On Monday 19th August a dementia café, specifically for the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets, celebrated Eid at the London Muslim Centre.
The event, organised by Alzheimer’s Society, Tower Hamlets Council and Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group, was attended by local residents living with dementia, their carers and family.
The event was opened by Councillor Sirajul Islam, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing of Tower Hamlet Council. Attendees also welcomed special guests and speakers, from Tower Hamlets Council Health and Wellbeing Ageing Well Team and an Imam of East London Mosque.
The café, also known as the Monday Memory Sitting café, is tailored for people living with dementia and their carers who are of Bangladeshi origin. The café is delivered in Sylheti and runs twice a month at the London Muslim Centre, in East London Mosque.
Run by Alzheimer’s Society staff and volunteers, the cafe provides an opportunity for people to socialise and get much needed face to face support. It provides people with dementia and carers a platform to talk openly about living with dementia within a relaxed and informal environment.
Attendees also hear from a variety of guest speakers including health and social care professionals. The café also provides seated exercises run by GLL to maintain physical activity.
Tower Hamlets resident Nozrul Islam cares for his mother who is living with dementia. Together they attend the Monday Memory Sitting café. Nozrul said: “My mum likes the exercise classes a lot. She likes the people, they’re of the same faith and they have similar problems so she connects with them.”
“I’d like to thank the whole team, they’ve done a good job and I want them to carry on doing a good job. The team have done an excellent and wonderful job. It makes a difference to the elderly generation and I can see the difference in my mum when she comes here. If that service wasn’t there I don’t know what would happen. She would be more isolated, stressed and she would be more down.”
With the Bangladeshi population making up almost one third of the demographic in the borough, Tower Hamlets council and Clinical Commissioning Group commissioned Alzheimer’s Society to deliver services that directly support this community.
This includes the Monday Memory Sitting café and two Bangladeshi and minority ethnicity (BAME) Dementia Support Workers. The Dementia Support Workers facilitate the Monday Memory Sitting café and provide one on one support directly within the community.
The event follows on from the council’s commitment to make Tower Hamlets a Dementia Friendly Community. There are more than 1,200 people living with dementia in Tower Hamlets
Creating a dementia-friendly community will help reduce stigma around the condition and enable people to feel confident, understood, supported and be a valuable part of their community.
Bill Gibbons Alzheimer’s Society Services Manager, said: “Support groups can make a huge difference to people’s sense of wellbeing and enable people affected by dementia to meet other people in a similar situation.”
“By providing an environment where individuals are able to reminisce with people from the same culture and who speak the same language, Alzheimer’s Society is helping to ensure that the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets are accessing the support that they need.”
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “Last year the council announced its commitment for making Tower Hamlets a dementia friendly borough”
“The dementia café is a way we are working in partnership with the NHS, Alzheimer’s Society, East London Mosque, volunteers, and staff to reach out to the borough’s Bangladeshi community and raise awareness and offer support to help local people with dementia live well.”
Tower Hamlets CCG mental health lead Dr Judith Littlejohns said: “The café provides a great opportunity for people living with or caring for someone with dementia to meet up regularly.”
“I’m delighted everyone enjoyed a fantastic event to celebrate Eid. Congratulations to everyone involved, including Alzheimer’s Society staff and dedicated volunteers.”