York House care home in Dewsbury hosted a memory café along with Dewsbury Memories, a community organisation celebrating the sporting and social history of Dewsbury.
The organisation is working to combat social isolation through memory clubs & heritage projects.
Each event has been successful, and the number of attendees is slowly rising. So much so that the group has secured Lottery Funding and is branching out to twice-monthly meetings.
They are now taking their resource of magazines, match programmes and several 1000 photographs of Dewsbury, the town centre and villages surrounding the town; on the road to other venues.
Allison, one of the organisers, was keen to point out that often even the quietest person who may be suffering from memory loss becomes animated about the different images. ‘They may be unable to remember family but are suddenly able to talk about the images and their life before living with dementia.’
Allison looked after her father, who had dementia, and this inspired her to become involved in this small but active group.
Owen, Allison’s son, was also volunteering as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award.
‘It’s good fun.
‘The residents like the photos and they are all engaged in the activity.
‘It has been interesting.’
Dementia Memories are building up different presentations to share with people who may have recently had a dementia diagnosis and their loved ones.
Allison continued ‘Creating a resource and somewhere to go and building a community and working with those people and understanding their needs, is so important.’
‘Funding from the National Lottery is excellent news. It means we can get out into the community more.
‘York House and Sarah, the Activity Coordinator, have been so supportive.
‘The figures for the Alzheimer’s Society show that it’s clear that what we are offering is vital for the Dewsbury area.’
Sarah commented; ‘Our residents get a lot out of these events.
‘They love chatting about where they used to work and what they used to wear.
‘It’s suitable for the gentlemen in our home. They are less likely to chat, but the sports things always get them talking, and one conversation leads onto another.’
York House Home Manager Rachel said; ‘We try to be involved in the community as much as possible.
‘This gives our residents a chance to go out and chat to other people with memory issues.
‘I’m pleased the Dementia Memories took the time to come to our home.
‘Listen to the conversations they are all having! That’s a sure sign of engagement.’
According to Alzheimer’s Society figures; there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This figure will soar to 2 million by 2051. 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia.