The weather has been very hot for a few weeks now and today was no exception. We still however had a very busy session which also included the National Citizen Service (NCS) students. The NCS students attend every year and they are always a pleasure. The students sat and chatted to all the members making teas and coffees and generally helping.

NCS with members of Dementia Club UK at Finchley Memorial
NCS with members of Dementia Club UK at Finchley Memorial

We then played bingo which was good fun. There was also a birthday to celebrate. It was Grazia’s 86th birthday. Lisa made sure it was celebrated in the usual DCUK way with a cake sparkler. Jo her daughter brought 2 home made cakes and another birthday cake which was cut and shared out. Lisa then surprised members with ice creams. There was enough for everyone including the students.

Grazia's Birthday
Grazia's Birthday

As it was so hot, Lisa then suggested for members to go out in the garden. Members liked the idea. Students then took all the chairs out for members to sit. We took our traditional group photo with the students and then we did some singing and dancing. The students were by now very relaxed, integrating with the members and really enjoying themselves.

Students of NCS performing some singing and dancing
Students of NCS performing some singing and dancing

It was a really great afternoon and members are looking forward to seeing the NCS students again on the 8 the August when they will have prepared a surprise for the members.

Thank goodness for the students today as Lisa had no volunteers.

Today was the official launch of Dementia Club UK in Association with Rotary Clubs of Edgware & Stanmore and Northwick Park. Rotary Club Edgware and Stanmore started in March and then Rotary Club Northwick Park joined the following month in April. Both Rotary Clubs have now been running for 5 months successfully and thanks goes to the two Rotary Clubs Presidents Danielle Benson and Mollie Hacking for starting them.

Launch Cake
Launch Cake made and donated by Sasha Capocchi

The two Rotary Clubs now have two new Presidents – Sonia Hirsh is President of Rotary Club Edgware & Stanmore and Mike Stonham is President of Rotary Club Northwick Park. Danielle and Mollie will continue to run the sessions with the help of other Rotarian volunteers.

As this was an official launch event a buffet of various foods were brought by Lisa, Mollie, Helen, Dr Nandini and Danielle. Sasha from The Studios Satellite Rotary Club made a beautiful huge fresh fruit cream cake and donated the cake to the dementia club. The tables were also decorated with red tablecloths and flowers by Lisa.

We had a good number of members with their families attend and quite a few Rotary Club volunteers from both clubs.

Rotary Club Edgware & Stanmore

  • Danielle Benson now Immediate Past President
  • Dr Nandini Varma
  • Selwyn Foreman (Secretary)
  • Mrinail Choudhury
  • Suresh Bharwaney
  • Leonard Specterman

Rotary Club Northwick Park

  • Mollie Hacking MBE Immediate Past President
  • Helen Antoniou Past District Governor 2016-2017
  • Ritu Kapur
  • June Nathan
  • Dick Nathan
  • Lucille Parker
  • Rachelle Golding
  • John Evans

Lisa’s announcements included many welcomes as follows;

Special Guest – The Mayor of Harrow Cllr. Kareema Marikar Lisa introduced her and the Mayor gave us a quick introduction to her work in mental health. The Mayor was then asked to cut the cake with Lisa together as Lisa was also representing the Mayor of Barnet and wearing her official past Mayor’s badge.

Mayors from Barnet and Harrow cut the launch cake
Past Mayor of Barnet and Mayor of Harrow cut the launch cake
Mike Hodge, Rotary District Governor 2018 – 2019 also said a few words about the Rotary and how the Rotary Clubs have done well in setting up dementia clubs.
Mike Hodge, Rotary District Governor 2018 – 2019 also said a few words about the Rotary and how the Rotary Clubs have done well in setting up dementia clubs.

