4 Jan 2016
First of all I would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous 2016. We had a great year in 2015, growing our membership from 4 people to almost 30 people regularly attending and I do hope that 2016 sees us continue to expand on that and deliver the much needed service that people living with dementia, including carers, want and need.
Today we had a very different session to our usual approach as we had some new members joining us from the Cognitive Stimulation Therapy group. After having 2 weeks off it was important to have a bit of a refresh for the group on who everyone was (me included). We started the session with the ‘conversation starter’ ball and passed it around the table sharing our name and our wish for 2016: good health, to win the lottery, to travel abroad to visit family and world peace all came up more than once!
Afterwards we had an awareness circle ice breaker session as an opportunity to find out what people had in common with each other, beyond the diagnosis of dementia. Normally, this would be a silent exercise where everyone would stand in a large circle and the facilitator would read out a statement and if that statement is true for the individual they would make there way to the centre of the circle, take a look at other people stood with them and return to the larger circle. However, this wasn’t possible due to space constraints and mobility concerns for some of our members, so instead we remained seat around the table and raised our hands. Those who raised their hands were then asked to expand briefly, where there was an opportunity to share more about themselves.
Statements that we explored included:
- I play a musical instrument (followed by which one people played)
- I am the oldest of my siblings (or was, if some had passed away)
- I have travelled to another country (followed by which one was their favourite)
- I am artistic (followed by what art forms they practice)
- I am an only child
- I am the youngest of my siblings
At the end of the session we discussed some minor changes that will be happening from next week. Due to the increased numbers we are going to divide the group onto smaller tables with a maximum of 6 people per table to ensure that people have more opportunities to engage in conversations and group activities and each table will have the support of a volunteer.Members will also be encouraged and supported to get their own refreshments after the introduction during each session due to members complaining about their lengthy waits to be served their drinks and some people ordering but never actually receiving their drinks. It is important that we continue to support our members to do as much as they can for themselves, while offering support where needed and hopefully this small change will be a step in the right direction to ensuring people get what they want as quickly as possible.
Next week we are going to be revisiting our life stories and looking at our family life including grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Please remember to bring along a photograph of yourself from your younger days, as per the request of one of our members – let’s see how much you have changed!