A Meeting Centre is a local resource, operating out of ordinary community buildings, that offers on-going warm and friendly expert support to people with mild to moderate dementia and their families. At the heart of the Meeting Centre is a social club where people meet to have fun, talk to others and get help that focuses on what they need. Meeting Centres are based on sound research evidence of what helps people to cope well in adjusting to living with the symptoms and changes that dementia brings.
Meeting Centres are well established in the Netherlands where they have been very successful in improving the quality of life experienced by their users and their families. The model has also proved itself in Angus through the work of the very successful Kirrie Connections Project.
Meeting Centres normally meet for three days each week, with members attending once or twice.
Meeting Centres are for people living with mild to moderate dementia and their family carers.
The Meeting Centre ethos provide an enjoyable and flexible programme for both the person with dementia and their family carers.
All activities are designed to help people adapt to the challenges that living with dementia can bring. This involves a chance to get together socially, to be creative, to get active and to share lunch.
Family carers get assistance with practical and emotional issues, as well as being able to contribute to social club activities.
Some family members use the opportunity to have a break from their caring role. Couples consulting sessions, social activities and excursions also help people to enjoy life together.
The Meeting Centre is managed by a small team of staff who are responsible for all aspects of the day to day operation of the Centre; they organise the programme of activities, deal with administration and make sure that the Meeting Centre provides a warm, welcoming and social space for its members to enjoy.
The staff team is supported by volunteers, who spend time with the members, sharing in and delivering activities.
An important feature of Meeting Centres is that they are membership organisations. The people who use and benefit from its services play a central role deciding what happens in the Centre. They contribute ideas, provide feedback and take decisions with the staff. This helps to make sure that they feel part of the Centre and that it offers a programme that matches their needs and interests.