How a café uses memories to help people manage forgetfulness

published on 26 Jan 2022

People with dementia and brain injuries in Great Yarmouth are among those invited to a club run by The Salvation Army church in the town which restarted earlier this month.

Sally Ann’s Memory Café is held every Friday from 10am to 1pm in the hall on Tolhouse Street except the last Friday of the month. It’s run by Harry Woods, community manager, who explained more about who would benefit from the club. Before joining The Salvation Army, Harry worked in the care sector, mainly caring for people living with dementia.

He said: “The club is open to anyone experiencing problems with their memory, from the elderly and forgetful to people diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. It also provides some respite for family carers.”

The club, which has been running for around three months, is tailored towards stimulating the people who come by including activities designed to activate their memories.

Yarmouth Memory Cafe
The club includes activities designed to stimulate participants' memories

Harry said: “We have a theme each week. Recently they have included wartime, old-fashioned sweets and occupation. We also hope to arrange trips. Each session gets underway with a coffee and a catch-up before a fun quiz with pictures on a screen designed to get the brain working.”

Harry said he believes club members get a lot out of the sessions.

He added: “Everyone is different, but its a small group and that means we can work one to one with people. For one gentleman, the club is the only time he comes out. He loves doing jigsaws and puzzles, which he completes in no time so you know he’s enjoying it.

“Another member told me we always make him smile when he comes here so we must be doing something right. We also have someone who loves to dance – she dances with a couple of guys here and she’s always smiling and happy.”

Yarmouth Memory Cafe
Dancing is a regular activity at the cafe

Harry thinks there is a need for these  facilities in the Great Yarmouth area – for carers as well as people living with the conditions.

He said: “Family carers are struggling because there is no support or respite so this is an opportunity for them. I’m told having four hours every Friday morning is a massive help, so we are here as much for them as we are for the users.”

If you or a family member would benefit from the café and would like to know more, email or call 01493 858 069.

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