More than a job
When our hosts welcome guests into their family homes and provide them with home-cooked food and a stimulating day of socialising, they obviously become fond of the people in their care.
Friendships blossom, especially after two years of twice-weekly visits with one host (this particular guest also enjoyed a third day per week with another host).
It is the nature of the job that some of our guests reach a stage where they need 24/7 care, but this doesn’t mean that friendships have to end. Our host Trudi enjoyed visiting one of her former guests, who has recently moved into a nursing home.
“She kept saying what a lovely surprise it was and that she couldn’t believe it. She looks healthy and her mobility has improved, and she is so happy. We had coffee and cake in the café and her son booked us in to have lunch with her, which was lovely,” Trudi said.
Marking a milestone
Jill may only have joined us a few weeks ago, but we always like to celebrate birthdays in style, especially milestones. As is her tradition, our Mannings Heath host Trudi pushed the boat out to make a special cake for Jill to enjoy together with her other guests.
We like to mark the occasion by sharing the wonderful and varied life stories of our guests. In Jill’s case, her marriage is a rather lovely love story. Growing up in New Cross, London, she first met her future husband George when she was just 12 years old and he was 16. They met again in 1965 and married in 1967, setting up home in Deptford near Lewisham.
In 1975, they moved to the countryside, near Rochester, Kent, before moving to Handcross in 2021 to live near their daughter. For many years while living near Rochester, Jill was part of a community of farmworkers, picking strawberries and apples. She also worked in office admin.
Jill and George have two children and five grandchildren.
Find out more about us
Living well with dementia – that’s the name of the free community event at The Bridge Leisure Centre in Broadbridge Heath near Horsham on Monday 13 November 10.30am-1pm.
Part of Self Care Week, it is an opportunity for anyone with dementia and their families to meet organisations and groups that provide support. Of course, Tapestry Day Club will be attending, so do please pop in to meet one of our founders, Anderley Wade.
New hosts, new areas!
We’re ever so chuffed to announce we are doubling our capacity. We can now offer day care in the comfort of our hosts’ family homes for many more people living with early-stage dementia, also in completely new areas.
It has been proven that regular social contact slows the progress of dementia. This is why we operate three days a week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – allowing friendships to flourish.
Our carefully vetted and fully trained hosts all share a love of entertaining. They provide a home-cooked, two-course lunch as well as optional memory-boosting activities tailored to the specific interests of the individuals within each group. And we can usually provide transport, too.
Our new hosts pass first aid training course with flying colours
All our new hosts have now completed their comprehensive training program, including the Emergency First Aid at Work, which everyone passed with flying colours. A big thank you to our superb instructor, Nikki McIvor from Purple Aid Training.
Another amazing home-baked cake!
The tall, gentle Graham enjoyed his 77th birthday celebrations with our Manning’s Heath host and guests recently. Trudi baked his favourite – a carrot cake – for the occasion.
Graham has lived with his wife of nearly 40 years, Susan, in Horsham for the past 30 years. Before that they lived for a short period in Saudi Arabia and to this day the couple enjoy travelling and going on cruises, particularly since his retirement in 2011.
During his career, Graham worked on aircraft as a mechanical engineer. He then changed over to working on machines for cancer treatment for Varian Medical Systems. His passion is aero modelling and he has created model aircraft capable of flying.
As someone who loves using his hands, Graham enjoys carpentry, gardening, cooking, music, singing, sewing – and jokes about how he would have liked to join the WI. In addition to that, he enjoys playing pétanque every week with the Horsham & Shipley Community Project.
Tapestry Day Club’s host Trudi has had the pleasure of his company on a weekly basis for more than a year now.
Why exercise is the best medicine
Scientists believe that a hormone released during exercise helps protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
A team at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found that the hormone irisin, which is made by muscles during exercise and helps regulate glucose and fate metabolism, reduces the sticky amyloid plaques that stop brain cells from communicating.
The researchers discovered that irisin tells immune cells in the brain to produce neprilysin, an enzyme which breaks down amyloid.
Not only does it show how exercise can be an effective way to prevent dementia, but also the findings could lead to new strategies to treat Alzheimer’s.
Another completely separate study recently published in the journal Jama also suggests that older adults (60-plus) who spend 10 hours a day or more sitting or being inactive may be at increased risk of developing dementia.
Why is there still shame?
