People arrive and we all have drinks and biscuits (or maybe cake if there is a birthday!), whilst chatting with each other or some of the volunteers. We have music playing, and reminiscent books on Bradford, Yorkshire, childhood memories or general books of interest. We may have a quiz or a short game of bingo.
After 30-40 minutes we split into two groups, with carers being supported by a specialist in dementia care. Here there is time to talk and discuss issues together or information may be provided.
Those with memory problems will be in a different room with a dementia activity leader and the volunteers. For example, we have recently talked about spring and our memories of this time of year. We then planted some flowering plants for everyone to take home, and some to bring for following sessions to have on our coffee tables. On Shrove Tuesday, we discussed why we made pancakes, what we needed to make them and the sorts of fillings we liked, or what we put on them when we were young (instead of the chocolate spread our children like today!). We then had a pancake race, a pancake flipping contest, followed by eating some pancakes with a range of toppings.
We often sing, as music is so important for triggering memories, but at the Kirkgate Centre in Shipley, we are lucky enough to have Gina to come and lead singing with her guitar on the 4th Wednesday of the month. Even those who don’t want to, or cannot, join in singing enjoy adding to the music with some percussion!