September is World Alzheimer’s month. To mark this month, and continue to raise awareness around Alzheimer’s, dementia, and memory loss in BME communities, a member of our BME Dementia Service has put together a short blog around their experiences with the group.

During the pandemic, in September 2020, I read an online article about a café group in Leeds for South Asian elders who had Dementia.

Noting the name of the coordinator who convened this group, Ripaljeet Kaur, and the fact that this café, focusing on shared memories of music, was now online, I got in touch.

Mum had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s just before the pandemic began. We were on our own.

Ripaljeet welcomed us to join the group, and it was such a life-line for us in those isolated months, where we were grappling with a diagnosis mum had not wanted to know.  “In India,” she said, “people just grow old with their family.  Sometimes they lose their memory, but nobody makes a fuss.  Everyone just carries on living together, out of love.”

We followed her lead.  It was amazing to see and feel her response to the music sessions, and as carers, it reduced some of the shock, to see community members who looked and sounded like us on the video calls.  Everyone was so caring, and kind.

Thank you so much for inviting us to join you all.  I will never forget it.

If you would like support from the BME Dementia Service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

 Address: Touchstone Support Centre, 53-55 Harehills Avenue, Leeds, LS8 4EX