It was announced recently that another high-profile public figure, Ken Livingstone – controversial former Labour MP, head of Greater London Council and mayor of London from 2000 to 2008 – is living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Aged 78, he has officially retired from public life. The news comes after journalists Fiona Phillips and Alastair Stewart decided to share their struggles with the disease earlier this year, Fiona aged just 62.
We at Tapestry Day Club are so grateful to them and their families for their openness about this disease as we see many people living with dementia who are embarrassed by their illness and live in denial. This only adds stress.
It has been established that it is possible to reduce the risk of developing dementia and slow down its progress through lifestyle. Socialising, engaging with other people, is so important, which is why we do what we do; providing day care in a family home in a small group, so our guests can build lasting friendships.
We’ve surpassed our record again!
Tapestry Day Club has provided just shy of 3,000 hours of “me time” for the carers of older people living with early-stage dementia or in social isolation in the most recent financial quarter. This sets a new record of hours of respite we’ve provided to carers in any quarter since launching in 2019.
Our north Horsham-based host – known as Metronome Kate (pictured with one of her guests) for her unflappable nature – has provided a staggering 1,092 hours just on her own by working three days a week.
Two other hosts – based in Storrington and Beare Green – have increased the number of club days they run and also built up the number of guests they welcome into their home – on some days to the maximum of six.
Even our newest host in Ditchling has facilitated 132 hours, despite having three weeks off, working once a week and providing day care for two guests.
We are about to train several new hosts, which will increase the areas we can provide support for. The four confirmed so far are based in East Grinstead, Hassocks, Southwater and Broadbridge Heath. So, if you know anyone in these areas who might benefit from our club, please pass on our details.
Our host in Storrington, Katie, managed to turn a near baking disaster into a delectable triumph of a birthday cake for our guest Sandy, who recently celebrated her 74th birthday with other club members.
The cake wasn’t meant to be quite as enormous as it turned out as Katie explains: “I had a slight seepage out of my loose-bottomed cake tins as I only lined the bottoms, not the whole tin as instructed in Nigella’s Feast book for her chocolate Maltesers cake. So, I made two more sponges, hence there were four layers, not two. I sent all the guests home with two more slices!”
As a former primary school teacher and with a positive, can-do attitude, the story behind the epic cake was much appreciated by Sandy – as was the cake, of course. Having raised four daughters with her late husband Howard and with four grandchildren, she knows all about the challenges that can occur in the course of making someone’s day special.
Wishing you many more happy birthdays, Sandy!
Adding to life’s rich tapestry
Because of our name, Tapestry Day Club, some people – not entirely unsurprisingly – assume our guests actually make a physical tapestry.
Of course, we would do this if any of our guests wanted to, but so far, the closest activity a couple of our guests currently enjoy is knitting and crocheting. These ladies attend our Manning’s Heath club days and are absolute experts.
How can we live longer better?
The United Nations decided to designate 1 October as International Day of Older Persons back in 1990 to respond to the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population.
Globally, babies born in 2022 are expected to live 71.7 years on average, that is 25 years longer than those born in 1950.
The number of older people in the world – defined as 65+ – tripled from 260 million in 1980 to 761m in 2021. Between 2021 and 2050, the global share of the older population is projected to increase from less than 10% to around 17%.
However, in Europe and Northern America, it is projected to reach a staggering 27% as these areas have the oldest populations. In a world of eight billion people, this means there will be twice as many people aged 65+ than children aged under-five.
This year’s UN theme is to fulfil the promises of the milestone document in the history of human rights adopted 75 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to its latest review, age-based discrimination in institutions, attitudes and practices continues to be rampant.
Systemic and structural barriers often exist for older people in the context of work, standards of living, learning opportunities and access to services and resources because of ageist attitudes, discriminatory laws and policies, underfunding and lack of accessibility and affordability among others. These can lead to neglect, abuse and serious health issues; hence the United Nations is urging the world to change the way you think about age.
For more information about the UN’s work to improving the standard of life for older people, visit:
Pru & Me by Timothy West
This brand-new book is a heart-warming, first-hand account of one of the most celebrated partnerships in the history of British entertainment, the 60-year marriage of actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales.
It also recounts the day Timothy realised something was wrong with Pru and how it took another 12 years for her to be diagnosed with vascular dementia, a common form of dementia caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.
Timothy actually charts the course of their whole lives, from the years before they met, to their secret courting and marriage. He tells the tale of their journey to establish themselves at the heart of British theatre, television and film across 70 years, most notably in Fawlty Towers and Brass.
