Selkirk dementia cafe now open

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Borders College students, local young people and health experts have come together to provide a very special cafe and drop-in centre in Selkirk.

The students along with members of Rowland’s youth facility and Selkirk and NHS Borders MHOAT (Mental health Older Adults team) which provides a community-based mental health service for people who have dementia, are working together to provide a cafe and drop-in centre for people living with dementia, carers, family and friends at Rowland’s in Selkirk every month.

People can meet for a morning coffee with scones on the second Tuesday of every month from 10am at Rowland’s café. Members of the MHOAT (Central) team will be on hand to give advice and the venue will also have a range of information available about dementia.

The Board of Directors at Rowland’s are happy to provide the venue whilst the Access Department at Borders College, Options for Learning students, who already provide a lunchtime service, are happy to provide an additional coffee morning service.

Students from the Access Department will run the café and although it will be quite a challenge for them opening for both coffee and lunch, it will test their skills and will also help them better understand the needs of those who are living with dementia.

NHS Borders Community Psychiatric Nurse, Yvonne Killean explained about the purpose of providing this service: “Dementia cafes are run in various locations throughout the Borders.

“Their main purpose is to offer an informal, pop-in venue for people who are living with dementia, their family and carers and anyone who is worried that they or a loved one might be developing symptoms of dementia to meet with each other, as well as members of our team, in order to get advice, support and information about the condition.

“Rowlands cafe is an ideal venue for a dementia cafe, being friendly, comfortable, central and easily accessible.”

According to the charity, Alzheimer Scotland, dementia cafés provide a safe, comfortable and supportive environment for people with dementia and their carers to socialise.

Stephen Fox, project manager with Alzheimer Scotland in Kelso, told us: “Dementia cafes allow those with dementia and their carers to set their own agenda and gives them the opportunity to talk about things they need without having their own personal stories interrupted. And it provides the rest of us with the chance to listen to them.”