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New Darlington dementia cafe helps sufferer remember her past
A NEW cafe for people with dementia has has already helped one Alzheimer’s patient connect with her past.
Staff from the Alzheimer’s Society took old photographs of Darlington along to the opening yesterday morning (Wednesday, March 6) in The Lawns care home. The aim was to see if the pictures would trigger memories in any sufferers and, for one woman, they did.
Jenny Leeming, 47, dementia support officer for Darlington, said: “We had a lady along this morning who used to work in the Rolling Mills social club.
"We didn’t actually have a picture of the club, but when she looked at the photos we brought of Darlington from the 1950s she remembered it and we were able to talk to her about it.
"The family were obviously very emotional but it’s exactly what we were hoping for. She’s not someone we’ve seen before. Her sister read about the cafe and contacted me and they came down for the first time today.”
The opening was attended by 20 people including Deputy Mayor Charles Johnson, his wife Carol, and Councillor Veronica Copeland, cabinet member for adult social care and housing.
Ms Copeland said: "It’s a great idea and a lovely setting for it. It’s a place where people in similar situations can meet and talk about what’s happening to them or their loved one.”
The Lawns café opens on the first Wednesday of every month and aims to be a relaxed, personal talking forum where dementia sufferers and their carers can come and discuss the condition. It is the second café in Darlington after Memory Lane Café, run by Age UK, opened in February.
Another one is planning to open in St Herbert’s church on April 16. Events are being scheduled with the eventual aim of having one a week across the various centres. Drop in sessions are also taking place at West Park hospital.