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At least four more memory cafes are opening in North Devon.
Memory cafes help dementia sufferers and their families and carers share experiences and information. They also give practical and emotional support.
It's reckoned in Devon more than 12,000 people have dementia and that number's expected to rise to more than 17,000 in 2021.
Here in North Devon we have cafes in Barnstaple, Great Torrington, Hatherleigh, Ilfracombe and South Molton. And more are opening by the New Year in Holsworthy, Bideford, Northam and Lynton and Lynmouth.
The cafes are run by trained volunteers, with the support of Devon Partnership NHS Trust’s community mental health team and other health and social care professionals, and usually meet monthly for a couple of hours, although some meet fortnightly.
Jenny Richards, who is responsible for dementia services for NHS Devon and Devon County Council, said: “Memory cafes are so important in helping people with memory problems or dementia.
“So far 150 memory café volunteers across Devon have received dementia awareness training with more planned this year. Two annual memory café network support events have also been held to share practice, experience and ideas. This is all part of NHS Devon’s dementia awareness strategy.
“The cafes give people the opportunity to meet regularly with other people in similar situations, many of who make new friendships and are therefore able to support each other outside of memory cafes as well."
Councillor Stuart Barker, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member responsible for adults social care, said:
“A great deal of work has been done in recent years to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers.
“Memory cafes, providing really meaningful support to people with memory related problems and their families, are continuing to increase in number.
“Authorities including Devon County Council and NHS Devon are working much more closely together to identify how they can provide better support to people with dementia, whether they are receiving care in hospital or at home. And support is also focusing on carers, the people providing care voluntarily to a friend or loved one with dementia.”
A Dementia UK report identified that one in 20 people over 65, and one in five over 80, are affected by dementia.
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