Dementia-friendly cookery & gardening groups

I have good days and bad days, but this is
a good day. And it’s lovely here. My name is Caroline Whiteman and I’m a community gardener and cookery leader for the
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership. Today we’re at the Garden House, in Brighton, and we are running our
dementia-friendly gardening group. So myself and a team of volunteers enable
participants to get involved with gardening activities that will be themed around the
seasons. The course is 12 weeks, three months. For some people who have gardened throughout their life and maybe live in a situation
where they can’t garden now, this group gives them the opportunity
to reengage those skills. Being in a beautiful green space obviously
has huge benefits for people anyway, but when people are experiencing issues around their memory, it’s a very non-judgmental place
where they can spend time. I come to the gardening group for my husband, and he has got vascular dementia. My favourite thing is the people, Caroline, Amanda… I can sit and relax and I know that he is
in safe hands, a safe place. When we moved here, and started coming to this garden, he started to see that still he is
capable of doing something, he feels that still he is useful. I really love the enthusiasm that arrives
when the participants start to get to know
one another and look forward to the group from week to week. I can sense how much they value
being together socially and they report back that it really enhances their day by coming to the group and they carry that feeling through the week and that’s one of the best things about the group. The idea of it and the way that it’s run,
is really, special. Today we’re in Hangleton, and we are running
one of our dementia-friendly cookery sessions. Each session we all come together as a group,
and have a cup of tea or coffee, and then we start to prepare the food together,
talk about what we’re going to be making and then make a lunch and
sit down at the end and all eat the food together. I’ve never cooked, in all my years, it’s quite
useful. I mean we’ve been here about 4-5 weeks now and you know, you meet different people
for starters. It’s quite interesting to do the cookery. We have such a laugh. The sessions are really sociable it’s a great time for people to catch
up whilst doing an activity. It’s very low pressure, so people are able to
relax into the session as they’re making the food. My name is Sheila Jennings, and I’ve come along with my husband Ken, because he has Alzheimer’s. Well Ken has really enjoyed it
so that makes it easier for me. And it’s just lovely socialising and doing things together with people. Everybody just mucks in and we all have a go at all sorts of things. I think it does help him, become more confident. Each time we come, we’re learning something more.
I enjoy thinking, I wonder what we’re going to do. You know, we have a good time. Probably the best thing about being involved in these cookery sessions is the fact that everyone always leaves with a huge smile on their face at the end. I can’t fault it, I love it in there.

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