The IW Alzheimer Café, set-up to provide support for those with Alzheimer’s Disease, has been presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service by the Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Susie Sheldon, at a ceremony at Northwood House on Wednesday.
Susie Sheldon said: “The Alzheimer’s Café is the most fantastic organisation, which does so much for so many people. It’s like having an arm around your shoulder. It’s the community looking after its own.
The Alzheimer’s Café runs eight cafés on the Isle of Wight: three in Newport and one in Ryde, Totland, Ventnor, Sandown and Cowes. The IW Observer spoke to Maggie Bennett, CEO of IW Alzheimer Café.
First, we asked Maggie how it felt for the Café to receive the prestigious award. Maggie said: “We were overwhelmed to be nominated. We do this on a voluntary basis because we feel passionate about it. The work of our volunteers is phenomenal: they never let us down.”
We then asked Maggie what the Alzheimer Café can do to help those afflicted by the disease and their families.
Maggie said: “An Alzheimer Café has the role of providing education and peer support. We focus on the psychological and emotional impact of diagnosis, and how it affects both the person with the disease and those around them. Knowledge and understanding of the disease can help ease frustrations. Our key words in working with Alzheimer sufferers are: “Educate, engage and enable”.
When asked what can be done to help prevent dementia, Maggie said: “Staying healthy, both physically and mentally, is the key to avoiding dementia.”