A problem shared

Anna Macer introduces a new dementia café to support both local carers and sufferers themselves

Dementia cafes are places for carers to meet to talk freely and without judgment (credit Dennis Brendel via Unsplash)
Dementia cafes are places for carers to meet to talk freely and without judgment (credit Dennis Brendel via Unsplash)

H’s Dementia Café is a new place for carers of dementia sufferers to hopefully meet other carers, exchange information, and pick up literature from the major dementia societies and local care centres.

It is essentially a place for carers to have coffee and a slice of cake and realise they are not on this journey alone; it’s a place to let off steam and express how they feel, to hopefully enable them to carry on.

The idea came about when I was remembering what it was like trying to find somewhere to have a break with my lovely husband, who sadly was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He was a tall, fit man in his 60s and once the disease set in, behavioural problems started emerging, such as loud and inappropriate comments on people around us when we were out at a pub or coffee shop. The aim was to keep things as normal as possible for as long as possible, but he would sometimes and suddenly blurt out, very loudly, comments such as “why has that woman got such a huge fat bottom?” and I spent a lot of time being ready to sink into the floorboards, apologising and explaining that he has Alzheimer’s.

I hope our little venture means carers are happy to come alone or with their loved one and no-one bats an eyelid at inappropriate comments or behaviour. We are not trained carers, so the degree of antisocial behaviour will have to be monitored.

However ill a non-dementia patient may be, you are still able to maintain conversation and normal behaviour patterns almost to the end. There is often a failure to understand that with dementia, once the person starts slipping away from you, you are entering an unknown dimension, and this is scary and exhausting.

Even a couple hours of respite and talking to others in the same boat offers a degree of comfort, we hope, so please do come and join us for tea and biscuits and a chat.

H’s Dementia Café is open every second and third Monday of the month, 2pm-4pm, at St Stephens Church (small hall), 56 Village Road, Enfield EN1 2EU. For more information:
Email [email protected]