Other Visitors;

  • Eugenia Dike from Rotary Club President of Hendon
  • Jo Kamanu - Alzheimer’s Society prevention and wellbeing co-ordinator for Edgware
  • Mike Hodge – Rotary District Governor 2018 – 2019 also said a few words about the Rotary and how the Rotary Clubs have done well in setting up dementia clubs.
  • Dee Dolukup – Nat West Stanmore personal banking manager gave members some leaflets about financial scams and what to look out for with some useful tips.
  • Scott MaClachlan (Assistant Governor North West) from Rotary Club of Barnet
  • Rony Fernandes and other Rotarians from Rotary Club of Moodbiri Temple Town, India who are staying in the area popped by to do some Rotary International flag exchanging.
  • Sally Larner of specialist dementia support services
  • Jalpa Assani of GLL Better Leisure Centres came to see our successful formula

Rotary Presidents and Lisa
Past and present Rotary Presidents, the Mayor of Harrow and past Mayor of Barnet - Lisa

Lisa then started the session with a Quiz – How well do you know your Herbs? This provoked lots of chat about herbs and food. Everyone did well working in teams. Richard then arrived to start the Chair Yoga session. Everyone concentrated on all the various moves and then Richard brought out some bean bags for members which got them all very excited and ready for the next part of the session with Ronnie Goldsmith’s music entertainment. Members as usual got up to dance, or at least do some toe tapping in our seats to some music favourites.

Chair yoga with Richard
Chair yoga with Richard

This was a successful launch. Thanks to all our Rotarian volunteers for helping. Thank you to Beryl the premises manager. Thank you to Mark one of the Trustees for Dementia Club UK for helping with all the tables and chairs and also Marcel for helping with the same. Thank you to all those who brought food and Sasha for her delicious cake.

Next meet-up Wednesday 15th August

Today’s session was led by Eleanor.

Eleanor talked about a close friend of her brother’s, who had been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 60. Her husband had recently given up work to support her and they were struggling to deal with the reaction of friends who had deserted them in the months leading up to, and following, her diagnosis earlier this year. Eleanor then read an extract from ‘Somebody I Used to Know’, a book published in February 2018 by Wendy Mitchell, who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2015 at the age of 58. It was the second moving account Eleanor had read from Wendy’s book, in which Wendy spoke of the reactions of some of her friends to her illness: a neighbour who had crossed the road when he saw her in her front garden, unanswered emails and friends who no longer sent birthday or Christmas cards. Wendy is the first person to have written a book about her experience of living with dementia and some of our carers expressed surprise that she has such a clear insight into her condition.

By popular request, we then played two games of card bingo called by Eleanor and David, our volunteer who has just qualified as a doctor.

We finished with a general knowledge quiz. As always, we had some fiercely competitive contestants whose wide-ranging knowledge is extremely impressive. It is always pleasing to see so many members and carers joining in!

My thanks to our volunteers, Melvyn, Eva and David, without whose help we could not have run the session and to everyone who made teas and coffees and cleared up afterwards. Eva is now taking a well-deserved holiday until September and we hope she will be back with us at the start of next term if her college timetable permits. David starts his first job at a local hospital on 23 July and we wish him good luck!

This was our first session at the new venue. Some of our regular members visited which was really nice.

Lisa started with a quiz on Food and Drink which members found interesting and prompted discussions about food.

Richard then attended to do some Yoga with members. Richard introduced some bean bag catches which was great fun. The session then followed with Ronnie and his music entertainment and members were now up and dancing. In fact there were also a lot of interesting passers who wanted to join in. It was a successful first session.

Thank you to Mark my husband and one of the Trustees who helped with the session.

It’s been a hot couple of weeks and members who attended today were feeling wilted. The venue however is spacious and airy and this really helped.

Lisa started with a picture quiz which they enjoyed as it was not too hard. They were then given a word and asked to make as many 4 letter words as they could from the word I gave them. This was challenging as each table was competing.

One of the carers – Roopa, made some cakes as it was her special birthday last week. Members were very grateful for the variety of cakes.

Richard then came to do some yoga with members which was really enjoyable and the session then followed with Moshe. Even though it was hot, members still wanted to dance.

We had a new members today. David Graham from the Rotary brought his dad Tony who has dementia and he was also accompanied by the carer Nancy.

Thank you to our Rotarian volunteers – Valerie who is also one of our Trustees and Michael. Also thanks to our other volunteers, Gillian and Sandra, David Brill and of course Risom who is always so helpful.