'Dementia is devastating but it can bring people together'

The St Ives Dementia Friendly Community has helped dozens of residents with the debilitating condition. 

The St Ives Dementia Friendly Community has helped dozens of residents with the debilitating condition. - Credit: Group

A powerful campaign for raising awareness of dementia took place during May – and locally a St Ives group were doing their bit too. 

The hard-hitting posters from the Alzheimer’s Society didn’t shy away from the harsh realities of dementia: Dementia kills.  

Dementia is devastating. Dementia puts an enormous, often unbearable strain on the carers. 

Yet amid the heartbreaking stories there is also the truth that if a community tries hard enough - dementia can also bring people together. 

The St Ives Dementia Friendly Community Group had a stand at the Farmers’ Market in order to support the Alzheimer’s Society’s campaign and to talk to people about what there is on offer in our town for those with dementia. 

Chair Roger Kuch, hosted the stand with other volunteers from the group.  

“Despite the relentless rain, we had a wonderful and emotional day at the stand. Many people visited us,” said. 

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“Volunteers, newcomers to the town, people with dementia, their carers, family members who have lost people to dementia or were worried about an upcoming diagnosis, choir members who only met on Zoom before, COPE members... and it was great to have our group’s founder and former chair, Ian Jackson, come and see us.  

“We had laughter, we had tears, and most of all, we had a strong feeling of community and hope.” 

During the pandemic the group ran activities on Zoom – from reminiscing, exercise and singing sessions.  

This was made possible with various grants, including a generous contribution made by the St Ives Town Council.  

“Now we are planning to restart all our groups in person, as soon as the government lifts the remaining restrictions, hopefully at the end of June,” Roger added. 

“We are all looking forward to a fresh start post-lockdown, to reach out to all those affected by dementia and to the community to give them their warmest support. This is our simple mission.” 

INFO: Contact us if you would like to talk about dementia. Have you cared for someone close to you or maybe you are part of a group or club that supports people in the community. Contact Clare Butler via email at: clare.butler@archant.co.uk.