How a St Ives group has helped people living with dementia in lockdown

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

Singing, exercising and lunches with loved ones are all part of a community group’s way of enjoying life despite the pain of watching loved ones suffer from dementia. 

The St Ives Dementia Friendly Community was started in 2016 and over the past five years has gone on to help dozens of residents with the debilitating condition. 

And local businesses have joined forces with the group too – taking up training courses to become “dementia friendly”.

However, lockdown meant that ways to adapt support had to be translated to an online audience. 

“We’ve made sure that we have stayed in touch with people by just giving them a phone call to let them know that we are still here,” explained chair Roger Kuch. 

“Lockdown was a very fraught time for everyone. 

“I was speaking with a care home who said many residents have been left totally confused, especially with not being able to see family. 

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“And it’s also easy to forget that a lot of relatives are carers for their loved ones with dementia if they still live at home, so it’s been a very hard time for them too.” 

The group made sure that members were able to join support classes via Zoom and still engage with a friendly face.

“Our Memory Lane Singing Café has been really popular and we’ve started to hold our Reminiscing Sessions with The Norris Museum too, where we share old articles and get a discussion going on things we remember from the past,” Roger added. 

“Then there’s the Love to Move classes, that are accessible and fun for people to exercise gently. 

“We have the Riverport Singers Choir as well and we’ve found that having these sessions available has been a great help for people during lockdown.” 

The group also hold Friendship Lunches and a Dementia Café with guest speakers - which are both set to start up again once restrictions ease further. 

“We can’t wait to get back out there and see people face to face, but we will continue to run a couple of online sessions too,” Roger added. 

For more information on joining the St Ives Dementia Friendly Community or volunteering, get in touch with Roger on 07796 783521 or by email rnjkuch@gmail.com. 

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