January 9, 2024

In the heart of the local community, the Dementia Cafe has once again continued to serve those who suffer from the incurable disease. This Cafe was inspired in aid of the Great Get Together as part of the Jo Cox Foundation.

Upon entering the cafe, visitors were greeted by a soothing ambiance designed to create a comforting atmosphere. The session was brilliantly led by Kam from John Ruskin College, who strongly believes that ‘understanding more about how we can manage our health and wellness better is an essential training skill everyone should have access to’. The main focus of her time was on Yoga.

The event consisted of a myriad of activities, in particular, techniques extrapolated from the spiritual discipline. Kam explained to participants the wondrous benefits of such simple techniques, as it can teach us so much about rebooting our energy levels, feeling happier, and managing stress and anxiety. This would lead to improving cognitive functioning in adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia. Yoga is used as an effective complementary health approach for enhancing general wellness.

Dawn, who attended the session with her mum for the first time, ‘really enjoyed being in an environment where her mum could feel free while she was also able to participate too’. Accompanied by her own daughter, it was lovely to see the three generations of her family in support of the Cafe.

In addition, Kam gracefully opened the discussion to allow for some of their health concerns to be expressed. This covered issues from changes in blood pressure to anxiety and side effects of medication, and all other symptoms associated with Dementia itself.

The session focused on four areas of wellbeing:

  • Breathing exercises to encourage good breathing habits.
  • Advanced breathing techniques help with clearing the chatter of the mind and helping to focus better, and we did this with Bee breathing!
  • The group was introduced to Ganesh Mudra, which helps build a feeling of confidence, emotional resilience, and boosts motivation.
  • Mindfulness, and quietening the mind with the sounds of Tibetan Singing bowls in the distance.

One of the cafe’s central features is its commitment to creating a supportive community. The involvement of carers, volunteers, teachers, and JRC Health and Social Care students sharing their experiences together was ‘the real reward of intergenerational collaborations’.

Inspired by the event, there was also tallk of expanding the cafe to Hamsey Green. As we look forward to our next event, the Dementia Cafe hopes to also host other engaging activities and events that cater to the cognitive and emotional needs of its visitors. In the words of Kam herself, ‘adult wellbeing is an important area of priority for Croydon residents and the collaborations across charities and educational institutions such as JRC are important in getting communities to work together to address the challenges and to have some fun together whilst learning more about how we can improve our health and wellbeing’.

JRC offers a number of adult and part-time colleges delivered at the colleges or within community settings contact www.johnruskin.ac.uk for more information.