Memory Lane Activity Café: A beacon of support and companionship for those affected by dementia

Apr 16, 2024
The endeavour holds promise as a beacon of support and companionship for individuals and families navigating the complexities of dementia. Source: Getty Images.

In a positive step towards enriching the lives of those affected by dementia, The Salvation Army, in partnership with Home Instead, is preparing to introduce the Memory Lane Activity Café.

Situated in Darlington, New South Wales, the café aims to serve as a sanctuary for individuals navigating the challenges of dementia, welcoming those experiencing memory loss, along with their caregivers while offering a diverse range of activities, including singing sessions, gentle exercises, crafts, and games.

Major Shirley McKenzie, who leads Darlington Citadel Salvation Army, said the soon to be launched initiative will “offer a safe environment for folks with dementia or memory loss issues, a chance for them to relax, enjoy themselves, feel supported and encouraged.”

“Research shows activities like singing can help reduce anxiety and depression, enhance quality of life and help with memory,” McKenzie added.

“We want people to have fun and join in with as much or as little as they wish, but we hope they leave with a smile on their faces.

“We also want to provide an environment for carers to relax, have a break and meet other carers. Dementia can be a very isolating condition so we hope that bringing people together will help those who are living with it themselves or because they are caring for someone who is.

“We have a good relationship with Home Instead, they are a wonderful organisation so we’re really pleased to be teaming up with them for Memory Lane Activity Café. Between us we have lots of ideas for future sessions so we are very much looking forward to seeing the café develop.”

Community Engagement Officer for Home Instead, Joanne Hendry highlighted the importance of the café in fostering community connections and providing stimulating activities for both individuals with dementia and their loved ones.

“Our dedicated team provide specialist support for many people living with dementia and we wanted to provide the local community with a regular event where those living with dementia, and their loved ones, can relax and socialise and take part in some stimulating activities,” Hendry said.

“It’s such an important part of helping make Darlington dementia inclusive. We are delighted to be working in partnership with The Salvation Army and hope that people will attend the activity café again and again.

“We will have a range of games, arts, crafts and activities like armchair exercise, nostalgic movies, pet therapy, hand massage, singing. We will also have memory boxes, which are provided by Darlington Library and contain newspaper clippings and reminders of things from decades past to help prompt memories.”

With sessions scheduled to take place every third Thursday of the month from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, the café’s official launch is slated for Thursday, April 18th.

This collaborative endeavour between The Salvation Army and Home Instead holds promise as a beacon of support and companionship for individuals and families navigating the complexities of dementia.

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