There’s a new cafe in town that offers people with any form of dementia, plus their partners and carers, a little respite on a Wednesday afternoon.
Young@Heart was created by Luton businesswoman Maria Collins in partnership with the Catholic parish of the Holy Family and St John, and music therapy organisation Music 24.
It takes place free of charge at St John’s Parish Centre in Sundon Park on Wednesdays from 2pm to 4pm and offers tea and cake, a singalong to favourite songs, arts and craft lessons and a chance to mingle with like-minded people.
Maria – a finalist in the Best Community Champion category of the recent Best Business Women Awards – is chair of Luton Dementia Action Alliance and owns and runs home care business Home Instead Luton and Central Bedfordshire.
She has a deeply-held desire to change the face of ageing and to demonstrate there is a different way of caring for people.
Maria says: “There’s a great demand for this kind of dementia respite service in the community and it is an honour to be recognised by these awards for our contribution. It has given the whole team a boost.”
The central idea of Young@Heart is to give family and other carers a safe place to take their loved ones for a few hours.
Part of a dementia cafe’s role is to provide carers with a much-needed break, because looking after someone with the condition is often incredibly demanding and energy-sapping.
It’s perhaps not surprising that music enhances communication and that even those with advanced dementia can recall familiar tunes.
Maria says: “We’ve witnessed this at the café and found it to be a deeply emotional experience. You can see people almost change back to the days before their dementia. “
Music 24 was initially established to help adults with learning disabilities and young onset dementia. It now has a much wider brief and founders Graeme Davis and Teela Hughes have developed a community music formula that has proved enormously successful.
> More information from Maria Collins on 01582 742275.