Pru & Me also recounts their later blaze of glory. First aired in 2014, Channel 4’s Great Canal Journeys introduced the world to the real Tim and Pru. Here, the couple charmed the nation while talking frankly about Pru’s struggle with dementia.
The book is full of funny, poignant, jaw-dropping and occasionally painful stories. All in all, despite the reality of the situation and challenges, it is an uplifting story of how they have adapted and their bon ami has seen them through some difficult times.
Pru & Me by Timothy West (Penguin Michael Joseph, £22) is for sale on 28 September.
To read Daily Mail’s extract from the book, visit https://mol.im/a/12497839
You have a one-in-five chance of developing this
Today, 21 September, is World Alzheimer’s Day. It was launched in 2012 because, on average, two out of three people globally have little or no understanding of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
So here are 10 facts:
- Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that impairs memory and other mental functions.
- Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia.
- Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of progressive conditions that affect the brain.
- There are more than 200 types of dementia.
- Nearly one million people in the UK are living with dementia.
- This figure is expected to rise to 1.6m by 2050.
- There are 12 risk factors which affect your chances of developing this disease (see our post from 1 September).
- It is estimated that you can reduce your risk of developing it by as much as 40% through your lifestyle.
- Dementia cost the UK economy an estimated £25 billion in 2021.
- There are many individuals and organisations, such as the Tapestry Day Club, who are working hard to make dementia care more humane, to maintain the quality of life of those living with this disease for as long as possible, to enable them to continue to live independently rather than on a closed dementia ward in a nursing home.
Why you should listen to your body
Alastair Stewart, who led ITV’s news coverage for 35 years and is Britain’s longest-serving newsreader, recently revealed on GB News that he has been diagnosed with early-onset vascular dementia.
In the in-depth interview, Alastair, 71, talks openly about how he started to feel “discombobulated” when doing simple tasks around the house about six to nine months ago.
He urges anyone who thinks something might be something amiss with them to go and see their GP. Brain scans revealed he had suffered a series of minor strokes called infarct strokes in the past, of which he was completely unaware. The cumulative effect of these are believed to be the cause of his dementia.
“I wasn’t becoming forgetful, but things like doing your shoelaces properly – that’s how I wear these lovely moccasins now – making sure your tie was straight, remembering that the call time for your programme is four o’clock and not five o’clock, not turning up early or late, and stuff like that.”
He has made changes to his lifestyle, including giving up smoking and increasing his exercise, taking his dogs for longer walks – “There are bits and pieces you can do to stop it getting worse” – to keep his blood pressure down, as high blood pressure tends to be the main cause of the types of strokes he has suffered.
An intrepid traveller
The name Tapestry Day Club was created to encapsulate the idea that everyone has a life story, a rich tapestry. And our guest Susan – who recently celebrated her 87th birthday with our host Kate and other guests in Horsham – is the perfect example of that.
Born in Liverpool, Susan grew up as an only child, her younger brother having died in childbirth. She went to Edinburgh University to read English and initially found work at Liverpool University Press. She moved to London to join the Foreign Office to work in the information research department, where she remained for 10 years.
She met her Syrian husband in London. They lived in Beirut for a short while and Saudi Arabia for a few years, something her sons, Francis and Zafer, consider particularly heroic as a western woman in the 1970s, especially as they were living outside the ex-pat compounds.
They returned to live in Wimbledon and Sue moved to Horsham more than 30 years ago, after her sons left for university. It was her interest in family history and the fact her ancestors had lived there that led her to choose Horsham. Sue’s interest in Horsham history has led her to annotate more than 20 books on the subject.
Sue lives on her own with her beloved black-and-white cat Doppie and enjoys twice-weekly visits to our club.
Working on dementia diagnosis
It is exciting to read that £1.9m funding has been granted for an innovative new app to monitor brain health in older people.
The app, designed by researchers at the University of Exeter and King’s College London in partnership with the NHS, will do this through regular cognitive tests, including puzzles and games, which will be able to alert GPs to signs of dementia. It also provides users with brain training to help them maintain brain health.
Dementia diagnosis is difficult for so many reasons, especially as the person themselves is not always aware of it, particularly at the beginning of the illness.
Dr Anne Corbett (pictured), University of Exeter associate professor of dementia research and lead of the PROTECT study, which aims to understand how brains age and why people develop dementia, said: “We know that 99% of people with early signs of problems with their memory and brain health are not seen by a doctor. Yet these are the people who will benefit the most from early assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Computerised tests of brain health are far more sensitive and accurate than traditional paper-and-pencil tests and using an app means we can reach large numbers of people in an affordable way.
