South East Wales

Dementia cafes for Alzheimer's in south Wales valleys

Generic photo of an Alzheimer's volunteer and sufferer
Image caption Dementia cafes provide support and advice in a friendly, social setting.

A new service to support people with Alzheimer's and their families has been launched in the south Wales valleys.

Specialist dementia cafes funded by Rhondda Cynon Taf council will be established across the county and hosted by the Alzheimer's Society.

The cafes will be set up across the county borough over the coming weeks.

The first will be launched at Abercwmboi RFC clubhouse on Monday at at 1300 GMT.

A series of guest speakers will attend the event, including the director of Alzheimer's Wales, Sue Phelps, carer Jan John and community psychiatric nurse Wendy Pearson from the Cynon Valley Older Persons Mental Health Team.

Dementia cafes are described as giving people with dementia, their families and carers the opportunity to meet in a friendly and relaxed environment where they can share experiences and provide support for each another.

Helen Abberley, location manager for the Alzheimer's Society, hopes the new cafes will be as successful as one set up in Merthyr Tydfil three years ago, which regularly attracts between 40 and 70 attendees.

"We know we're making a difference and we hope the cafes in Rhondda Cynon Taf will help Alzheimer's sufferers and their families to feel supported and enjoy life," she said.

"I recently saw one lady in town. She has moderate dementia and often doesn't recognise family members.

Image caption The first of the new dementia cafes will meet on Monday

"She has attended the cafe in Merthyr. She hadn't been for a little while but when she saw me she recognised me from the cafe immediately and smiled.

"It had brought back happy memories for her."

"People can feel very isolated when they first get a diagnosis of dementia - they can feel as if they've got nothing to look forward to," she added.

"By establishing dementia cafes we're helping sufferers and their carers to lead fullfilled lives, feel part of their community and most importantly to be themselves in a relaxed and supportive environment."

There are currently 750,000 people with dementia in the UK and numbers are set to rise to one million by 2025.

Rhondda Cynon Taf councillor Mike Forey said: "The council is pleased to support such an innovative scheme which will allow people who have dementia and carers the opportunity to come together to share their experiences, thereby helping to overcome many of the problems they face on a day-to-day basis because they can advise one another.

"Such a support mechanism is incredibly important for the many carers in Rhondda Cynon Taf and we look forward to the positive impact the Dementia Cafes will have on the lives of very many residents."

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