Memory Lane Cafe – dementia support update

Following the coronavirus lockdown the last Calderdale Memory Lane café was held on the 14 March. But the team haven’t stopped – instead they have been busy concentrating on alternative support for people with dementia.

Memory Lane Cafes are based in Halifax and Sowerby Bridge and provide a dementia-friendly environment for people affected by dementia, other memory problems and isolation.  Under normal circumstances they always have a varied programme of games & crafts, information and support, cakes and conversation but instead their dedicated team of volunteers have been providing ongoing support:

Coronavirus support

  • Maintaining regular phone support for those members/volunteers that need it.  At the moment this is a core of around 20 people
  • Putting information, games, music videos from our regular Memory Lane musicians(Jed & Maggie and Tony Austin) on Facebook
  • Setting up a Facebook Messenger group for several  isolated members to be able to keep in touch with each other
  • Lending the Memory Lane stock of games, jigsaws, craft materials out to members to use at home
  • Providing shopping support for approx ten people
  • Arranging Meals on Wheels or ready-meals for people who generally rely on going to cafes for their meals (and their socialisation)
  • Planning a big party for an unspecified date in the future!!

The impact of what they’re doing includes:

  • Helping isolated people get through the lockdown with practical support (shopping etc.)
  • Lending games/DVDs etc gives people something to do (and something to talk about)
  • Valuable psychological/emotional support (face or voice)
  • Being available on the phone any time (so they also can talk through their anxieties -and putting regular reminders of their unconditional availability on their Facebook page
  • Giving couples living with dementia support/help when stuck at home devoid of outside stimulus (of cafes/support groups etc).

Chris Harvey, Secretary of Memory Lane Cafe Calderdale says:

“During this pandemic, it’s vital that we keep in touch with our members. They’re isolated in so many ways.  Strengthening relationships between members online or by phone through regular contact has helped to structure the day for people.  Simple “good morning” and “good night” messages between isolated members is really powerful.

“People living with dementia have lost their usual routines, which are so important to them. Many are just glad to her a familiar voice and know that someone is there for them if needed.

“We have encouraged people to develop their own coping skills such as learning to email, or improving their cooking abilities.  One of our members has even decided to write her autobiography.”

As soon as the Memory Lane Cafe’s reopen, we will post details here.


%d bloggers like this: