THE hidden tragedy of covid was the lives lost from the cancellation of key health support services and groups, many run by volunteers.
The Forget-me-not Cafe had to cancel its regular catch-ups at Fremantle Hospital because of the pandemic.
The volunteer-run cafe gave people impacted by dementia, including carers, a chance to catch up over a coffee in a non-judgemental and supportive environment.
Thankfully after a lengthy hiatus, the Cafe has now found a new home – Dome on the picturesque Riverside Road in East Fremantle – where it will hold its first monthly meeting on Friday (July 15) at 10am.
Forget-me-not café founder Angi McCluskey says they held Zoom catch-ups during covid, but not all members had internet access and there is no substitute for catching up in person.
“It is imperative for people living with dementia and their families to remain active members of the community, be accepted and celebrated for who they are in being given the opportunity to socialise in a safe, non-judgemental, public environment without feeling shunned or conspicuous for their sometimes unconventional behaviour and we trust the Dome may be such a venue,” Ms McCluskey says.
Aside from a good old chinwag, the Cafe has a variety of tactile tabletop activities including puzzles, magnetic shapes and blocks, colouring books, and robotic cats, dogs, puppies and kittens.
The Cafe recently received a community grant from the City of Fremantle to create a therapy doll library.
“Pet and doll therapy is most beneficial to people living with dementia,” Ms McCluskey says.
“It can calm, soothe and reduce anxiety, giving the person something to focus on when they feel alienated from everyone and everything they used to hold most dear.
“Forget-Me-Not Dementia Support provide a lending library so those attending a café may borrow baby dolls or robotic interactive pets for a month for a minimal refundable deposit.”
Founded in 2019 by Forget-me-not Dementia Support, the Forget-me-not Cafe has been well received and is now held in more than 15 locations across Greater Perth and regional WA including Roleystone, Kalamunda, Gosnells and Toodyay.
“It offers people living with dementia and their carers an opportunity to meet other people going through the journey of dementia,” says Adam Flynn, who helps run the Fremantle Cafe.
“The meeting also provides an opportunity for people to assist each other navigate the complexities of the aged care system and share information about dementia.
“Stay for five minutes or the entire two hours – all are welcome!”
To find out more about the Forget-me-not Cafe visit forgetmenotmemorycafe.com
by STEPHEN POLLOCK