New group created in Harrogate to support children of people living with dementia

The first Dementia Connection meeting will be held on October 3 at 7:30pm, at the Pine Marten.
The first Dementia Connection meeting will be held on October 3 at 7:30pm, at the Pine Marten.

A new group has been created in Harrogate to support children of people living with dementia.

Spending many years supporting families affected by dementia as chair of the Acorn Committee, Louise Hanen came up with the idea for Dementia Connection after identifying a need for there to be the same level of support available for children as primary carers.

Group coordinator Ruth Sprowell, whose sister Carla Wise has also been instrumental in setting the group up, are both hugely passionate about making sure that there is as much advice and help for children as possible, wishing that there had been something similar available to them in their twenties when they started supporting their mother, who lived with dementia for 17 years.

Ruth said: "So much more support is available to people now, but there is a lot more support for the carers. There is very little support for the children because they are not seen as a primary carer.

"Parents are so involved in your lives, and they are such a huge part of it that when something like this happens, it changes your relationship with them. It can be hard to process.

"This group is about pulling people together who are going through the same thing at the same time. Dementia is like a journey, a journey that you don't want to know the outcome of, but there is nothing you can do about it.

"And for some people it is an incredibly long journey - you can literally see the life eke out of them. Sometimes people don't realise how lonely that is. The group is important because you don't want people feeling alone going through it."

Dementia Connection will meet on the first Tuesday of every month at the Pine Marten, at 7:30pm, starting on October 3. Although some people may feel that coming along to the group isn't for them, Ruth said it will create a warm and welcoming environment for anyone who might find the idea a bit daunting.

She said: "The group will be full of people who are going through the same thing and know how it really feels. We just want to welcome people with no pressure.

"While we are not experts, we have lived through it and experienced it. This might help people who do not necessarily live in the same town as their parent with dementia, but the group could offer a place for someone to have support and advice on their doorstep."

The first three months of meetings will be about settling in, getting to know other members, and discussing how the group can best support people.

From January onwards, the group will be looking to invite guest speakers from organisations including Dementia Forward to offer advice and support.

Each meeting costs £3 to cover the costs of room hire, and tea and coffee is available on arrival. The organisers of the group are open to supporting people of all ages.

To find out more about the group, visit their Facebook page 'Dementia Connection."