“This programme of research is a major step forward towards better brain health for older adults, harnessing the best technology to support people and doctors alike. It will give us vital information about how to fill the current gaps in healthcare in ageing and provide a valuable new tool to improve health and wellbeing for older adults in the NHS.”
For more information about PROTECT and to join this major study, click https://www.protectstudy.org.uk/
Another birthday, another amazing cake!
We really are in the midst of birthday season here at Tapestry Day Club and our hosts have been busy creating some incredible cakes. This time it was Alan’s turn. He celebrated his 76th birthday with our host Katie in Storrington and other guests recently.
A gentle and unassuming man, Alan grew up with his brother in West Yorkshire. He studied geography at Goldsmiths, University of London. He then went on to work in retail for most of his life, joining Harris Queensway in his twenties, which at the time was a huge empire that specialised in the sale of carpets and furniture. It was a pioneer of out-of-town shopping and one of the first retailers in the UK to sell directly to customers from a warehouse.
Alan has done a lot of travelling since meeting his wife Denise 16 years ago, mostly through House Exchange. For their first exchange, they spent six months in Tasmania looking after two ponies.
These days Alan enjoys gardening and watching rugby, tennis and cricket as well as quiz shows. According to our host Katie, he excels at crosswords and puzzles, and entertains everyone at the club with his great sense of humour.
Anyone for tennis?
It’s our second birthday celebration in just one week. Our lovely guest Peter, who recently turned 88, also has a fascinating background.
He started out as a telephone engineer, but was always a keen sportsman. He changed career by joining the Beds School of Tennis, receiving his professional coaching registration in his twenties. He set up Tennis Coaching International and travelled extensively. One of the highlights of his career was playing at Wimbledon in the final of the 2010 under-75 veterans, where he lost to the no 2 seed.
Peter lives with his wife Pam, whom he met in 1960, and they’ve been married for nearly 60 years. They have raised three children and have six grandchildren. Both daughters live overseas – Suzanne in Spain and Louise in the US – while Christopher lives nearby.
The good old days
That reminiscing can help reawaken the memory of someone with early-stage dementia? And did you know that your local library gives you access to more than 200 reminiscence packs, with subjects ranging from 1940s to schooldays and washdays?
Many older people find reminiscing enjoyable as it allows them to look back on their lives and rediscover past experiences. It can help maintain self-esteem, confidence and a sense of self.
Our hosts often use these collections as a springboard to prompt guests’ memories and discussions during club days.
Here’s a link to West Sussex Libraries reminiscence collection page if you would like to borrow one for a family member: https://arena.westsussex.gov.uk/-/reminiscence-collecti-1
And here’s the link to the Surrey County Council version:
A man who has helped engineer our future…
Whatever your age, birthdays are the perfect opportunity to take a moment to reflect on your life.
One of our guests, Peter, who recently turned 77, has contributed to all our lives more than most. During his 40-year career as a chartered civil engineer, he not only oversaw the building of numerous harbours, roads and bridges, but also the Channel Tunnel and Thames Barrier.
He was born in Croydon and grew up in Leatherhead with his brother and sister. He studied at the University of Birmingham. Peter’s work took him and his family to Oman for eight years in the 1970s as well as Dubai for another eight years. Peter was in Hong Kong for the turnover to the Chinese. He returned to the UK in the late-1990s and related his overseas engineering experiences as a trainer to young engineers.
Peter has three children and eight grandchildren. His elder son lives in France, his daughter in Florida. He lives with his wife of 51 years and dog Suki, and has enjoyed weekly visits to our host in Beare Green for more than a year now.
Apart from reflecting, our host in Beare Green, Kerrie, baked him a chocolate cake to mark the occasion, which was much enjoyed by all the day’s guests.
How can you engage someone with memory loss?
If you are living with dementia or have a family member who is, it is all too easy to run out of things to say and do, but there’s no need to struggle.
There are so many activities that span huge age ranges and provide entertainment all round. Just because you have memory loss doesn’t mean you can’t play cards, for example. You may not be able to play bridge any more, but mental arithmetic is not usually affected.
Our inventive hosts report on the optional activities they offer for each club day they run. So, we decided to list all of them. And it totted up to an incredible 140! From bingo and dominoes to armchair exercises, tabletop curling, gardening, Jenga, music quizzes, odd-one-out card games to pasta making, gardening, riddles, scrabble and reading funny poems.
