Pictured above: Ann Jones (Co-operative Funeralcare, West Wickham) Cllr Kathy Bance (Mayor of Bromley), Lyn Eustace (Chair of Memory Box Dementia Café), Unity Slade Howard President of Ravenswood (West Wickham) WI and Neil Ingole (Co-op Food Stores, Coney Hall)
The Memory Box Café for people living with dementia based in West Wickham now plans to run twice a month thanks to extra funds from the Co-op Local Community Fund.
Bromley Mayor Councillor Kathy Bance, who visited Memory Box Dementia Café in November 2017, presented a cheque from the Co-op for £2,300.66 to Ravenswood (West Wickham) Women’s Institute (WI) outside the Co-op Food Store at Coney Hall on Saturday 25th November 2017.
Ravenswood (West Wickham) WI runs Memory Box Café at the Emmanuel Church in The Grove, West Wickham. This money raised by Co-op Coney Hall, along with other fundraising, will allow the Cafe to run twice a month from February, on the first and third Friday of each month.
The Memory Box Café is run by volunteers and, for the past 18 months, has provided free entertainment, information, fun and refreshments for people living with dementia and their carers.
The project is part of Ravenswood (West Wickham) WI’s work to make West Wickham a dementia friendly community.
‘Carol’* has been caring for her husband, ‘David’* for many years due to his heart and related health problems. David has been increasingly having problems with moving about and looking after himself. Carol herself was recently diagnosed with dementia and as they have continued to care for each other, both have needed extra support. Their family have had difficulty looking after them as they have their own work and family commitments, in addition to looking after their parents.
After meeting with a Dementia Advisor from the Bromley Dementia Support Hub Carol, David and their son and daughter, now have more help to live as well as possible with dementia. The Dementia Advisor from the Hub helped Carol and David apply for Attendance Allowance, which has helped them pay for care (taking medication, washing and dressing, household chores) in their own home. The Dementia Advisor also helped Carol and David apply for Blue Badges and since these have been granted, it has become easier for family members to get Carol and David to appointments.
Carol and David regularly attended the Memory Lane Dementia Café, where they took part in activities and met other people with similar experiences of dementia. As they have found it harder to attend the café, friends from the Dementia Café now regularly visit David and Carol at home, which they really appreciate and enjoy.
The Hub continues to support David and Carol, as well as their son and daughter, with relevant information and advice as Carol’s dementia progresses.
Review of the First 8 Months of the Bromley Dementia Support Hub
Bromley Dementia Support Hub is a new service, commissioned during 2016 by Bromley Council and NHS Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group. It provides a comprehensive post-diagnosis support service for people with dementia and their carers. Bromley & Lewisham Mind are the lead provider, working in partnership with Age UK Bromley & Greenwich, Carers Bromley and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.
Key elements of the Dementia Hub service are:
- Person-centred advice, information and support provided by skilled Dementia Advisors, from the point of diagnosis and as required
- Specialist person-centred carers support, including workshops and coaching in the home to equip family carers to manage their caring role and understand the experience of their relative
- Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) groups
- Community development and supporting the development of dementia friendly communities in Bromley
- Volunteer befriending support.
The Hub began operating in July 2016 and by the end of March 2017, had provided information and support to 1,181 people with dementia and carers. It also took over running the very successful Memory Lane Dementia Café, which regularly sees attendances of more than 40 people with dementia and carers.
The Dementia Hub has quickly become an integral part of the Bromley dementia support pathway in Bromley borough.
Bromley dementia services celebrated National Memory Day on Thursday 18th May during Dementia Awareness Week 2017, with poetry events for people with dementia and their carers.
Writer Nichola Charalambou ran one poetry workshop at MindCare Dementia Support Centre and the second workshop at St. Edmund’s Church Hall Dementia Café.
At MindCare Dementia Support Centre in Beckenham, Nichola ran an intimate poetry group with people living with dementia who attend the centre to take part in activities with other people.
Poems included ‘It Was Long Ago’ by Eleanor Farjeon, a British poet and children’s author, who wrote at the time of WW1, where she remembers summer time in her early childhood. Other poem topics included Saturday Night Dance and The Diamond Jubilee.
The groups eagerly chatted about childhood memories of long summer holidays, young adulthood relationships and romances and memories of the Queen and the Royal family.
In the afternoon, St. Edmund’s Church Hall in Beckenham, hosted a poetry dementia café attended by 40 people. In addition to reading and sharing thoughts on poems chosen by Nichola, people with dementia and their carers shared their own poems that they had written about the joys and mysteries of life, caring and loved ones lost to dementia. Some carers also shared published poems from their family members.
Jacqui Cross (pictured below), who cares for her husband who has dementia, shared poems she had written about her experience:
The Thief In Our House
There’s a thief in our house, he’s not after our wealth.
He’s creeping about with incredulous stealth.
Little by little he’s making his play
What part of my husband will vanish today?
He’s feasting on brain cells, he steals some each day
But where does he take them no person can say.
They just disappear with astonishing speed
No care for the victim, no care for his need.
The memories are fading like evening light,
But sometime that evening will turn into night.
No sweet recollections of happier days
But still distant thoughts of the old childhood ways.
I wash him, I feed him, his skills are long gone.
I spend sleepless nights and sit with him ‘til dawn.
He still is my darling and come what may
That dastardly thief cannot take that away.
This thief has a name, it’s really quite chilling,
His victims are random and they never are willing.
He’ll do all he can just to make your life hard
But he’s not a thief to just chuck into the yard!
He’ll linger and wait ever watching his bait,
What bit shall I pilfer today?
But however he’s cursed, he will show you his worst
This Dementia just won’t go away.
Jacqui reads her poems about caring for her husband with dementia
Speaking about the benefits of such events for dementia carers, Jacqui said,
“Not many people understand dementia and what caring involves if they have no personal experience. I care for my husband 24/7 and it is a wonderful break for me to come to dementia cafés like this, with other people who have similar caring experiences and who understand. I am very grateful for the chance to share poetry that has helped me in caring for my husband.”
National Memory Day was established by a partnership comprising literature development charity Literature Works, The University of Plymouth, The Poetry Archive and the Alzheimer’s Society. Its aim is to promote the importance of poetry as a therapy for memory loss, raising funds to enable practicing poets to deliver poetry workshops in Memory Cafés whilst at the same time helping to generate further public awareness of the condition of dementia.
Heather Soderlind of Literature Works said,
“This year was the first year the partnership commemorated National Memory Day and we were delighted that we were able to support Bromley Dementia Support Hub to stage such clearly successful and well attended events.”
UPDATE 21/7/17: The Memory Lane Dementia Café will now be held on Fridays. Full details here.
The Bromley Dementia Support Hub is running a regular dementia café providing a relaxed, informal setting for people with dementia and their family, friends and carers.
The Memory Lane Café is chance to make friends with other people from Bromley living with dementia, share and talk about interests and life experiences.
The Memory Lane Café will be held every Tuesday, from 10.30am to 12.30pm at the HG Wells Centre, St Marks Road, Bromley, BR2 9HG.
How to Get to the Memory Lane Café
There is limited parking in the venue car park or in the Waitrose car park next door (minimum £10 shopping required to access).
Bromley South train station is situated 5 minutes walk around the corner.
Buses 61, 208, 261, 320, 336 or 358 stop right outside.
There is no need to pre-book your place at the Memory Lane Dementia Cafe, just turn up on the day. It is free to attend and donations are welcome.
If you do have any questions about the Dementia Café please contact:
020 8315 1885