We know through our experience of supporting people living with dementia and their families that at times people may experience feelings of worry, anxiety, loneliness and isolation. Many just want a listening ear or a friendly chat over a cup of tea with others going through the same experience to feel safe and reassured. For families they just want to get the information they need to support their loved one, whilst ensuring they get to live the best possible life with dementia.
There are many local community groups and charities that support those living with dementia and their families and one of the most popular is a dementia café (or a memory café as it is sometimes called).
What is a dementia café?
A dementia café is a community group for those living with dementia that enables them to meet others in the same situation and usually takes place in a local community space, like a church hall or community centre. It is a supportive and understanding group, usually facilitated by a health or a social care community professional, but sometimes it may be hosted by a local charity or volunteers trained and committed to helping those with dementia. Family carers are welcome to join the group as they provide an opportunity for them to enjoy time with their loved one away from the routine of caring for them, whilst getting any support they need. A memory café enables those living with dementia to get information and advice about their condition in a relaxing and supportive environment. According the Alzheimer’s Society 99% of those who attend their dementia café say that they have been provided with useful information.
What happens at a dementia café near me?
The core purpose of a dementia café is to provide a supportive and relaxing environment for those living with dementia, but specifically they provide an opportunity to:
Discuss your dementia diagnosis with a health or social care professional trained to answer your questions.
Discuss your experiences and situation with others who are going through the same journey, which for many it can be a huge relief to know they are not alone.
Get information and advice about the care and support available and what the future may hold.
Meet new friends, which builds confidence and self-esteem.
Participate in activities with people to stimulate life.
Memory café activities
There are several activities that are of benefit to those living with dementia that you may find your dementia café facilitates for your enjoyment and stimulation. Activities are focused on encouraging self-expression and engagement, minimising anxiety, fostering emotional connections with others and stirring positive memories.
Typical memory café activities include:
Arts and crafts to aid self-expression
Reading books that stir memories
Gentle group exercise to build self-esteem, confidence and connections with others
Baking and cooking to stimulate individual and group engagement
Depending on where the dementia café is held there may be an opportunity to get involved in light gardening or other outdoor activities
Residential/nursing care homes
For many years, the default care option for a person requiring long term care has been to move into a residential or nursing home care setting. Typically, a move into a care home involves selling the much-loved family home to fund the care home fees. Unsurprisingly, 97% of people do not want to move into institutional care according to a survey conducted by the Live-In Care Hub.
A care home is a building specifically designed to care for a number of residents, usually between 60-80 individuals who will be cared for on a designated unit according to their care needs.
Personal care, specialist care, meal provision and activities will be provided by carers and nurses who are on a rota to provide care around the clock to residents.
Outstanding dementia care in the comfort of your own home
We know how worrying and stressful it can be when faced with the reality that a loved one is living with dementia or increasing memory loss and are struggling to cope alone. Watching someone close whose life is impacted by the varying symptoms presented by dementia can be upsetting. Many family carers will feel guilty that they themselves are struggling to cope and provide the care and support their loved one needs. Whilst support networks and community groups like a dementia café are useful, there is likely to become a time when a more long-term care arrangement is needed so your loved one can get the specialist care support they deserve.
Specialist dementia care at home delivered by expert carers
We have been innovating dementia care for over 10 years. All our professional carers are trained in how to care with someone living with dementia and use a range of best practice techniques proven to provide reassurance, reduce anxiety and calm behaviours, whilst reducing the need to use anti-psychotic drugs used widely in many care home settings. This means the person with dementia can live well, despite the challenges dementia can present with the gentle encouragement and compassionate care provided by our dementia carers. The high-quality live-in care provided by our dementia carers has seen a 66% reduction in the use of antipsychotic medications compared with the average care home.
Our collaborative approach to working with leading medical experts, academic bodies and leading charities ensure our care is of the very highest standards. Our work with the Contented Dementia Trust to introduce the SPECAL approach helps us to understand and discover what is important to the person living with dementia, enabling us to develop a meaningful programme of care that bridges the gap between the present and the past.
We adopt a blended approach to delivery of dementia care, led and supported by our own Consultant Admiral Nurse. The support from an Admiral Nurse, working with leading dementia charity, Dementia UK means we can offer unrivalled levels of emotional and practical support based on best practice dementia care to those living with dementia and their families.
In addition to the training all our professional carers receive our management team complete a higher-level dementia care training programme. It does not stop there. Our care teams receive on-going coaching, mentoring and support based on latest thinking and research that ensure they have the knowledge, skills and aptitude to deliver positive dementia care.
How to find a memory café near you
If you are looking for a dementia café near you, you can approach your GP practice as they should have information on local groups. Alternatively, you can search ‘memory café near me’ in Google and search results will show you what is available. The Alzheimer’s Society run dementia cafés across the country and have a useful postcode function on their website so you can find the memory café nearest to you.