A shared ad­ven­ture

Sing, chat, be ac­tively in­volved in the com­mu­nity, while liv­ing with de­men­tia

The Jewish Chronicle - JC Magazine - - Jewish Care -

TO LIVE with de­men­tia is a chal­lenge that most peo­ple would not wish for them­selves or their loved ones. Yet it is a re­al­ity for an in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple within the Jewish com­mu­nity. How can any­one cope with this di­ag­no­sis and is it an un­bear­able sen­tence?

Jewish Care’s ex­pe­ri­ence is that peo­ple liv­ing with de­men­tia and their fam­ily mem­bers wish to re­main ac­tive and in­volved in the com­mu­nity. Far from giv­ing up on life, they em­brace op­por­tu­ni­ties to live life to the full and where de­men­tia presents chal­lenges, they seek so­lu­tions.

The Sam Beck­man Cen­tre in Hen­don, The Leonard Sainer Cen­tre in Edg­ware and The Dennis Cen­tre in Red­bridge wel­come up to 25 mem­bers a day. Th­ese cen­tres of­fer a lively so­cial en­vi­ron­ment, where peo­ple can come to­gether to en­joy their shared cul­tural her­itage and gen­eral in­ter­ests.

The staff and vol­un­teers work in ways that sup­port mem­bers to re­tain choice and con­trol in ev­ery as­pect of their lives; they place great em­pha­sis on a per­son’s abil­i­ties and de­velop strate­gies to help cope with de­men­tia. Their fam­ily care­givers also ben­e­fit from the tem­po­rary break.

Over the past year, Jewish Care has es­tab­lished ac­tiv­ity groups de­signed for fam­ily car­ers and peo­ple liv­ing with de­men­tia to en­joy to­gether. In part­ner­ship with The Alzheimer’s So­ci­ety, Jewish Care runs the Singing for the Brain group, which meets weekly. Around 15 cou­ples come along, have fun, en­joy singing and re­ceive sup­port from one an­other and from pro­fes­sion­als.

An­other pop­u­lar group has been the Me­mory Way Café, held at Otto Schiff in Gold­ers Green. This pro­vides an ideal fo­rum for peo­ple to meet and share ex­peri- ences, is­sues and views within an in­for­mal, re­laxed set­ting. The success of this café has in­spired the Dennis Cen­tre to set up its own me­mory café.

Jewish Care’s staff and vol­un­teers of­ten feel in­spired by the joie de vivre of peo­ple liv­ing with de­men­tia and they are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing they have op­por­tu­ni­ties for ful­fil­ment in their lives.

An ex­am­ple of this is the re­cently forged link with the so­cial en­ter­prise com­pany, De­men­tia Ad­ven­ture. The pri­mary pur­pose is to ex­plore ways of pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple liv­ing with de­men­tia to have ac­cess to a va­ri­ety of out­door pur­suits and to main­tain a sense of ad­ven­ture in their lives.

With Jewish Care sup­port, older peo­ple can re­tain their joie de vivre

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