inclusive events where people with dementia or other memory loss and their care-givers can get together to socialise and take part in activities. We are helping them to share memories and make new ones,” she says.
Sue Atkins is head of specialist supported housing at Care Plus. She explained why she believes the new memory cafes are offering such an important service:
“Many of us have experienced dementia and memory loss in our own families and know what that means for the person concerned and the people around them,” she says. “These lively sessions are bringing real benefits for those taking part.”
For details of the times and locations of memory cafés in Penkridge and Essington, email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to become a Care Plus volunteer like Richard and Sam, visit https://www.care-plus.org.uk/careers/volunteering-with-us