After the World Health Organisation has today declared a pandemic for the COVID-19 outbreak we have decided to suspend further Dementia Club UK sessions until further notice. We have done this with sadness but feel as our members are some of the most vulnerable people we should try and reduce their exposure to the risk of contact with those with the virus.

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Today will be remembered for a long time as Lisa had to sadly announce to members that all dementia clubs after today’s session will be suspended until further notice. The World Health Organisation announced that the Corona virus Covid-19 had now been declared a pandemic which means that the world is in crisis. Members were very sad as they so look forward to attending the dementia clubs but they all fully understood the gravity of the situation and agreed that I was doing the right thing taking precautions.

Lisa also mentioned to members that whilst there will not be any dementia clubs, she wanted to let them know that they could call her any time if they had problems to discuss and also just for a chat.

The session then continued after this sad announcement and Lisa gave members another A to Z quiz to do. This time they had to find ‘countries of the world’. The aim of course is to try and find a country that has not been named by the other groups. This proved to be very competitive but also very enjoyable. Some members also did some word searches which they also enjoyed.

We then celebrated 2 birthdays. Maria’s 95th birthday which was on the 6th and Terry’s 85th birthday which is on the 16th. As usual the birthdays are celebrated with Lisa providing cakes with a firework candle - the Dementia Club UK style. Everyone sang Happy Birthday to them both.

Lisa then introduced Arzu who brought 2 big boxes containing many small seedling kit boxes which were donated by the Marks & Spencer Manager. Members received a variety of seedling kits and Arzu explained what they needed to do to grow them. The variety included – Basil, Beetroot, carrot, Chilli pepper, Forget-me-not, Lettuce, Micro cress, Pancy, Parsley, Pepper, Radish and Viola.

It was then time for some music entertainment and it was lovely to see again Mike Marandi. Members who went to the Mickie Driver Variety Show on Valentine’s Day would have met him then. Mike was really entertaining and played some lovely music favourites which members enjoyed and danced to. Mike also had some colourful clothes outfits which one of the members was happy to wear and dance to. Mike was certainly full of surprises and made everyone laugh.

This was a truly wonderful session and everyone left with a smile. Thank toy my volunteers today Angela Chen, Arzu and of course Mark.

Muz welcomed everyone today at the session and then introduced Lisa who gave a brief update about the next session on the programme this week.

Muz and Lisa then surprised Frances by presenting him with a cake to celebrate his birthday. All the members sang happy birthday to Frances which brought a smile to everyone’s face.

Today’s session was only a couple of days after International Women’s Day, so the theme of the activities was International Women’s Day. Muz and Faz introduced a colouring activity where members could use their creativity and imagination to colour in a paper shaped woman. There was also an International Women’s Day themed wordsearch for members to complete, whilst enjoying their teas, coffees and lovely cakes.

After the colouring and the wordsearch, there were two International Women’s Day themed games to keep members occupied. Firstly, there was a true or false quiz where members were given 15 facts. They had to decide whether they were true or false. Everyone loved playing the game and learnt some very interesting facts at the same time.

After the quiz, Faz read out a short article about the values of International Women’s Day. She then asked members to name the 10 values that represent International Women’s Day. Members managed to identify all 10 with a few leading clues to help them on their way.

After the games, Richard took over with seated exercise. Richard’s session was very topical as he called it “Corona Yoga”. The idea was to get people to find a new way to greet each other that means they don’t have to shake hands and touch one another. For example, there was one exercise where members were asked to tap their feet to say hello to each other. It was a novel and fun way to get everyone to stretch and exercise. Richard also got members to pretend washing their hands for 20 seconds singing the Happy Birthday song.

After Richard’s exercise session, members were entertained with a variety of games that included golf putting, table tennis, skittles and hoop tossing. Everyone had lots of fun with the variety of activities on offer. The session concluded with a sing-a-long of five classic songs which everyone really enjoyed. Lambeth Walk was the finale and went down really well. This was a very enjoyable session.

A huge and heartfelt thanks to our volunteers Annette and Radha. They were rushed off their feet today as there was so much to do. They were both utterly brilliant. Thanks also to Lisa, Faz and Muz for helping out today.

It was lovely to see quite a few members attend today at the Finchley Cricket Club. The daily news about the Coronavirus is depressing but members were determined to have a good time.

As usual the tables are organised by Julian and Jacqueline the hosts and also Jacqueline is busy making yummy sandwiches and cakes which are then distributed on each table. Members feel really spoilt when they are there.

Lisa welcomed everyone and then asked Julian to say a few words about an event at the Finchley Cricket Club on the 27th March. Lisa then distributed the ‘alphabet quiz’ again today and this time asked members to think of words to do with ‘Things that you can wear’ There were 5 tables and each table had to make sure the other table did not hear their words.

It was very competitive and some of the words were really imaginative and fun. As it was also ‘International Women’s Day ‘ yesterday, Lisa read out some poems, one of which was very funny and members enjoyed.

The session then followed with exercises with Eon and as usual Eon makes sure that everyone's exercises even the ones right at the back. It’s always great fun and everyone loves Eon.

The exercises lead on without any pause with music entertainment with Ian and today Ian also brought his dog Theo who is a good boy and loves the attention. As always Ian’s bubbly personality is electrifying and members soon are up and dancing. It was lovely to also see Julian dance with one of the members.

Thank you to Julian and Jacqueline for being perfect hosts and thank you to our only Rotarian today from Golders Green Sheila for attending and helping and of course to Mark.

There are just a few days left to see BBC documentary film on Dementia Club UK. See the following link if you want to watch it on iPlayer.