January 24 2018

When Tony Marsh, a support worker for Alzheimer’s Support, heard that some of the families he supported wanted to meet each other socially, he responded by inviting them all to his home for a party.

He could not have predicted the outcome of the get together. Six couples affected by dementia are now firm friends and meet regularly for coffee, and one carer said it had changed her whole outlook on dementia. 

Jane Skirton who cares for her husband Alan at their home in Bradford on Avon, said: “Meeting others like that has really changed things for me. I can see now there is a life living with dementia and I shall make sure Alan and I live it to the full rather than trying to fight it. I took a long time to accept my husband's diagnosis, but meeting everyone and realising we can still enjoy ourselves has made me accept it for the first time."

“We can’t thank Tony and his wife Margaret enough for all they have done for us. We have all been spoilt rotten and have each made six lovely new friends. What a lovely idea to bring us all together.”

Tony said: “It all came about because one of the family carers sent me a message asking if I could arrange to meet some of the other ladies who I meet in the course of my work with Alzheimer’s Support. I checked with my manager and we agreed that the best way to do this was to invite them to my home. I kept the men happy in the conservatory and my wife looked after the ladies in the lounge.

“We had a great afternoon. It started with tea and cakes and ended up with wine and beer. They are now meeting for coffee so some good has come from the party.”

Sally Haddrell-Jenks, Registered Manager at Alzheimer’s Support said: “Our support workers routinely go the extra mile for the people we support. Tony has also held a barbecue at his home for his clients in the past and we all understand the importance of social interaction for people affected by dementia, whether directly or as carers. It is so heartening to hear of the difference small gestures like this can make.”

Alzheimer’s Support's Support at Home service won the Best Team category at the 8th Dementia Care Awards in 2017.