Here is a little video of our host in Ditchling, Liz, making pasta with one of her guests.
How you can help yourself
Many people still believe – wrongly – that dementia is a normal part of ageing. That’s why the theme for this September’s World Alzheimer’s Month is “Never too early, never too late”.
Although you are more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia the older you become, dementia is not a normal part of ageing.
Apparently, current thinking is that there are more than 20 genes which affect your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but they are estimated to account for less than 1% of dementia cases. So that’s great news.
The other great news is that although we can’t change our genes or stop ageing, there are changes that we can make to reduce our risk of dementia. And these changes may prevent or delay up to 40% of cases.
The 12 dementia risk factors are:
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Air pollution
- Head injury
- Infrequent social contact
- Less education
- High blood pressure
- Hearing impairment
There is lots more helpful information on the subject at alzint.org/get-involved/world-alzheimers-month/
Brenda’s birthday treat
Our guest Brenda celebrated her 79th birthday recently with our Horsham host Kate. It’s always fascinating to learn about the lives of guests and Brenda is no different.
She retired only three years ago, and spent 33 years working nights at the Tesco bakery in Broadbridge Heath. At one point she also worked in the theatre at Christ’s Hospital.
She lives with her husband and raised three children. She now has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Our wonderful hosts – who provide a home-cooked, two-course meal for their dementia guests up to three times a week – know a thing or two about entertaining. So we asked them for some of their guests’ favourite dishes.
Of course, puddings are always rather popular. It turns out that the Waitrose recipe for lemony almond and apricot cake is a bit of a hit.
Those guests that have memory challenges may not remember what they’ve eaten, but they do know whether it was tasty or not.
In case you’d like to try it, here is the recipe: https://www.waitrose.com/home/recipes/recipe_directory/l/lemony-almond-apricotcake.html
It’s National Dog Day on Saturday 26 August!
If you own a dog, you know exactly how much joy they bring to your life. Our four-legged friends also make a huge difference to the lives of those living with dementia. They improve self-esteem and confidence, and help older people be more interactive.
At Tapestry Day Club headquarters, we are all dog lovers and want to join in honouring our amazing companions. Several of our hosts have dogs, one of which is a therapy dog (he’s the dog pictured with his Mum Katie – a standard poodle called Enzo). Dogs reduce anxiety and improve mood as well as communication. They are also frequently a source of entertainment.
Of course, National Dog Day honours all dogs, ones that save lives, keep us safe and bring comfort. Dogs put their lives on the line for us every day. They protect families and homes, work as law enforcement partners detecting bombs and drugs, as assistants for people with health conditions and impairments as well as locating and rescuing victims of accidents and tragedy.
Visit nationaldogday.com, for more info.
Celebrating our hosts
It takes a special sort of person to invite a group of up to six complete strangers, older people, often with dementia, into your private family home for the day; to cook them a delicious two-course lunch as well as provide other refreshments, entertainment and transport.
But that is exactly what our totally incredible team of hosts do. Yes, they are well-paid, trained and supported. Even so, it takes someone with empathy, energy, sensitivity, compassion and can-do attitude.
Facilitating stimulating, small-group day care in such a comforting environment allows lasting friendships to form, it gives guests structure to the week and confidence, in addition to often much-needed “me-time” for carers. It means guests are able to remain living independently for as long as possible.
Storrington-based host Katie Bridge explains why she enjoys her job so much: “What I love most is that it’s both fulfilling and fun. Knowing you’re making a positive difference to the lives of your guests and their carers is so humbling and uplifting.”
Another host, Sara Short (pictured), from Tisman’s Common, adds: “When I tell people what I do, the most common response is ‘oh, how lovely’ and that’s exactly what it is. It’s more than a job. It’s about giving back to a community of people who deserve to get out and have a lovely day. I have the pleasure of being able to provide that. Their smiles at the end of the day are my biggest reward.”
And that says it all really.
Build a better life
It is well known that suitable activities and games can help a person with dementia to achieve purpose and enjoyment. They also encourage socialisation. If people don’t have the opportunity to interact socially with each other, particularly those living with dementia, they can feel lonely, isolated or depressed.
This is why our hosts offer a wide variety of games during Tapestry Day Club days. The best thing is that these can be enjoyed with family members and carers of pretty much any age.
Jenga is a particular favourite. It sounds easy but requires physical and mental skill. Players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower constructed of 54 blocks. Each block removed is then placed on top of the tower, creating a progressively more unstable structure. The concentration is palpable.
