arthur+martha is working at a 'Buddy Cafe' for people diagnosed with dementia - and their carers - in Salford. We're bringing together the stories of the many people involved. Some of these pieces are interviews, others creative work. This project is in partnership with Age Concern Salford and Salford PCT. Here a carer for her brother discusses the Buddy Cafe and it's impact on the family:
It's company for D, otherwise he's stuck in the house by himself. They do men's things over there. For me it means D's is mixing with men that are similar, (with dementia) he's always been a mans man, interested in football, darts etc, so he's getting that interaction. It gives his daughter/carer a break, she can relax, he's in a safe environment, has something to eat, drink, she knows he's enjoyed it. If the was home all day, he would be on his own, get depressed.
He hasn't many friends, doesn't have any really, because people don't understand the condition, they cant hold a normal conversation with people with dementia, they don't have the patience. But here they do. They talk. And even for me when I help out here, it gives me the motivation to get up and do things. I've got a lot of health problems myself. It's nice to interact socially with these ladies in the morning and D in the afternoon. I didn't realise it was so much fun. He's not needy when he comes here, I can watch him interacting, see a different side of him.
I try to help out here when I can. I'm not always physically able. The staff are lovely, being here gives you an insight to the condition. Their all at different stages of dementia. It can be scary also- is this what's to come? To think what he could be like? That's why it's important to retain as much independence, with him being with the men.
I brought J today, known him for years and this morning he wouldn't get in the car because he didn't recognise me. Must be hard for him.
Need more places like this, places that don't cost a fortune. Their communicating, interacting with people and me to...I would be just sat at home feeling sorry for myself. The laughter lifts your spirits, lifts your mood, makes you realise everyone else has problems, some worse than you. A lot of the activities are fun things, not like going to a speech therapist or psychologist who can be regimented, here your stimulating the brain without thinking about it. Your not making them do things, it's treatment without drugs, it's funs.
Sometimes feel its a bit sad. Its been a bit more recognised with stuff in the press, shame it had to be the big tv personalities that have to do it. If you haven't had to deal with it with your own family then you don't think about it. Their locked in a world, whether it's the past or whatever it is. There's not a straight forward way to forward way to treat it, it's a complex thing. A lot of carers are saints to cope with it 24/7. Something positive is happening about it here.