The Blue Flamingo Cafe uses creative methods such as music, movement, and visual art to provide support to its members. Dementia is an illness that affects nearly 60 million people worldwide and is England's biggest killer. Many people with dementia are cared for by their loved ones who are most often not paid for what they do. Carers are often lonely and isolated. By providing a safe space which caters to those with dementia, we give carers a place to socialise in a warm, welcoming space. The Cafe promotes making connections. We connect carers with services in their community; connect creative practitioners with opportunities to share their talents with those who can benefit from them; we also promote connections between carers and their loved ones who have dementia or some other form of cognitive impairment.
What we'll deliver:
- Additional sessions to support carers
- Home visits where creative projects can be delivered on a one-to-one basis
- Provide respite care for carers so they can take advantage of our wellness programmes
- Provide more creative opportunities for those with dementia
Why it's a great idea:
As dementia advances, it can significantly impact ones ability to communicate with others, which can be heartbreaking for their loved ones and friends. This results in isolation and loneliness, which in turn leads to poor health (ie: depression, high blood pressure, inflammation in the body, stress, etc). Music, rhythm and tactile play are basic, core responses deeply rooted in all of us. Using these methods to help people communicate promotes healthier relationships with self and others. Many of our current members have told us that the Blue Flamingo Cafe is the highlight of their week and couldn't do without it. It helps them to feel connected and valued. By growing our services, we can reach more people, spreading positivity and hope to our ageing community. It's also a way to present new activities to peoples' lives which they might not otherwise engage in. Additionally, our projects also provide a revenue stream to creative practitioners, adding value to our community.
Steps to get it done:
- Provide weekly sessions to the community
- Provide transportation to those who would struggle doing so independently
- Hire creative practitioners to lead hands on art sessions
- Collaborate with other charities to build stonger ties in the community
Among the activities we already provide, we would like to launch intergenerational sessions in which children from the local preschools are invited to engage with our current members. We have started to secure resources toward that end which promote creative play, interaction, and communication. If we are to make an effective change in the area of dementia, it is essential we begin to educate children at a young age about the illness. In doing so, we break down stigmas around age and age-related illnesses. If we can begin to look at all members of our society as individual people, instead of placing them in categories, perhaps it can pave the way to us all ageing in a healthier way which is sure to lead to better outcomes for us all.