A Week of Mindful Activities at the Rose and Sunflower Cafe

In the heart of Wandsworth Lambeth and Dulwich, you'll find a warm and vibrant community initiative, the Rose and Sunflower Cafes, coordinated by the lovely Kemi from Home Instead. Designed as safe and inviting spaces for locals living with dementia or for those simply looking to meet new people, these cafes offer a series of activities aimed at encouraging cognitive skills, fostering communication, and building camaraderie among its attendees.

During the week of the 23rd of January, 2023, the focus was on mindful activities, specifically knitting and crosswords, providing a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where everyone enjoyed lively conversations over a healthy snack.

Knitting with the 'Knit Wits'

Sue and Brenda, the dynamic duo behind the local knitting group known as the ‘Knit Wits’, brought their knitting expertise to our cafes. They usually meet every Wednesday morning at the West Norwood library, but graciously joined us to run the knitting sessions at both cafes.

Sue, a former art teacher, led the sessions with her inspiring samples and comprehensive knitting packs filled with scissors, wool, and other knitting essentials. Her contributions were not just to teach the attendees how to knit, but also to foster hand-eye coordination, wrist strength, and even memory enhancement. The repetitive nature of knitting allowed attendees to develop their muscle memory, gradually growing in confidence to knit independently. More than a functional skill, knitting also allowed for an exploration of creativity as attendees experimented with colours and patterns for their projects.

Peaceful Times with Crosswords

The theme for our crossword session was ‘Peaceful times’, creating a tranquil atmosphere in the cafes. The activity, designed to be tackled by two people working together, encouraged teamwork, engagement, and conversation. As attendees searched for words, they were prompted to share memories and experiences related to the words they found. This collaborative endeavour served not only as a fun task but also as a form of brain exercise, promoting memory recall and retention.

An Ode to Our Volunteers and Caregivers

As we approach Valentine’s Day, we look forward to expressing our love and appreciation to our incredible volunteers and caregivers who make these sessions possible. Special thanks go to Sue and Brenda, who, over the past six months, have brought their knitting expertise and infectious energy to our cafes.

We also extend our gratitude to Debra Noel, who has volunteered tirelessly since last May. With a wealth of experience from working in dementia care homes over the last decade, Debra brings a calming presence to each session. Her reminisce sessions, where she asks questions to prompt memories and engagement, are a highlight for many of our attendees.

A shout-out to Modupe, a key member of the Rose cafe team for the past year, and Angela, who has been with the Sunflower Cafe for two years, for their dedication and hard work.

Each one of them, through their commitment and passion, contributes to the vibrant atmosphere of our cafes, making everyone feel welcomed and appreciated. Thank you, all!

Stay tuned for more updates on our activities and our community’s stories.