DEMENTIA SUPPORT IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
The Memory Tree CIC is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 by Dr Elizabeth Anderson to bring the knowledge she built up about dementia during her academic career direct to the community.
We are based in Shipley, West Yorkshire and at present we have 5 Memory Clubs for local families affected by dementia operating in 5 communities within the Bradford Metropolitan District, These are at: Shipley, Idle, Keighley, Low Moor and Burley-in-Wharfedale.
We are proudly supported by:
What is a Memory Club?
Our Memory Clubs run on a ‘Time Together – Time Apart’ model which was born out of consultation with family carers who told us that what they particularly wanted was a local place where they could go together with their loved one but still get some time apart.
Our meetings last for between 1.5 to 2 hours; during the first half we all enjoy informal chat together over a cup of tea and refreshments, but in the second half we divide into two groups so that structured Memory Support sessions, based around reminiscence, simple activities and singing, can be enjoyed by the people with dementia, whilst the carers retire to an adjacent room for a meeting chaired either by Elizabeth or a trained volunteer (often a former carer) where they can share experiences and advice with one another in comfort and confidence.
Our Memory Clubs are run by local volunteers and former carers, supported by Elizabeth, Bob and Andrea at The Memory Tree office.
How often do Memory Clubs meet?
Memory Clubs meet twice a month – see Our Meetings page for full details of all our venues and meeting patterns.
Who is a Memory Club for?
A Memory Club is for the person with dementia to come with their carer to find support, advice and companionship in their local community. We are unable to take people with dementia on their own unless the dementia is very mild and we have had a conversation with the main carer first, either in person or on the phone. Memory Clubs are best for people in the mild to moderate stages of dementia.
Because our groups are run by local volunteers, who are not trained to meet complex care needs around moving and handling or personal care, this can limit our ability to support people safely in the more advanced stages of dementia. In general we have been able to support people into the more advanced stages if we have built up a relationship with them and the carer during the early years of the condition, but if people first come to us when the dementia is advanced this is much more difficult. Thus, we advise people to come to a Memory Club sooner rather than later in the condition – the best time to join is the time when you don’t need it yet.
People with severe sensory impairments, or severe anxiety/depression, in addition to the dementia may find it hard to settle into a Memory Club because our activities revolve around talking together in small groups of between 6 to 12 people, so we may not to be able to meet the needs of people with these additional challenges.
How do I join?
If you think a Memory Club might be for you and you would like to find out more then please telephone Elizabeth on 01274 583364 or email: email@example.com to arrange a trial visit.
Can I help?
If you are a potential volunteer and would like to get involved then Elizabeth would like to hear from you – please contact her using the details above. We are also in need of financial help to keep our Memory Clubs running – please go to Support Us to find out how you can give.
Dr Elizabeth Anderson trained as a research psychologist, specialising in dementia in the late 1990’s when she completed her doctorate at the University of Oxford. Prior to founding The Memory Tree she worked as a Lecturer in Dementia Studies at the University of Bradford (2002 – 2008) and then as a freelance Dementia Care Trainer (2008 – 2011). Elizabeth was motivated to leave her professional work because she felt there was a lack of knowledge in local communities that was contributing to people feeling under-confident when it came to supporting their neighbours or friends living with dementia.
To find out whether she could use her knowledge to help Elizabeth worked voluntarily in her local community during 2011 to meet people with dementia and their carers, find out about their needs and the gaps in local service provision; the main gap was for what we have called a Memory Club – a place where the person with dementia and the carer could go together but still get some time apart.
Bob has been working alongside Elizabeth as a volunteer since 2011. He is the lead for the Memory Support programme. Bob does a number of other voluntary roles with older people in the Bradford area, including the Home from Hospital scheme run by Carers’ Resource and being a volunteer driver for the Volunteer Centre Bradford.
Andrea has been a volunteer since 2014 and agreed to become our third director in 2015. Andrea’s main role is to help with fundraising, planning and local engagement and she helps out at Clubs as and when she is needed.