Howard Cottage Housing Association joins forces to celebrate World Alzheimer’s Day
With ice cream cones, glove puppets, chair yoga and hula dancing, the event had everything… even an Elvis impersonator!
The September event was the brainchild of Howard Cottage Home Support Officer Rachel Horne and NHDC’s Active Communities Manager and Nutritionist Helen Rae. It was also supported by Carers in Herts, Careline and Hertswise.
Rachel runs one of Howard Cottage’s four weekly Kingfisher Clubs for local people who have low to moderate dementia or are socially isolated. She said: “We wanted the event to be for everyone. Our aim was for people to come along for the day, get involved and have a lot of fun by immersing themselves in a range of activities’.
Letchworth Garden City resident Craig Gentle said: “I brought my grandparents along to the event because they both have mild Alzheimer’s. I like to get them out and about and it’s good to stimulate their mental health as well.”
Frances Wilshin said: “I came here for my husband, because he’s been diagnosed with vascular dementia. I wanted to see if the Kingfisher Club would be something of interest for him, somewhere for him to go.” Husband James had a whale of a time: “They are all jolly people and it’s certainly been a lovely day!”
Entertainer Bernie Keyte is a regular performer at the Kingfisher Clubs. He said: “One of the best ways to combat Alzheimer’s is by having fun, being creative and learning new things. This afternoon we did all sorts of activities and one of the ladies even had a go at spinning a plate – she’d never done anything like that before. “What’s also important about a place like this is making friends. The risk factors around Alzheimer’s include being socially isolated and not communicating with others. So meeting up with friends and being able to get involved in music and singing is all very, very important’.
Howard Cottage Supported Housing Manager Helen Cairns, who is responsible for four Kingfisher Clubs, said: “When a person gets a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it doesn’t mean that everything suddenly has to stop. They may just have to adapt, by doing things in a different way. “At our clubs, it’s not a case of everyone sitting in a circle, looking at each other. We engage our members in a variety of stimulating activities that are designed to promote movement and bring back memories of times gone by. They have a great time when they are with us, and we can see that they enjoy being in the company of friends.”
If you would like to find out more about the Kingfisher Clubs, contact Helen Cairns at Howard Cottage on 01462 683307.