Sally has recently started running SONAS sessions with staff from the Mental Health Trust. Originating in Dublin, SONAS means ‘wellbeing’ in Irish Gaelic. Held on Wednesday mornings at the Bideford Centre in Baguley, the group offers a range of simple sensory activities – smell, taste, touch, sound and sight – for enjoyment in the moment. Because the group is small, everyone has opportunities to join in fully. Carers have said that it helped them to think how they could be more in the moment and communicate differently with their relative. Get in touch if you would like to try the group.
On a grey and blustery January day the Walk & Talk Group helped out Red Rose Forest and Southway Housing by planting 6 fruit trees in West Didsbury. The trees will form a mini orchard for local residents to enjoy. Several group members, who have been gardeners, were keen to get digging. One of our ladies even helped to pound in the tree stakes! It reminded another lady of the vines and tangerine trees she grew in Cyprus. This opportunity showed what people living with dementia can still do and it left us all feeling really proud that we have contributed to improving the environment. Thanks to Red Rose Forest and to our staff and volunteers for making it possible.
We were recently invited to join pupils from Chorlton High School and older folk from Chorlton Good Neighbours at a pet therapy session. Sheila, from Noah’s A.R.T., brought dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs (along with their toys) to entertain us. Our members had lovely cuddles with the smaller animals whilst stroking and being licked by the dogs. We shared stories of pets we once had and asked the young people about their love of animals. This was all funded as part of the Chorlton Book Festival and we were grateful to be involved. If you would like to invite Sheila to attend a special event or group her website is: noahs-art.co.uk.
Together Dementia Support’s work is progressing well with four established, popular support groups that are making a great difference to people. We enable people who are living with dementia to get out every week, meet new friends, pick up hobbies that they had previously pursued or try new activities. Our Walk & Talk Group is enjoying Alexandra Park and feel it’s their weekly responsibility to feed the ducks! And the Carers’ Drop-In offers a varied programme, with an Old Age Psychiatrist, Social Worker, Physiotherapist, and dementia researchers all coming to speak. Our offer of free Tai Chi sessions and subsidised massage treatments have also proved popular.
TDS currently has five directors, one of whom is Sally, who also manages the project. However, to develop and expand our work we are seeking 2 or 3 more directors who share our passion for providing more community support to people with dementia in Manchester. Ideally we would welcome a director with experience and skills in either financial management/accountancy, commissioning or fundraising as securing funding to grow our work is a top priority. If you have some time to spare please get in touch with Sally to talk further. Your involvement could really make a difference.