A Beeston Cafe – established by the Beeston Dementia Friends charity – looks to use the power of community to help people with dementia and their carers
The Beeston Dementia Cafe aims to provide a safe space for people with dementia through a mixture of activities and opportunities to socialise.
The group meets every Thursday for events and activities which include crafts and singing as well as more quieter sessions that involve playing games and socialising.
The cafe also looks to provide a safe space for carers to have time on their own so they can talk about what they are going through with other carers.
Karen Bennett, one of eight of the cafe’s trustees said: “Our philosophy is supporting the narrative that it is possible to live well with dementia”.
Dementia care has been described recently as the 21st century’s “biggest health challenge” by the World Dementia Council, and a recent Times article reported that emergency hospital admissions of dementia patients “quadrupled in a decade to more than 2,000 a day before the covid-19 pandemic, while the cost of dementia rose by about 365 per cent, from £581m to £2.7bn”.
These figures have led dementia charities to try and create more community-led forms of therapy and help for dementia, which has in turn seen a rise in dementia cafes.
However, Ms Bennett emphasises that: “memory cafes are a compliment to, and not a replacement of, actual dementia care.
When speaking about a recent Zoom session, Ms Bennett said: “We found that one of our guests doesn’t really talk, however in a recent Zoom session, he was really engaged and seem to be really involved”.
“We do hear stories that after sessions, a person’s mood might be better or they might eat or sleep better that day, and these little steps are all we can ask for”.
“We know that cognitively it wont have improved their ability but they will be content and happy, and for the supporters – it’s a release for them”.
The covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the group, but the charity are looking towards next Spring for a hopeful return to normality.
For information about joining one of the group sessions, email: @beestonmemorycafe.com