Can you smell the roses?
Dementia has been in the news once again. There is more research indicating that losing your sense of smell is a sign that you are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
I can’t remember ever having a good sense of smell, particularly since having Covid back in 2020. As my nan had Alzheimer’s and my dad was diagnosed a few years ago with early-onset, I do fear I am at high risk.
But how worried should you be and what can you do about it? It’s brilliant that all this research is being done, but having established that you are at increased risk of developing this devastating disease, what can you do? Apart from a healthy diet, keeping active and socialising, it appears to be in the lap of the Gods. I for one am keeping fingers crossed someone clever somewhere in the world can find a way of staving off dementia successfully.
The latest study is published on neurology.org if you are minded to learn more.
As if you need an excuse…
This year’s Afternoon Tea Week, which celebrates the great British tradition of afternoon tea, takes place from 7-13 August. Venues across the UK will run a selection of exclusive discounts of up to 30% off afternoon tea. It’s the perfect excuse to catch up with loves ones over a cup of tea and some delicacies.
Of course, if you’re a guest of Tapestry Day Club, you enjoy afternoon tea each and every day you visit one of our clubs. Our hosts pride themselves on presentation, too.
If you would like to take advantage of Afternoon Tea Week offers and discounts as well as take part in the biggest ever survey to settle the “jam versus cream first” debate and be in with a chance of winning one of five afternoon tea for two vouchers, visit afternoontea.co.uk for more info.
How do you measure success?
Well, we’re celebrating! Because we have smashed our target of providing 10,000 hours of respite care in the past two years – by more than 3,000 hours! – and we have supported more than 100 families since launching in 2019.
As a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, we pride ourselves on helping people living with dementia and loneliness, but equally, possibly more important is the hours of “me time” we provide through our club to the carers of our guests. That’s why we started tracking just how many hours of respite care our amazing hosts facilitate.
When Tapestry Day Club relaunched after the Covid lockdowns, we provided 558 hours of respite care in the three-month period from July to September 2021. The data shows a steady, positive trajectory every quarter since then. However, in our most recent quarter, we surpassed ourselves – providing a staggering 2,730 hours!
Each time a guest attends a Tapestry Day Club, a carer will have a break of up to six hours. Looking after someone with dementia can be exhausting mentally and physically. It’s the repeated questions, finding something to talk about or do that won’t cause anxiety yet is engaging and stimulating. If you have ever looked after someone with dementia, you will understand how frustrating it can be and why this is how we measure our success.
What the carers say
“Tapestry has been a godsend for us. Mum loves it and can’t wait to go off with her host. Thank you for all the care and joy you are giving mum. She comes home so happy, and anything that has been bothering her seems to disappear.
Louise, daughter of a Tapestry Day Club guest
“Thank you for being the most wonderful lifeline for us. You are all the best thing that could have happened to Mum. She was so concerned at having to miss Tapestry. Isn’t that lovely, you have become Mum’s second family.”
Brenda, daughter of a Tapestry Day Club guest
Spread the word
Suitable activities and board games can help a person with dementia to achieve purpose and enjoyment. They also encourage socialisation. If people don’t have the opportunity to interact socially with each other particularly those living with dementia, they can feel lonely, isolated or depressed.
Over the next few weeks we will be looking at different activities offered by our hosts. All of which can be enjoyed with their families and carers.
Many of our hosts start their day with a group crossword, they are a fun and engaging way to keep the mind active and stimulated. Crosswords can help improve memory, concentration, and cognitive function.
Would you live in a care home?
And not just in a care home, but on a dementia ward? Well, that’s exactly what a 21-year-old Dutch nursing student did a few years ago. Tuen Toebes decided he wanted to experience the daily life of residents not as a nurse or carer, but as a housemate.
Three years on, his book The Housemates, is a number one bestseller in the Netherlands. His story is a heartfelt cry for change in how we care for older people.
He initiated Friday drinks, trips out and camping evenings. Then he reintroduced the small things in life which give us so much pleasure: a laugh, dance, cup of good coffee, a chance to sit in the sun. Tuen became aware of how society and the care system diminishes older people and particularly people living with dementia.
This is exactly why Tapestry Day Club was launched, to allow older people living with dementia to stay as long as possible in their own homes and continue to be a valued member of society.
