Before coming to Touchstone, I was not unfamiliar with being around individuals living with dementia; my grandfather was diagnosed 5 years ago, and I have seen first-hand how his condition has progressed, and the effects this has had on him and other family members.
While my grandparents are regular attendees of the group, I had no idea what to expect! However, I was pleasantly surprised…
I was impressed with the variety of activities carried out each week, which were always engaging for the group members. These included participating in tabletop games, being taught how to use ipads, and helping to create a new website to increase the awareness of dementia.
My duties at the café included assisting with preparing and serving drinks and snacks, but were primarily focussed on assisting the attendees with activities. Doing this allowed me to gradually get to know the group members on a more personal level, as I learnt more about them through the group activities, and through the stories they told. I realised the importance of good communication and learnt how to adapt my communication accordingly to different group members when assisting them, allowing me to practice and improve my (slightly dusty) Punjabi!
I’m extremely thankful for this organisation, as I personally believe it has been hugely supportive to my grandparents’ lives, and others like them. Dementia is an extremely cruel disease where the people living with this disease slowly lose their identities. This organisation allows the people living with dementia to actively engage with each other and for their individual personalities to keep shining! An organisation like this not only helps raise the awareness of dementia in the community, but also provides a break for caring family members (like my grandmother) and allows them to connect with others in similar scenarios, helping to form support networks with each other.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to Ripal and Sam and that I’m extremely grateful for their efforts and for this opportunity. I hope to return to Touchstone soon!