Today we had our first visit to the dementia cafe. This takes place in a room next to the library once a month and is attended by dementia/alzheimer sufferers, their carers and various mental health workers. Predictably Ma wasn't keen to go but it didn't stop her agitating to get there so of course we were 30 minutes early and had to wait in the car until it opened.
Once inside we were welcomed very warmly and offered tea or coffee. Ma, a lifelong milk no sugar person, suddenly asked for sugar in her coffee! The lady offering saw my face and just stirred the coffee without putting anything in it, which worked a treat. Several people arrived and one couple knew Ma from old church/operatics days so she was delighted to have someone she knew to talk to.
After about an hour a chap arrived with lots of boxes and equipment to set up some organised musical entertainment which included tambourines, maracas, pom poms and singing. Ma wasn't hugely impressed (hollow laugh) but joined in waving her pom poms and shaking her maracas. After every song she'd say that she didn't want to do any more but as soon as the next song started she was grooving away more than anyone in the room! I was quietly impressed with the whole thing - a mixture of sing along stuff, moving to music and a 'quiz' which everyone seemed to enjoy. And Ma had more sneaky exercise than she's had in a very long while.
The cafe needs volunteers and I offered my time but was told, very kindly, that if I'm caring full time there isn't really any way I can. Which is true but I'd still like to help. However I can help in one way, they are in the process of putting together a recipe book.... I've just emailed five simple recipes (as requested) to Rachel and will happily send more if needed. It's the least I can do.
All in all a good afternoon. I allowed Ma to garner the impression that we went there for my benefit only and she was chatting on the way home about 'Anne's poor husband' who also has vascular dementia. She still believes that she will improve and I don't see any point in forcing her to see otherwise.