IW’s Alzheimer’s Café Daily is first in the UK

By Tilly Walder May 17, 2024

On Monday the Alzheimer Café Daily, the first of its kind in the country, was opened by specialist dementia consultant, Dr Gemma Jones who introduced the concept of Alzheimer cafés to the UK, and local campaigner, Maggie Bennett, at Parklands in Cowes.

The Alzheimer Café Daily welcomes anyone affected by dementia, including individuals before and after receiving a diagnosis. Families, carers, and healthcare professionals are invited to socialise, learn and relax in a friendly and welcoming environment, where everyone is ‘in the same boat’.

Maggie first set the ball rolling in 2008 when she said: “I would love to have a framework for dementia care and education that could be shared by all of the Isle of Wight, including professionals, care and service providers, family and friends, carers, volunteers, Isle of Wight Council and NHS staff.”

Since then, Maggie and her husband, Nigel, have broken the record for the least time taken to set up an Alzheimer café, achieving it in under five months, including finding a venue, local publicity, fundraising, and finding and teaching volunteers. Maggie became a trustee of Alzheimer Café UK in 2013, and in 2018 she and Nigel visited Vancouver with Dr Jones to set up the first Alzheimer Café on the west coast of Canada.

During Covid, everything got suspended, except Maggie’s vision. Coming out of Covid, she decided she wanted to set up an Alzheimer’s Café that would open every day. Her vision became reality on Monday.

There are plans to hold 16 services at the centre, including well-being clubs and dementia education courses, a base for IW Carers, rooms for visiting visiting professionals, workshops, gym areas, massage, beauty treatments, as well as rooms to rent. Artificial Intelligence chatbot Dani, will also be available for visitors to obtain information from.