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The aim of D-CaFF is to provide a social outlet for people living with dementia, their carers, family and friends. D-CaFF is a local organization based at Greenmount Cricket Club which is under half a mile from Hewlett Court. It is managed by Joani Beale with help from some 25 volunteers.
In the two years since D-CaFF was founded, and the organisation is going from strength to strength, and despite the generosity of the Cricket Club in allowing the members of D-CaFF to meet there, the building needed to be upgraded to provide toilets that are appropriate for people living with dementia. D-CaFF started looking for funding to help to pay for the toilets and an application was submitted to the East Lancs Masonic Charity’s Grant Making Committee.
I have no doubt that readers will ask what is special about a dementia friendly toilet – which is precisely the question that was asked when the application was submitted. It is often the case that people living with dementia have other health conditions. As a consequence, there is a need to cater for extra space in the toilets for wheelchairs and extra space so carers can attend with the member who may need assistance. Colour schemes are important, so there cannot be a white seat on a white toilet, nor must there be black floors etc. Electric hand dryers are avoided because the noise can be distressing and so there are paper towels in a dispenser. In addition, there is a need to have lower sinks and soap dispensers etc for wheelchair users. Some of the building work has now been completed and the photo below shows the room which wheelchair users and their carers can access.
Following due consideration, the grant making committee decided to award D-CaFF £1,000 towards the project, and arrangements were made for the cheque to be presented to Joani Beale on behalf of D-CaFF.
The presentation took place on Friday 13thJuly at a meeting when, as a special treat, Patelvis – an Indian Elvis Presley impersonator – was performing. There were in the region of 120 people in the room and there was a delightful atmosphere with many of the members, their family and carers, and the supporters dancing to Elvis’s songs.
Joani Beale, who received the cheque on behalf of D-CaFF said “Our aim at D-CaFF is to make people welcome and we all just join in together in order to have a brilliant time. There is a room full of love, laughter and friendship, with a safe environment for all. On behalf of D-Caff, I want to thank the Freemasons for their very generous donation which allows us to create an accessible toilet which is so important to everyone.”
If anyone has a relative who is living with or who cares for someone living with dementia, you would not go wrong with exploring the potential for D-CaFF to provide your relative and yourself with a very supportive social outlet. Email the scheme manager Joani Beale on firstname.lastname@example.org. Joani is also on the lookout for more volunteers and if any lodge or individualwould like to attend a Dementia Friends session in order to learn more, please contact Joani. She is willing to attend anywhere (within reason!) to spread the word about the benefits of D-CaFF