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Care cafe provides a welcome break for carers

Caring for someone at home is a demanding and often lonely task and with an ageing population, it is a prospect faced by an increasing number of people.   Suffolk based care homes group Kingsley Healthcare has resolved to play its own small part in easing the burden by introducing new monthly Care Cafes in towns around the region.   The aim is to provide carers with an opportunity to meet up with people in the same position and share their problems, swap ideas or perhaps simply enjoy a chat over coffee and cakes.   They can treat the occasion as a welcome break from caring or, equally, come along with the person for whom they are caring.   The latest event – branded If You Care We Care – was launched at Woodbridge Lodge care home, from 10.30am to noon, on Thursday, May 25 by the new Mayor of Woodbridge Clare Perkins.   Describing the concept as a “marvellous idea”, she chatted to residents and visitors who were enjoying drinks and cakes on a patio in the Burkitt Road home’s picturesque garden.   She said that during her year in office she would be organising creative arts workshops for both elderly and young people, through a new Woodbridge Creative Arts Legacy Fund.   The home’s monthly Care Café would be an excellent venue for such workshops in the future, she added.   Woodbridge Lodge manager Paula Baker said she was proud to be launching the new initiative at her home.   “This is our way of saying, ‘if you care, we care’,” she said.   “You might work as a carer, care for a family member or just help out your neighbour by doing their shopping for them once a week. We want to say thank you to you all.   “The event will be on the last Thursday of every month. There will always be free tea, coffee and homemade cakes and in the summer months there will be a chance to enjoy the home’s magnificent garden.”   In future months, in addition to the mayor’s creative arts workshops, it was hoped to invite along representatives of relevant charities who would be able to offer advice to carers and signpost them to places where they could look for support.   Operations manager Gina Dennison said: “It is really important for our residents to still feel part of their community and this is a great way of bringing people into the home from the local area.”   Lilac Lodge care home in Gorleston Road, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, became the first Kingsley home to launch a Care Café – from 10.30am to noon on the last Friday of every month – back in March.   Lilac Lodge Manager Zena Stotter said: “The number of people caring at home for family members living with dementia is increasing year on year.   “That gave us the idea for this drop-in which has come at an opportune time because of the recent cuts to some services.   “The need for it is highlighted only too well by the case of one lady I spoke to at our first event. She told us how she only has four hours respite a week from caring for her husband with no family support locally.”   Kingsley aims to roll out similar events to other of its care homes around the country.   Source: Later in Life Magazine


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