Manx Decaf - monthly cafes where those who have dementia or memory problems, their relatives and carers can meet to socialise and receive support - has achieved charity status. The first cafe was set up in 2006 by staff within the former Department of Health and Social Security after two of the Island’s Community Mental Health professionals attended a UK conference on dementia. It was there that they came across the then quite new concept of dementia cafes and were inspired to set one up on-Island. Over the past six years two additional cafes have been established, with the scheme proving so popular that members felt there was great potential to take the initiate forward as a charity. As a result, charity status was approved in June 2012, with an official launch scheduled for Friday, 26 October.
The charity’s committee has the overall aim to provide a social environment which offers both an informal setting and a place where anyone can come to get information on dementia and other memory problems. The committee consists of lay members and multi-disciplinary individuals from both the Department of Health and the Department of Social Care experienced in occupational therapy, social work, and community mental health; all dedicated volunteers who are essential to the successful running of the cafes. Volunteers, including trained professionals in memory problems, are able to offer guidance and support to those with dementia, as well as their carers and their relatives; this ensures that the best possible advice is given and that those affected don’t come to feel isolated by the condition. There’s also the opportunity for those with dementia or memory problems to be referred to clinics and other services within the Department of Health and the Department of Social Care via the cafes.
Leonard Singer MHK, who is Member for Mental Health Services within the Department of Health and also Member for Social Services within the Department of Social Care, said:
'Since their introduction, the Island’s dementia and memory problems cafes have been a resounding success. They offer a place where people – not just those with dementia or memory problems, but also their carers and relatives - can come together and be open about their issues, share experiences, and benefit from the help on offer. The best thing about the cafes is that those with dementia and memory problems can gain access to services and referrals to clinics through this informal setting, and if they have any questions or concerns there is a great deal of support for them. It is a great step forward that Manx Decaf has been successful in becoming a charity, enabling it to develop further.'
Peter Newbold, Chairman of Manx Decaf said:
'This is an exciting development for the future of Manx Decaf, which is a vital service for those affected by dementia and memory problems, as I found out when my wife developed this condition. The new status will enable us to operate independently and develop the charity and its services further. This has only been possible because of the hard work and dedication of individuals within the departments of Health and Social Care, and other volunteers. Without their valuable support and initiative, we would not be in the position we are today.'
Leonard Singer MHK added:
'The government will now be handing over the reins to Manx Decaf, but naturally both the Older Persons Mental Health Service and the Older People’s Social Work Team will continue to offer support and will remain heavily involved. This sort of partnership working between the public and third sectors will likely become increasingly important as our social and health services adapt to the challenges of an ageing population and ongoing financial pressures. As well as the volunteers; I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to those staff from both the Department of Health and the Department of Social care who had the foresight and vision to establish this service, and who continue their close partnership working in matters relating to older people’s health and social care.'
Manx Decaf run a number of cafes throughout the Island:
- Douglas; Whispers Bar, Palace Hotel and Casino – 2pm till 4pm, last Friday of every month
- Ramsey; Ramsey Town Hall, Function Room, 2nd Floor – 2pm till 4pm, second Thursday of every month
- Port Erin; Cherry Orchard Hotel – 2pm till 4pm, second Wednesday of every month
There is a donation of £2.00 for tea, coffee and cakes. Dementia is used to describe a group of symptoms relating to behaviour and cognitive ability. Although dementia is commonly thought of in terms of memory problems, the reality is much more complex, and symptoms between the different forms of dementia can vary a great deal. Dementia symptoms can include memory problems, confusion and mood changes.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, followed by vascular dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. It is possible to have more than one of these diseases that cause dementia at the same time; this is called ‘mixed dementia’. About 820,000 people in the UK have dementia. Most are over 65, but over 15,000 under-65s have dementia.
This development in the Manx Decaf also comes at a time where the UK Government has launched a dementia campaign, including a new television advert to raise awareness and promote early diagnosis of the condition.
For further information about Manx Decaf call the Older Persons Mental Health Team on + 44 1624 642879.