The MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, joined volunteers at the Time Together well being drop-in cafe for people with dementia and their carers on Tuesday.
The sessions, organised by local charity Dementia Forward at Christ Church in Harrogate, are run by a mix of staff and volunteers all trained in dementia care. Guests have the opportunity to get involved with activities or to sit and chat over a cup of tea.
Andrew spoke to people attending the coffee morning about the issues they face and how they cope day-to-day. He was told that the cafe is as much for the carer as it is for the patient and support workers are available if advice on any dementia-related issues is needed.
Andrew, who joined the refreshments team serving tea and coffee, said:
I wanted to volunteer here today not only so that I could lend a hand to those who are here week-in week-out doing such a great job, but also to learn more about dementia and the work of Dementia Forward.
It was clear from speaking to the carers just how much this group means to them and to their loved ones. Coping with the illness of a close friend or relative isn’t easy but support groups and sharing experiences can be a great help.
One in eight people in the UK are full-time carers and in this constituency we are three-times as likely as to become a carer than the national average. That’s why it is important to raise awareness of local groups like these.
At the end of last month a new campaign called ‘A Day to Remember’ was launched by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, as part of the Challenge on Dementia. Its goal is to encourage people to initiate the ‘difficult conversation’ when they see symptoms of dementia in their family members and friends, and to urge them to see their doctor.
In February a brand new £5m national centre of excellence for dementia care at Station View in Starbeck, known as Vida Hall, is expected to open. Vida will be a 70-bed facility catering for residents with dementia across day care, respite and long-term residential care. The new centre with also bring up to 70 new jobs to the Harrogate area.