There is no reason why people with dementia can’t have the same relationships, friendships and social life as before their diagnosis. They should keep doing the things they enjoy for as long as possible, even if they need help now and again. In fact – keeping socially active is good for the brain and good for creating a feeling of well-being. One of the most important aspects of maintaining quality of life for someone with dementia is to include them in activities that could potentially be linked to their past memories or interests. Sport is a powerful medium for many people, providing memories of great games, sporting legends and marvellous victories, but also the friendships made and the sense of community that playing or watching sports brings. Talking about sporting events and cultures helps to give people their identity back and reconnect them to the people and generations around them.
Hampshire Cricket club launched as Dementia Friendly in 2014 when staff attended Dementia Friends awareness sessions to help them understand how to make the venue both safe and enjoyable for people affected by dementia. The Memory Days project derives from their commitment to make their games more accessible. They provide us with a box for some County Championship games which gives our group a secure, ‘climate controlled’ base for the day. Attendees have access to the stands to watch the match, or they can stay in the box.
The great benefit of the offer of free car parking and entry is that carers do not have to worry that they may be paying for a full day’s entry only to find that their loved one doesn’t settle and wants to leave soon after arrival, they also have the reassurance of being in a fairly restricted are so there is less chance of losing their loved one, although they are free to explore if they want to.
We provide tea or coffee and cake, and guests can bring a packed lunch (sandwiches are available to buy from the atrium, but there is limited availability on busier days). Dress code is casual, but layering advisable if you are considering sitting outside. There is a lift to access the box and accessible toilets very close.
Memory Days provide an opportunity for those living with dementia to visit with family members who may not be their main carers; sons, son-in-laws, friends and neighbours, enabling them to enjoy a day of Peer Company while their main carer can choose to enjoy a period of respite. Visitors really benefit from the experience of a ‘normal day’ watching cricket.
Follow this link to express an interest in one of the Memory Days for 2020
We have had some wonderful feedback about this project:
“Thank you so much for providing such a wonderful day,
it has made a real difference to us both.”
‘We have been made to feel really welcome’
‘He’s always enjoyed cricket, and it’s good for him to be here watching with other men’
‘It was so good to have other people come and chat to us throughout the day’
‘I don’t really like cricket, but it’s lovely to be able to come here and relax knowing there are people here to help us’
“When can we come again?”
“Just to say a big thank you for a great day last Saturday. It gave a much needed respite for all of us and especially my dad at a time when he has not been coping so well. It also got my mum out of the house and she had a really good day too.
It is so much more than just a ticket to see a cricket match.
It was a whole day of fun laughter and interaction with others and being able to encourage my mum to ‘get out’ as she has been lacking in confidence and suffering back pain and this has had a negative impact on the Alzheimer’s and caused extra strain on dad. It provided my dad with much needed respite and to see my mum out and enjoying herself was therapeutic for my dad too.”