Whatever your age, there’s nothing as precious as sharing a home-cooked meal, having a natter over a cuppa, listening to music and playing optional memory-boosting games in the company of friends. All this can be arranged for you in a private family-home environment and transport can usually also be laid on if needed.
I for one can’t wait to read The Housemates, which is on sale from 3 August at £12.99: https://septemberpublishing.org/product/the-housemates-pb/
Making birthdays special
Many happy returns from all of us at Tapestry Day Club to Bobby, who is celebrating her 97th birthday with her favourite cake, lemon drizzle, baked by our wonderful host Sara in Tisman’s Common.
Bobby has been a member of Tapestry Day Club for more than two years now and attends twice a week. She is a former nurse who served in the Queen Alexandra Nursing Corp and has raised four children.
Amazingly, she still lives independently in the same house she has lived in since 1959 – that’s an incredible 64 years! And our aim is to help her to stay living there for as long as possible.
Why you should have your hearing checked from the age of 60
Wearing a hearing aid can slash cognitive decline by half in people who are at risk, according to the latest and largest clinical trial, published in The Lancet. Not only that, but the Aging and Cognitive Health Evaluation in Elders (ACHIEVE) study shows that hearing loss is present in 65% of adults over the age of 60.
I have seen the difference a hearing aid has made to my dad, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s, but I had no idea that loss of hearing impacts dementia to this extent.
“Hearing loss is very treatable in later life, which makes it an important public health target to reduce risk of cognitive decline and dementia, along with other dementia risk factors such as less education in early life, high blood pressure, social isolation and physical inactivity,” said Frank Lin of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, and co-primary investigator of the ACHIEVE study at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Amsterdam.
Have you heard about the latest Alzheimer’s drug?
Following last week’s devastating news that journalist and broadcaster Fiona Phillips has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 62, it is so heartening to read that trials of the new drug, Eli Lilly’s donanemab, confirm it slows cognitive decline.
Several of Tapestry Day Club’s guests developed early-onset Alzheimer’s in their sixties, so any progress as regards research, treatment and awareness of this debilitating disease fills us with hope and excitement.
Do read BBC’s in-depth article about this trailblazing treatment and the effect it is having on one of the few patients in this country who is taking part in this global trial: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-66221116.
If you know an older person who would benefit from socially stimulating, small-group day support in a family home or if you need a break from looking after a person with early-stage dementia, please contact us on email@example.com.
Tapestry Day Club provides day care with a difference across Surrey and West Sussex.
The magic of music
Wow, Tony Christie – of Is This The Way To Amarillo-fame – has teamed up with Music For Dementia to rerecord Thank You For Being A Friend – featuring Sting and Nile Rodgers among other stars – to raise awareness of dementia and thank carers for their support. Tony, who turns 80 this month, revealed he is living with dementia earlier this year.
It means so much to have famous people involved in raising awareness of this cruel disease. Our hosts know exactly how powerful music can be and use it to help guests relax and engage during their Tapestry Day Club days.
Visit https://youtu.be/1tQrDI_neG0 to listen to the song.
Welcoming our new team member
We are very pleased to welcome to our team, Leslie Bliss, who will be helping us keep the wheels running smoothly at Tapestry Day Club. She has deep personal experience of supporting people living with dementia with an understanding of the challenges facing families. She is also an amazingly accomplished photographer so we are looking forward to sharing her photos of our guests and their hosts.
Inspiring Chelsea Flower Show garden
Out and about for Dementia Action Week
It’s Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week, so we’re out and about with our stand to help raise awareness. Do come and say hello if you’re near Godalming library between 2-4pm on Wednesday 17 May.
Then we will be in Horsham’s Swan Walk shopping centre 10.30am-4pm on Friday 19 May.
If you know anyone with early-stage dementia who might benefit from a social day out in a small group, please get in touch. Our hosts provide transport and welcome guests into their home for a two-course, home-cooked lunch.
We’re also looking to recruit more hosts in the Horsham area. If you would like a rewarding, well-remunerated part-time job, please get in touch.
We are very appreciative to SMART Cranleigh working with John, one of Memory Lane’s guest. John was diagnosed with Dementia in 2016 and he was keen to share his experiences of living with Dementia and the challenges he has to face day to day. All of us at TDC are humbled by his honesty and eloquence. He has helped us to have a far greater understanding as to how we may be better at supporting our guests and their carers and families.
Please do take a few moments to watch the video – Interview with John
Thank you Crawley Borough Council for funding our guests’ Christmas lunch during the week 19 – 23 December 2022. The funds will help towards an extra festive meal with all the trimmings plus crackers and party hats.
