There is nothing available for my needs. I feel like a square peg being bashed into a round hole.
So said one of our 50-something year old members with early onset dementia.
His words sparked the idea for the Square Hole Club, which started as a one year pilot project, thanks to the generous support of the Mental Illness Prevention Fund.
In July 2015 The Square Hole Club Celebrtated its 2nd Birthday and is one of the finalists for Dementia Friendly Awards 2015 in the Best Dementia Friendly Involvement Initiative category!
What is the Square Hole Club?
It is a gathering of our members with early onset dementia, or members in the early stages of the illness, in an everyday environment that enables them to engage in ‘normal’ activities, contribute to what happens, and be supported appropriately, while their carer takes a much needed break to have some reviving ‘me-time’.
Early Onset Dementia
Dementia is not just a condition that affects older people. Several of our members received a diagnosis of dementia in their 50s and early 60s, arguably a more stressful and difficult time to cope with the situation for them and their carers. Respite for both the person with dementia and their carer is geared to the ‘older’ person and it was against this background we devised the formula for the Square Hole Club.
When and where does Square Hole Club take place?
We have been fortunate in being able to hire the excellent facilities of Deepings Sports and Social Club in Market Deeping which offers a spacious club room, kitchen facilities and is overlooking magnificent sports pitches. The club runs on the second and fourth Thursday of each month.
What happens at Square Hole Club?
Much of the programme has been set by the members themselves and we draw in expertise from other members. For example, one of our former carers is a keen amateur photographer and comes regularly to help with sessions. The members enjoy team quizzes, play word games, discuss the day’s news in the paper, have lunch together, take a walk in the field, kick a football around or watch a cricket match at the appropriate time of year. Chosing what to have for lunch and enjoying a meal together, family style, is a big part of our day.
How is Square Hole Club run?
Attendance is limited to 12 members each time, with four professional support workers and two volunteers ensuring members gain maximum benefit and enjoyment from being able to take part in ‘normal’ activities that they have chosen. Each session follows a theme and members are asked to bring in related items to share with the group. Themes so far have included MUSIC, TRAVEL, SPORTS, PHOTOGRAPHY, FASHION, FOOD, BOOKS, and FILMS.
The Square Hole Club has proven to be a huge success and we are hoping to be able to secure future funding. We are grateful for the support we have received from The Dementia Support Network, Deepings Sports and Social Club, the professional support workers and our own members who have all shown such enthusiasm in getting the club established.
How does the Square Hole Club hope to help prevent mental illness?
Looking after someone with dementia can be very frustrating and draining. Often the carer has to put their own life on ‘hold’ because their loved one’s needs have to come first. For the person with dementia themselves, the extra burden of knowing they have a condition that will only deteriorate, can place extra stress on them, as well as their family members. Square Hole Club gives each partner a much-needed respite break and the opportunity to re-charge their batteries to make coping with the condition a little more bearable for a little while longer.