Age UK service gives lifeline to carers in Wearside

Alan Robertson who has been diagnosed with dementia, pictured with his wife Greeta in their home at  Whiteladies Close, Washington, with Hazel Young (left) Washington Area Organiser, Age UK.
Alan Robertson who has been diagnosed with dementia, pictured with his wife Greeta in their home at Whiteladies Close, Washington, with Hazel Young (left) Washington Area Organiser, Age UK.
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A coffee morning craft club has become a lifeline for isolated elderly people affected by dementia.

Greeta, 76, and Alan Robertson, 73, used the Age UK Essence Service which has helped the couple cope with Alan’s dementia.

When Greeta found herself becoming a carer for her husband Alan, who was diagnosed around a year ago, she felt isolated and lonely.

But with the help of Age UK she now attends a weekly coffee morning lunch club at the Lambton Hall, near her home, where she meets 
with other carers and dementia sufferers, offering her respite.

This comes as part of an Age UK campaign backed by the Echo called No One Should Have No One – urging people to help the charity, particularly by getting involved with its befriending service, which puts volunteers in contact with lonely older people.

“Alan was diagnosed about a year ago but I knew there was something wrong, something was not quite right with him. But the doctors were brilliant and put us in touch with the Essence Service.

“Now I go to a coffee morning on a Wednesday, where we do crafts, and I plan to do the iPad sessions in the New Year at Lambton Hall as I skype my daughter in Cambridge every day.”

Alan has the option to attend the club with Greeta but prefers to stay at home. Greeta is able to have a break from caring, comforted by knowing Alan is safe at home in the sheltered accommodation they share.

The couple have two grandchildren but they live with their parents in Cambridge.

“The first time I went it was getting to know everyone and it has got better and better,” Mrs Robertson added.

“Now we have started making something as well.

“The volunteers are very good, we have a bit of a laugh and make crafts like Christmas cards and crochet. It’s different every week.

“I am so grateful. I don’t feel so isolated anymore.”