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Memory Cafe opens

Monday 22nd March 2010

URGENT need for support for people with memory difficulties, and their carers in Lostwithiel, has prompted a local woman to launch the town's first Memory Cafe.

The first informal meeting took place on Thursday afternoon at the community centre between 2pm and 4pm.

Organiser Jo Hague, 51, lead dementia care trainer at Lostwithiel-based Outlook South West, said: "It was a brilliant launch – we had seven people come along and I think it's just going to grow now.

"Dementia touches so many people – one in three of us will be affected by the time we are 85.

"I identified a need for such a thing in the town. It offers an informal setting for people with memory impairment, and their carers, to socialise and have a really good time. It gives the carer more support and help, and we can give them information and point them in the right direction for services.

"For someone with a memory impairment – they are in an environment where it doesn't matter if they make a mistake, and we are here to support people affected in any way.

"There are 15 memory cafes across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and some work very well, so I decided to set one up here."

Three organisations which have been very supportive are Lostwithiel Rotary Club, Outlook South West and Lostwithiel Forum.

Jo added: "The Rotarians have been wonderful, and eight members have volunteered to help in the cafe and have been trained up so they know what to expect and understand dementia more."

Laura Michael, a registered mental health nurse, is also on hand to help at the Memory Cafe and provides support with memory-building exercises.

On Thursday the group decided it would like to try some cognitive stimulation therapy, naming the A to Z of cars and the A to Z of spring flowers which helps to promote memory.

The Memory Cafe will run fortnightly – people can enjoy company, support, guidance and have fun over home-made cakes provided by Rotarians and a cup of tea.

Anyone who would like more information can e-mail or call 011208 871196, or Laura on 01208 871683.

Text courtesy of The Cornish Guardian