Friendship lunches a 'lifeline' for people with dementia and their carers

Mayor and Mayoress of Rotherham, Robert and Tracy Taylor, and guests Kathleen Foster, Ann Higgins and Maureen Williams at the StorytellerMayor and Mayoress of Rotherham, Robert and Tracy Taylor, and guests Kathleen Foster, Ann Higgins and Maureen Williams at the Storyteller
Mayor and Mayoress of Rotherham, Robert and Tracy Taylor, and guests Kathleen Foster, Ann Higgins and Maureen Williams at the Storyteller
THE founder of friendship lunches says she is “beyond proud” of the events which are proving a “lifeline” people with dementia and their carers.

As part of Dementia Awareness Week, freelance community consultant Kathy Markwick also hosted a 'Music Makes Memories' friendship lunch on Monday (May 13) at the Sitwell Arms in Whiston.

Kathy launched the events in South Yorkshire eight years ago, with the first Rotherham event taking place in November 2021.

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The events, which feature entertainment from a live singer, have subsequently grown to new venues in the borough including The Storyteller in Parkgate, which will host its next lunch on Thursday, June 6.

She said: "It is brilliant to have a special week to highlight this, but for me 'dementia awareness' should be all year round.

“I am often approached by families or carers who are looking after a relative who lives with dementia and are seeking 'dementia friendly' events.

“The friendship lunches are perfect as they can meet others in similar situations.

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“One guest who has dementia really enjoys the events and has made many friends – everyone makes him feel very welcome.

“Another guest brings her mum who also has dementia and she said they both love the events and they give her invaluable respite, as they do for many other people.

“She told the ONLY things that her mum remembers are the friendship lunches!

“Her mum really enjoys the songs, she remembers the words and sings along.

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“They have both made many friends who they now meet on a regular basis and she called the events 'a lifeline for those living with dementia as well as their carers'.

"I am beyond proud of the success of the Friendship Lunches and the joy and respite they bring to so many people.

“I must point out, however, that we do not provide one-to-one support or personal care and so guests requiring extra support are advised to bring an accompanying family member or carer.

“The events and definitely give people something to look forward and something to get dressed up for.

“We all need this in our lives and age is certainly no barrier.”

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