Lisa was invited by the Rotary Club of Barnet to Speak about Dementia and how Dementia Club UK helps sufferers and their carers. This was held at the Old Fold Golf Club in Barnet.

Today's session was led by Annette and Tija. This was a busy and informative session and was attended by over 40 people including three volunteers and Dr Angela.

The theme for today was "You Are What You Eat." We talked about healthy eating habits, what items to include in a healthy, balanced diet, how to use herbs and spices to improve the flavour of food and reduce salt intake. Potted herbs brought in by Dr Angela had been placed on the tables and members were asked to identify the herbs and tell us how they used them.

"You are what you eat" at Dementia Club UK

We also looked at fluid intake and the need to avoid being dehydrated. The signs and effects of dehydration were discussed.

Members were asked to name fruits and vegetables using every letter of the alphabet as a guide. Jokes involving food were shared, followed by a quiz based on food. Mealtimes were discussed, stressing the need for carers to make this a special time for the person living with dementia so that they look forward to their meals.

Food labelling was discussed and items were passed around to demonstrate what to look out for as guidelines to buying healthy items from the supermarket. Members found this awareness useful. It was a highly informative session and members were enlightened about healthy eating.

This was followed as usual by some gentle exercises led by Tija connecting to the main theme of today. Tija went onto to show the members that not only what they eat but also how they feel effects their digestion and health of their vital organs assisting their digestion.

She did some asanas to improve digestion and lower the stress level (which are yoga exercises/poses to improve the bowel movement and lower the stress level). Studies of Eastern medicine show that emotions, such as sadness, anger and worries have a significant effect on the gallbladder, liver, spleen and stomach function, which are the main organs when it comes to digestion. If and when it gets disturbed all the waste products, toxins that should be eliminated daily stay in the body, which can potentially lead to series of diseases (colon and breast cancer, gallbladder stones, hypertension, high ldl cholesterol etc).

Carers are going through a lot of stress and are therefore are in danger of developing diseases mentioned above. Tija also did 3 exercises at the beginning to encourage activation of the hemispheres on both sides of the brain, which is recommended daily for both the carers and the sufferers. She showed the members 3 acupressure points that might help with upset stomach.

At the end of the exercises we played a game. Tija brought dried mint from her garden, dried camomile and cardamom pods. She went around and sprinkled some of it on their hands or just to smell the bag. Then they had to guess the herb's name. Everyone wanted to participate and were curious about the smell.

We had a very successful Dementia Club UK official launch of its 5th new venue and new partnership with Rotary of Golders Green on Monday 13th March 2017.

Over 70 people attended which included many members of Dementia Club UK, volunteers and some special guests. The launch was opened by the Mayor of Barnet Cllr David Longstaff and was also attended by Mr Nigel Wray Chairman of Saracens who is a major sponsor for Dementia Club UK.

In the photo from the left to right is the President of Rotary Club of Golders Green Mr Martin Schramm, Mr Nigel Wray Chairman of Saracens, the Mayor of Barnet Cllr David Longstaff, Cllr. Lisa Rutter Chairman/Trustee of Dementia Club UK and Mrs Valerie Chodosh past President of Rotary Club of Golders Green.In the photo from the left to right is the President of Rotary Club of Golders Green Mr Martin Schramm, Mr Nigel Wray Chairman of Saracens, the Mayor of Barnet Cllr David Longstaff, Cllr. Lisa Rutter Chairman/Trustee of Dementia Club UK and Mrs Valerie Chodosh past President of Rotary Club of Golders Green.

Dementia is growing as we all live longer this is affecting not only the sufferers but also the carers and their families. Dementia is a cruel and terrible disease. Dementia Club UK provides respite for the sufferers and carers and families. One of the things that differentiate us from other dementia cafes is that we do exercises and various activities which have been very popular with members and has made a real difference to their lives.

Ionian Quartet limbering up ready to play some excellent background music
Ionian Quartet limbering up ready to play some excellent background music

Although all of the Dementia Clubs UK run similarly, this venue will also be an ‘Outreach Location’ and will provide specialist advice to carers from Barnet Carers which includes medical advice by Dementia Club UK’s own GP doctor. This new partnership is an exciting venture and Dementia Club UK is looking forward to developing similar partnerships with other Rotary Clubs to expand its services.

Our Patron Theresa Villiers MP for Chipping Barnet said;

"I would like to send my best wishes to Dementia Club UK and the Rotary Club of Golders Green as you launch what I am sure will be a successful partnership. I hugely admire the work done by Lisa Rutter and Dementia Club UK, bringing support to many families in Barnet. I warmly welcome the commitment by Golders Green Rotary to be part of the Dementia Club success story."

We had over 30 members again today.

Kevin one of the volunteers who comes with his wife Olivia and his mother in law Mable took the activities part of the session today. He first played chicken charades which was very funny and then played Family Fortunes which again members really enjoyed.

Kevin playing the game 'Chicken Charades' with volunteer Melvyn
Kevin playing the game 'Chicken Charades' with volunteer Melvyn

The session then followed with poetry by Cllr John Hart who read some well known poems and also read one in French. Everyone enjoyed the poetry.

Cllr John Hart reading some French poetry
Cllr John Hart reading some French poetry

I took the opportunity to also talk to members about special religious holidays on Sunday 12th March. I told them about Purim which is a Jewish celebration where people wear fancy dress and drink lots of alcohol and Holi which is a Hindu celebration where people shower each other with coloured water and red and green powder. I also talked about the meaning of Lent which is observed by fasting 40 days and how with the Greek Orthodox religion we have the painting of eggs at Easter.

The last part of the session we had singing and also played catching the ball and then finished off with 5 minutes of stretching exercises and a 5 minute general discussion.

Thank you to Melvyn and Dr Angela our volunteers for their help at the session today and thank you to Olivia one of the carers for assisting.

This was the first session run by the volunteers at Sha'arei Tsedek. Our thanks to Gilder, Stephen, Justine, Judy, Keith and Dot. To commemorate this beginning new table cloths were purchased which all members appreciated.