Thank you to the Co-Op for supporting Tapestry Day Club with a grant from their Co–op Local Community Fund. These funds will be used to support the community of Cranleigh.
We are delighted to be receiving funds from the Waverley Thriving Communities Commissioning Fund for the next 3 years. This has allowed us to increase our support in Waverley and we look forward to welcoming our guests from across Waverley Borough Council.
We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Age UK West Sussex Brighton and Hove and funded by West Sussex County Council in the deliver their Short Care Breaks to provide the opportunity for carers of people living with dementia and carers of frail older people to take some time for themselves, knowing the people they care for are in a safe, stimulating environment.
We have once again opened our doors which is very exciting and welcomed back a number of our guests. Equally we are getting lots of enquires to join our day clubs. At the same time, we have welcomed 4 hosts from all over Sussex and Surrey. Take a look at Our Team page.
November 2020 – April 2021
We have kept very busy over the last six months, supporting online and are coming to the end of our online tea parties which have been resoundingly successful, supporting over 30 people on either their own digital tablets or tablets loaned by us using National Lottery Funding. We have been delivering boxes of tea to door steps with a check in and chat from our baking hosts. Followed by a Zoom themed get together every week. Many of our guests struggle with memory issues associated with dementia, and the feedback from family and friends has been incredibly positive.
Even though our National Lottery Funding has come to an end, we will continue to offer online digital support to both carers and their loved ones going forward. We are now focussing on opening up our lunch clubs again and bringing people together face to face. Our small, intimate lunch groups have always been the core of our support for the socially isolated, those experiencing early stages of dementia and providing necessary respite care to the carers.
19 October 2020
We are thrilled to announce that we have received some very generous funding from The National Lottery Coronavirus Community Support Fund. This incredible grant will enable us to offer an introductory day rate of £50.00 which is a 30% reduction on our regular day rate. This offer is for limited period only and still includes transportation, refreshments, home cooked lunch and optional activities.
28 July 2020
We are delighted to be working closely with Horsham District Council and Waverley Borough Council in our mission to support the socially isolated, vulnerable elderly and those living with early stage Dementia. Their support has come in the form of both critical funding and guidance on how to connect with other support groups, voluntary action groups and Council teams to help expand the knowledge of our service offering across the West Sussex and Surrey areas.
14 July 2020
As soon as the Government guidelines allow for more than two households to meet indoors, we will be ready and excited to be reopening our lunch clubs and to welcome back our loyal guests and welcome new guests to our family. Our number one commitment remains the welfare of our community and our team as we take these first steps together.
After close and careful consultation, we’ve put in place measures designed to ensure the safety of our employees and our guests alike. This is our new “business as usual”, and we have carried out a full risk assessment for both our hosts’ and guests’ safety and well-being.
Please contact us if you would like to see our Risk Assessment : firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your support and commitment to working together to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Please remember your health and safety is absolutely paramount to us.
23 March 2020
Following the Government’s announcement on 23 March, Tapestry Lunch Club has had to suspend all its services with immediate effect. We are very sad that we are unable to continue in the current climate and we’d like to thank all those who have supported us. Please stay safe and follow all government guidelines.
12 March 2020
Tapestry Lunch Club takes the health and welfare of our guests extremely seriously. Following the Coronavirus outbreak, hygiene remains our priority. All ours hosts are qualified up to Food & Hygiene Level 2 and we have introduced a range of measures to protect our guests and hosts whilst minimising disruption and maintaining our high standard of service. We would like to reiterate that there are no known confirmed cases of Coronavirus within our hosts or guests.
We ask that, if you are showing any flu-like symptoms and have a lunch booked with us that you please inform Tapestry Lunch Club in advance who will look to reschedule your booking once your symptoms have passed. Please email email@example.com or by phone 01403 791020.
Please rest assured we are doing all we can at this stage to combat the threat of Coronavirus and will continue to monitor the situation and update you should our previous advice change significantly.
1 February 2020
Tapestry Lunch Club is now up and running and we have launched our day care service which includes a wonderful home cooked lunch and all transport. We have fully trained hosts in Billingshurst, Kingsfold, Cranleigh and Hove.
We are always looking to hire more hosts for this pilot phase, with the view to offering permanent employment on the back of it’s success. We are also looking for guests across West Sussex and Surrey areas.
Please get in touch through our contacts page if you are interested in hosting or know of anyone who would benefit from our Lunch Club offering