Home Health The 50 Cornish memory cafes are releasing the stigma of dementia and...

The 50 Cornish memory cafes are releasing the stigma of dementia and providing fun for communities

It would not necessarily be accused of thinking that a coffee of memory would be a place without joy full of old people fighting against various forms of dementia.

After visiting the Camborne memory bar, I can verify that it is not like that: the atmosphere of the All Saints Church Community Center in Tuckingmill has been wonderful; all the laughter and the chatter, the lotteries and the singing, creating and above all an enormous feeling of love.

Chatting with volunteers, caregivers and those who have lost their memory, one word keeps coming up – a lifeline.

Although not a day center, regular social and support activities are invaluable to the growing number of people in Cornwall with various forms of dementia and those who often struggle to take care of them.

Anne Ludwig, voluntary guide at the Camborne Memory Café, with the assistant Tony Paddon

There are now 50 locations across the county coordinated by the Cornwall Memory Cafés Network Forum, from the Isles of Scilly to Bude and Saltash.

One of the most important things they do is get rid of the stigma and shame of being diagnosed with dementia.

I know it all too well – my mother was told that she had Alzheimer's in December 2015. A proud and independent woman, she hates the term "dementia" and visibly withdraws when she remembers that she has Alzheimer's (hence I do not feel the need to remember her).

On the advice of her general practitioner, she was told to try visiting the memory café in Truro because it could really help her condition and provide a social outlet. "Why should I do it?" The answer came.

Crudely, he went and, guess what, loved him, showing me enthusiastically whatever he had done during that particular session.

He raised his mood and for this alone he was and is priceless.

It's all a smile at the Camborne Memory Café

The same was clear for the meeting of about 30 people with dementia and their carers in Tuckingmill this week.

Tony Paddon, who takes care of his wife Mavis who was diagnosed with vascular dementia two years ago, summarizes the positive effect that the coffee of memory has had on her: "When she was diagnosed she withdrew from the world and he avoided his friends and became very lonely.

"Someone recommended the café of memory and we were not very enthusiastic – we went on kicking and screaming, but after the first week we've been here since then.

"He really changed our lives, my wife came out of her shell because she's with people in the same situation she's in. She's comfortable and talkative, she's much more relaxed about it and does not worry about it anymore much. "

I asked Tony if there was a stigma to have dementia for some people.

"Oh sure, most people when they are told they have some form of dementia find such a shock to their system and start to change their lives, but the memory café will not let you do it. so funny. "

The mayor of Camborne David Wilkins brings the puppy Rosy to interact with the users of the bar

Anne Ludwig, who is the main volunteer of the Tuckingmill memory café, says that their bimonthly meetings are important as it allows caregivers and patients to know that they are not alone.

"Memory cafes really bring people together, we have quizzes, entertainment, games and even trips – it allows them to go out and have fun and share memories and experiences".

Teresa Parsons, of the Alzheimer & # 39; s Society, has worked alongside the Camborne volunteers for nine years, as well as through Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and Plymouth.

He told Cornwall Live: "Memory cafes like this are invaluable, you see people coming who might feel completely excluded – maybe they do not want to come because of the stigma of dementia." What we have discovered is that when they walk through that door they are in a room full of people in the same position as them. "

Teresa added: "People can live well with dementia – they do not have to suffer.The prevalence is increasing and there are more and more people to be supported to help them live with dementia."

One of those that is actually supported at Camborne coffee is Chris Pryor, who is in the early stages of vascular dementia.

The coffee of memory is an ideal place to socialize

He told Cornwall Live: "Unfortunately I lost my wife four years ago and I'm alone in a bungalow, the coffee of memory gave me a reason to go out and a positive outlook.

"It helped me to understand what vascular dementia means and I think the guidance I am getting from assistants and other people here is really helping me to do it.

"I can not wait to come here once every two weeks."

If you would like more information on Cornish memory coffees, visit the website of the network.

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