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Parson Cross Forum's Dementia Café

We love to shout out about the fantastic services available in our local communities, and recently we received the following about Parson Cross Forum from Jane Ash, who works for Sheffield Health & Social Care/NHS in their Community Dementia Support Service, and we just had to share it! It's a great testament to Parson Cross Forum and the fantastic work they do for the community and people with Dementia. Have a read:

*name of client changed for confidentiality purposes.

"I work with the SHSC/NHS and have been a community worker for 22 years. I work with people suffering from Dementia with complex needs. My job entails trying to access services for my clients to enable their carers who suffer with extreme carers stress a little respite.

My client Albert* is a 69-year-old gentleman who was referred to us as he had complex needs and his wife was suffering from extreme carers stress. We became involved and began taking him out. This was quite difficult because as soon as we arrived at a destination and got out of the car Albert became quite anxious and agitated and wanted to go back home, and no matter what distraction techniques were used Albert remained unsettled. We needed Albert to be settled away from home before we could introduce him to a daycentre, and visits carried on for quite a while with the same unsettled and anxious behaviour.

Trying to find somewhere to take Albert which was a suitable environment with people that would understand Albert and his illness has become harder and harder especially since Covid, and near impossible when more daycentres and luncheon clubs have shut with not much hope of them opening again.

I came across the Parson Cross Forum which I found details about on Facebook initially, and it looked the ideal place for me to bring Albert. It did say it was a memory café for people with early onset dementia so I phoned and asked if I could pop in, Louise immediately said yes and looked forward to seeing us both.

The minute we walked in we were made feel very welcome by Louise and Louise and all the other visitors too, information that was printed out about what was on in the building was given me and we were told that there was a singer performing.

Albert seemed to like it there and seemed to settle immediately when the singer started to perform. Albert started singing along and remained settled throughout the 2 hours we were there and didn’t ask to go home once. I have been visiting Parson Cross Forum once a week with Albert and he thoroughly enjoys it and doesn’t show any of the anxiety or agitation he displayed when taking him to other places.

This community forum will now enable me to make Albert feel safe and settled and hopefully make it better to access future day services for him. It gives me job satisfaction knowing he is getting something enjoyable out of the morning, ensuring when I take him back home his wife has had a rest and he has gone home in a calm and settled mood thanks to Parson Cross Forum.

Evidence suggests that health and wellbeing in people fare better with social interaction in a place where people feel welcome and are accommodated for. The service that Louise and Louise provide is greatly needed and wanted, not for only the local people but workers in the community that need to access services like these.

Community-based services are integral to the delivery of providing support in the community, and for the carers who become increasingly stressed and suffer depression it is somewhere that they can chat to like-minded carers and get help from people invited to speak about benefits.

This service is the first one I have found in 22 years, it is a great benefit to the community and community workers. There is no other forum like this in Sheffield which is so supportive to carers and people with Dementia. This service would be a great loss to many people if it was to close."

To find out more about what Parson Cross Forum offer, visit their website or give them a call on 0114 3279 727.

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