Having an informal chat over a cuppa within a supportive peer network is the idea behind Riverwood Community Centre’s Dementia Café project.
Funded by a $500 donation from Canterbury League Club, this project brings together carers in a space that provides mutual support and facilitates information sharing within a casual and relaxed environment.
“Formal support groups sometimes can be quite daunting to those who attend, especially if they also need to find respite care for the person with dementia so that they can attend. We encourage carers to bring the person they are caring for as a way of including them in their care strategies and to make sure that they do not feel even more isolated and excluded because of their dementia,” said Sue Ashcroft, Manager of Aged Services for Riverwood Community Centre (RCC).
The group meets once a month at the Shingle Inn Café in Roselands Shopping Centre and is usually attended by six to ten participants.
“We try and have a guest speaker there if that is what they would like, and have invited people from the Dementia Advisory Service and from Alzheimers NSW. Sometimes all the participants really want to do is to hear how other carers are coping and to gather ideas and strategies to help their situation,” said Sue.
“Feedback from the participants said that they find it very helpful and supportive; the additional benefit is that it reduces isolation as they have a link to formal support services, through our Aged Services Department, should they require practical assistance or referral on to other types of services.”
Canterbury’s donation was used to subsidise the cost of morning tea and staff wages.
“A project like this provides a positive outlet for carers to speak to other carers and trade ideas and advice in a friendly environment. As our population ages, more people in our local community will need to access this type of service in order to have an easier transition into a carer’s position,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.
For more information about Dementia Café or the other services offered by Riverwood Community Centre, please contact 9533 0100.