I was delighted to be invited on Wednesday 12th September to speak about dementia and Dementia Club UK by Maria Paschali one of the ladies from the Greek Women’s Philanthropic Association ‘GWPA’. The GWPA which is a registered charity holds it's meetings at St Katherine’s Orthodox Church at Friern Barnet Lane N20 0NL.

Greek Women’s Philanthropic Association ‘GWPA’ at St Katherine’s Orthodox Church at Friern Barnet Lane N20 0NL
Greek Women’s Philanthropic Association ‘GWPA’ at St Katherine’s Orthodox Church at Friern Barnet Lane N20 0NL

It was a pleasure to meet the ladies at their coffee morning. I also brought with me 2 of my dementia club members Marina and Andreas who were delighted to meet everyone. The GWPA meet for coffee every 3 months and fundraise for a different charity of their choice each time.

I was delighted that they decided to fundraise for Dementia Club UK and would like to thank Maria and all the ladies for their generous contribution which will go towards helping more people suffering with dementia and also providing help and advice to carers and families.

We had a very busy session as usual. Lisa talked about various updates and upcoming outings to members whilst they were enjoying their teas and cakes and then she introduced a poem by Ronald Dhal.

Lisa told members that as Thursday 13th September is a celebration day for Ronald Dhal (the world’s number one story teller for children) she had a poem called The Three Little Pigs to be read. As this had 19 verses Lisa asked different members to read each verse. It was very amusing and members enjoyed it.

Lisa then played Bingo which everyone always enjoys and there is lots of concentration. The session then followed with singing from Lisa’s song sheets and also some dancing when they hear their favourites.

The session finishes off with some True/False quiz questions which always gets members chatting amongst themselves.

Image courtesy of Melissa
Image courtesy of Melissa

It was a very enjoyable session. Thank you to Dr Angela who was busy taking blood pressures and talking to members with any medical concerns. Melissa who is always a great hit with members with her bubbly character. Thank you to Melvyn and Eleanor for helping setting up and throughout the session and also to our new volunteer Carlos who has also been attending and has been very helpful.

Today was the Jewish New Year so a few of the members were missing.

Lisa did a 1950’s quiz which brought back many memories and encouraged chatting amongst members.

Annalisa the exercise instructor then came and everyone was ready for exercises. Members have really taken to Annalisa as she makes exercising really fun.

 Annalisa makes exercising really fun
Annalisa makes exercising really fun

The session then followed with Helen Tierney who as usual always gets members to sing along to famous favourites. Members are always amazed at how Helen jumps from playing the keyboard, the accordion and the harp. She creates such an exciting atmosphere and this motivates members to get up dancing.

Helen plays the keyboard, accordion and the harp who as usual gets members to sing along to famous favourites
Helen plays the keyboard, accordion and the harp who as usual gets members to sing along to famous favourites

Everyone had a very happy afternoon.

This was a busy session as always. Members arrived and as usual enjoy to sit and chat amongst themselves enjoying the tea, coffee and cakes.

Lisa announced to members about 2 outings coming soon. There will be a repeat of the Ongar Steam Train and Afternoon Tea on the 22nd September and Christmas Afternoon Tea at Lord’s Cricket Ground on 9th December.

Lisa then informed members about an interesting article she read about the importance of feeding our brain with the right nutrients to increase the acetylcholine chemical in our brain. This means making sure our diet includes food bearing “healthy fats” – fatty fish, avocados and almonds are top sources. Other foods also include egg yolks, cream, fatty cheeses and liver. Although you don’t need to eat these foods to excess, depriving yourself of healthy fats on a long term basis can lead to an acetylcholine deficiency.

Lisa also mentioned that exercising our brains is important. We rely a lot on our diaries especially as we have a busy life. Trying to remember what we have added in our diaries is part of the exercise and also to try and remember our schedule for the day when we wake up.

We had visitor today – Claire Browning from CLCH Health Team Manager ‘Barnet Learning Disabilities Team’ who came to see the Tovertafel in action so that she could speak to other organisations and bring the groups to try out the Tovertafel.

We also had a surprise visit from Pollyanna Boothby Tucker who used to work in Marks & Spencer Whetstone. She brought in her little cute dog Lizzy for members to see. Everyone was very pleased to see Lizzy who was caressed by members.

Pollyanna is well known for raising funds for charities. She has shaved her hair 3 times for charities, had her bottom plastered and the resulting cast auctioned for the Barnet Carers Centre as well as taking part in a charity skydive.

Lisa then did a quick musical quiz giving members the first line of a song and asking them to name the title. This followed with Lisa reading some jokes which everyone enjoyed.

It was now time for the Tovertafel and everyone including our visitor Claire enjoyed the rest of the afternoon seeing all the various games.

This report is written by Session leader Justine:

"At the start of the session, the members were served tea, coffee and lovely biscuits and were happy chatting to each other.

After a short while, a lovely lady called Annalisa did some fun exercises with our members which everyone thoroughly enjoyed!

Annalisa putting the members through their paces
Annalisa putting the members through their paces

This was followed by a lively session of entertainment provided by the very talented James LeBec. James sang a variety of popular songs to which many of the guests and volunteers danced & he even did a music quiz where our members had to guess the name of the song! It was great fun!

One of our members was celebrating his birthday, Alfonso, and he was presented with a cake and we all sang Happy Birthday to him! After James left, the guests continued to chat and there was also table tennis, mini golf & darts! We were even treated to a lovely rendition of 'Strangers in the Night' sang by one of our lovely members, Terry!

Birthday Cake for Alfonso
Birthday Cake for Alfonso

26 guests and carers attended the session with the assistance of seven volunteers from the synagogue who were:- Justine, Stephen, Gilda, Dottie, Judy, Keith & Caroline."