Service for younger people with dementia marks 20th anniversary with celebratory tea party

An Alzheimer’s Society service based in Kingswood celebrated 20 years of supporting people with young-onset dementia yesterday on World Alzheimer’s Day (Wednesday 21 September).

The Limes, a day support service specifically for younger people diagnosed with dementia under the age of 70, opened its doors for the first time in 1996. 20 years later, having supported more than 500 people, staff from BAM Construction kindly threw a special tea party to mark its anniversary.

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With plenty of tea and a vast array of tasty treats, Alzheimer’s Society staff and volunteers were joined for the celebrations by people with dementia and their family and friends, as well as Kerry McCarthy MP. 

Kerry McCarthy MP, who chatted to people at the event, said:

'I was delighted to attend the tea party yesterday, and to show my support for the work which Alzheimer’s Society is involved in at The Limes. It is clear that people who use this service value it greatly, and have benefited from the charity’s support after being diagnosed with young-onset dementia.

'Visits like this remind me about the importance of proper funding for dementia support services, and also for research to better understand this terrible illness.'

Jo O’Neill, Alzheimer’s Society Day Support Manager, who has worked at The Limes for nine years said:

'It’s fantastic to be celebrating this significant milestone. People with young-onset dementia often have very specific needs. Many people are working when they are diagnosed and have young families to support; there is a huge financial impact as well.

The Limes is very special, it is the only service in the local area that specially supports people with young-onset dementia. 20 years is a long time, but as they say ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, and that’s the atmosphere we try to create at The Limes.'

Activities take into account the physical needs of younger people with dementia. Clients can choose from Zumba sessions, walking, gardening, sitting gym sessions, and playing games and sports on the Nintento Wii console. Many people enjoy the regular music therapy, dancing and singing sessions and take part in quizzes or play cards and board games.

Janice Warlow and her partner Brian Cooper, who regularly attends The Limes, said:

'I know that Brian is happy, safe and well cared for. When Brian attends the Limes it gives me a much needed break.'

Speaking about visiting The Limes Brian added: 'I always have fun and a good day.'

BAM Construction chose to support Alzheimer’s Society as its national charity partner raising £100,000 for the charity last year.

Emma Bull, Education and Community Manager for BAM, said:

'We established links with The Limes and last year threw them a Christmas party. Following that success we wanted to continue supporting the service through our volunteering policy which allows staff to give time to a cause they choose. 

'Celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the centre’s opening, we ran yesterday’s celebratory tea party with tea served by our friendly volunteers, cakes donated by our Facilities Management business and donations of gazebos for any future summer parties at the centre.'