TEA and conversation were on the menu at Kildare’s first ever Alzheimer Café which was officially launched by Pat Kenny of Newstalk on Wednesday 25th Sept, in Mc Auley Place in Naas (beside the Church).
On the last Wednesday of each month people living with Alzheimer’s, their families and health professionals will gather in Naas to socialise and discuss crucial health and emotional issues in a friendly relaxed atmosphere over tea and cake.
The first Alzheimer Café was set up in the Netherlands 15 years ago by Dutch psychologist Dr Bere Miesen who was frustrated at the lack of emotional support for families living with dementia. Since then the idea has taken off and there are now over 200 cafes in Britain and the Netherlands.
Around 42,000 people in Ireland suffer with Alzheimer’s or other dementias currently and as the population ages, the numbers are set to soar over the next 30 years to 140,000, making it vital that practical support measures are in place to help families cope.
Fine china, pretty tablecloths and a homely atmosphere at the evening meetings ensure that vital discussions about memory loss, grief and coping mechanisms can take place between doctors, nurses, carers and people with dementia in a warm café-like environment.
Some of those attending have described the meeting as a “lifeline” for them. Other quotes:
“It has helped me so much. imer Café say it’s good to meet others in the same situation as themselves. They come for the chat, the information and the support.
Organisers organisations including Sonas aPc, the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, the HSE and Trinity College Dublin. They hope the idea will catch on around Ireland.