‘One in three will get dementia’ was a recent headline in the newspapers. Living well seems a contradiction, a blatant impossibility: we dread living with dementia even more than we dread cancer. Yet in 2014 Broxtowe Borough Council accepted this statement as a recommendation on its Dementia Friendly Communities report:
‘This Council believes in living well with dementia. Within our community we will create a positive environment that supports, enables and includes those affected by dementia.’
An impossible dream you might say. Yet if you had come as a guest, a supporter or a volunteer to Beeston Memory Café on 10 September you would have seen a group of people really enjoying life. With Andrea Haley, a dance movement therapist, we floated balloons and blew feathers to tranquil music, as well as drinking coffee and chatting together. One member showed us how to do press-ups!
We had just celebrated the first year of the Beeston Memory Café based at Middle Street Centre. The monthly meetings have had around 42 people each time and are characterised by music, singing, lots of food, armchair exercises and laughter.
With financial support from Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham West Clinical Commissioning Group and donations from local Beeston stores, the group has been able to expand and now meets on both the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 2pm to 4pm. Broxtowe Borough Council gives practical support.
In addition there are Dementia Friends Sessions lasting an hour where anyone can learn more about dementia and the small ways you can help. The next session is at 6pm on 4 November at Beeston Town Hall. The leader is Simon Burrow, lecturer in Dementia Studies at Manchester University. To book a place or for other information contact me on 0115 9250385 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information email Beestonmemorycafe1@btinternet.com