Sidmouth dementia figures set to rise

Sid Valley Memory Cafe says dementia numbers set to rise to “staggering proportions”

Dementia sufferer numbers in Sidmouth has steadily increased during the year and is set to rise to “staggering proportions,” says Derek Eagles, chairman of the Sid Valley Memory Club, in his annual report.

He recalled that Mr Iain Tulley, chief executive of Devon Partnership NHS Trust, had disclosed there were 551 people in the area suffering the effects of dementia.

So why, he asked, did the Devon NHS even consider closing down Stowford Lodge?

Mr Eagles, who founded the Memory Cafe with the help of the town’s two Rotary clubs, together with two county grants, praised the town council’s lead in setting up a joint forum to consider proposals laid down by Mr Tulley before any decision was taken.

The aim of the caf�, one of 43 in Devon, was to provide an informal ‘drop-in’ centre where people with memory loss and dementia, together with their carers, could meet informally for stimulating and enjoyable activities so that living with memory problems was made easier.

Mr Eagles said the caf�’s 33 ‘fantastic volunteers,’ six of them trained facilitators, with another three soon to be trained, included past and present carers with a vast amount of knowledge regarding different types of dementia and memory loss, Parkinson’s and Altzheimer’s diseases.

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“The backbone of our caf�, however, must be the welcoming sign of a cup of tea or coffee when we get round the table for a chat,” he said.

“Thank you, ladies. You are the true professionals who provide the best service at no cost and always with a smile.”

Mr Eagles, succeeded as chairman by John Summerside, personally thanked Hilary Hatherley, chairman of Sidmouth Voluntary Services, for her help and support at Twyford House where the Caf�, with numbers steadily increasing, meets at 2.30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month.

In conclusion, Mr Summerside paid tribute to Mr Eagles for his painstaking and sterling work.

* Further information about membership and the role of Sid Valley Memory Caf� is available from Mr Eagles, call (01395) 542574.

Pictured: Derek Eagles, founder of the Sid Valley Memory Caf�, welcomes the new chairman, John Summerside, seated right.