Friday, 19 May 2023, 11:38
A regular coffee morning is starting at the church room in Puente don Manuel on Monday 29 May for English speakers who are caring for people with dementia, or who have signs that they may have dementia.
The group has come about thanks to the support of the Alcaucín Community Association (ACA), which raises funds through its secondhand shop in Puente don Manuel.
Alzheimer and Dementia Support Group Costa del Sol. Based in Mijas Costa and supported by Age Care. Find them on Facebook Alzheimer and Dementia Support Group Costa del Sol.
La Cala de Mijas Lions' Club. Support group for people with Dementia and Alzheimers in La Cala de Mijas. Website www.lacalalions.org/alzheimers-group
The inspiration behind starting the coffee mornings came from Alcaucín resident, Eunice Bowles-Roberts, whose husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia around eight years ago.
Just prior to the start of the pandemic, Eunice started sending a newsletter to English-speaking residents in Alcaucín, with information on Spanish laws that affect foreign residents, to links to articles in local media and a what's on guide and anything else she came across that she thought might be of interest. Eunice says that demand for the newsletter "grew very quickly" and she soon had a mailing list of 1,000 people across different villages in the Axarquía.
Then in September 2020 she set up an online support group for carers of people with dementia. "Like everyone, I had a lot more free time at the start of the pandemic and I started looking up information as my husband's dementia was getting worse," Eunice explains. "I knew a number of other people in Alcaucín who were also affected, so I started doing a lot of research and set up a separate mailing list with a newsletter just with information to the carers," she adds.
Eunice provides information about how to help people with dementia, "how to" guides and points them in the right direction to access further help. She says that for non-Spanish speakers, accessing the right help in Spain is a problem and often people "don't want to admit" that they think that a loved one might have dementia.
Eunice soon had volunteers offering to provide support and advice, as well as people who had lost loved ones to dementia and were interested in offering support based on their own experience and wanted to be able to help in some way.
After the lockdowns, Eunice explains she started to meet people in the group on a one to one basis starting an opportunity for carers to meet and share experiences. But it was when Gill Hayes, who manages the ACA shop, offered to help to get a group together, that the idea of starting the regular coffee morning came about.
Gill and Eunice both say that the idea is to organise activities for people to do, as well as having the opportunity to meet up for a coffee. "I use different games and activities to help my husband, so I can take those with me and we have local nurses and other volunteers with mental health experience who have volunteered to help," explains Eunice.
She and Gill believe that there are currently no other similar groups or support networks in English in the Axarquía area. However, Eunice is in contact with support groups in Mijas Costa.
The Alzheimer and Dementia Support Group Costa del Sol is supported through Age Care Mijas Costa and meets on the first and third Monday of each month in Calahonda at the Baptist church, and on the second Thursday of each month in The Bar, Calle Cuesta Marzo in Alhaurín el Grande.
La Cala de Mijas Lions' club also offers a support group for carers of people with Alzheimer's/Dementia and they meet on the third Monday of every month at Bar Tuta at the Jardín Botanico.
The first meeting of the Axarquía support group is taking place on Monday, 29 May at 10.30am at the church room at El Cruce in Puente don Manuel.
For further details of the Alcaucín coffee mornings email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about dementia and caring for people with the condition visit: Dementia UK: www.dementiauk.org; Alzheimer's Society: www.alzheimers.org.uk; UK National Health Service (NHS): www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/about; Alzheimer's Association (alz.org) Spain (in English): www.alz.org/es/dementia-alzheimers-spain.asp.
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