Rachel Lightfoot is a Bath University social work student on a term-long placement with Alzheimer's Support. Here she describes her first impressions of day care.

When I was first allocated a social work student placement with Alzheimer’s support I thought I knew what to expect. Beige. This was based on my experiences of visiting my Great Aunt in her care home in the 1990’s, and from TV depictions of care for older people. I pictured bland rooms, with hushed voices and blank walls.

I could not have been more wrong!

The moment I walked into the Old Silk Works for the first time I was struck by how vibrant and alive the atmosphere was. There were members laughing on one table, having a vigorous debate about whether a word was permissible in Scrabble on another, and overall there was an air of warmth and humour.

I was surprised by how colourful and inviting the space was, with photos on the walls and greenery in the indoor garden adding to the welcoming environment. This is a place anyone would be happy to spend time in, and if you didn’t know this was Alzheimer’s Support, you would assume this was simply a social club like any other. This is because dementia is not the focus here, people are. Individual differences are celebrated and everyone is treated as the unique personality they are. Every evening I come home humming some tune or other that I’ve picked up in the club, last week I just couldn’t shake Boney M…

It's not rocket science

Having spent several weeks at the Mill Street club in Trowbridge, I have come to greatly admire the volunteers and staff who spend their days here, laughing with, entertaining and sometimes comforting the members as they would their own loved ones.

As Grant has put it, “it’s not rocket science” but finding somewhere where anyone and everyone can find a place to belong and retain their dignity and have fun is very special.

One thing I didn’t expect was that I would learn to knit! It has been a really enjoyable way to spend time with some of the women at Mill Street, and they have shown a huge amount of patience with me as I have “knitted two, dropped one” over the last few weeks. My family will all be receiving scarves for Christmas this year, whether they like it or not!

I am looking forward to spending time in every area of the Alzheimer’s Support and being part of the family, even if only temporarily.      

More about Alzheimer's Support's day clubs