New Dementia Cafe Opens in Glenorchy
by Agnes Frith
Agnes Frith opened the Golden Wattle Cafe to give people with dementia and their caregivers a safe and non-judgemental space where they can socialise and interact with each other and members of the community in a relaxed environment. Here she shares her story.
After completing a Bachelor of Dementia course in 2018, I decided to share my knowledge of what I’d learnt in the past four years with the community. In mid-2019 after discussion with a few colleagues, we decided that setting up a cafe was quite plausible. Looking for a suitable venue proved to be the hardest task. It had to be functional and user friendly for people with dementia and older people. Parking had to be easily accessible, safe and spacious. Toilet facilities had to be compatible and entrance to the café convenient and practical. After a lot of stumbles, frustrations and disappointments, Liz Stott (a founding member) and I found a suitable setting at The Golden Years Club in Glenorchy.
The Golden Wattle Cafe opened in January 2020 but of course Covid-19 came along and we had to temporarily close in March. However we reopened in October last year with more enthusiasm, new ideas and a determination to keep going.
We transform the large hall at The Golden Years Club into an attractive, bright and lively café with a friendly, cheerful environment. Our amazing volunteers welcome everyone with a smile and make you feel a part of our community. Coffee, tea and a scrumptious, delicious morning tea is served. It’s only $5 per session which helps us with rent and other expenses.
Caregivers can have a relaxing time chatting with our volunteers or each other and share their problems or exchange ideas on how to better cope with issues they may have. We’re also able to direct them to websites or other places where they can get information or any help they need. We realise that caregivers play an important, sometimes unrecognised, role in the community and are prepared to support them in any way we can.
People with dementia can relax in a safe, noise free, spacious, calm environment where we take the time to listen and interact with them. There are many sensory objects and items from the past for people to look at and reminisce. We also have lots of old records which always bring back memories. There are also conversation cards which can trigger memories to get people talking.
Craft and art activities are available for anyone who would like to join in. In the near future we plan to have sing-along sessions and musical entertainment. Our volunteers are a dedicated bunch of wonderful ladies who give up their time and help make this venture a success. There’s no way this cafe can run without them and their commitment is very much appreciated. Each week they come in with big smiles on their faces and get right into what needs to be done.
We are very grateful to Banjos Bakery in Moonah and Time Out Cafe in Glenorchy who very kindly donate to our morning tea. The Glenorchy City Council, Elise Archer MP and Josh Willie MLC are supporters of our café for which we are extremely
thankful. Any donations are most welcome and gratefully accepted. Donation details are on our website.
The Golden Wattle cafe operates on the first three Thursdays of each month from 10:30am – 12.30pm at 314 Main Road, Glenorchy. For more information please visit the website or Facebook page, or call 0422 736 985.