Building a Better Health Service


Limerick Dementia Club celebrates

Members of the Limerick Dementia Social Club enjoy a painting project.

Members of the Limerick Dementia Social Club enjoy a painting project.

Limerick Dementia Social Club recently celebrated its first birthday, having opened its doors in November 2018 to people with dementia and their carers from across the county.

Held on the first Wednesday of every month, the club aims to support people to live well with dementia by providing a dementia-friendly space where people socialise, enjoy refreshments, share information and participate in activities.

The club aspires to reduce social isolation and promote open discussion, fun activity, acceptance, and new learning. Care partners also attend which has proven very successful in providing carer support and relieving carer strain. An average of 25 people attend the club nights.

Maintaining social health through psychosocial interventions such as these, supports the personhood and capabilities of people living with dementia, says Catherine Coles, the club secretary.

“The club was set up by a small voluntary committee who were concerned about the lack of dementia-friendly social outlets for people with dementia in the community. Committee members have backgrounds in nursing, occupational therapy, social work, and physiotherapy,” said Catherine.

Volunteers with a background in caring for persons with dementia also attend.

“The club aims to provide a dementia-friendly space in the community and we welcome newcomers to join the club,” she explained.

Feedback from attendees has been overwhelmingly positive, with one saying, “It is a lovely night out and I look forward to the first Wednesday every month.”

Another said, “I most enjoy the variety of activities, and topics covered, the interaction between the people who attend, and the wonderful people organising the activities and the social club. It shows you you’re not on your own.”

The evening is divided into two parts. In the first hour, they often have informative presentations, guest speakers and therapists. To date, this has included presentations on various types of dementia, advocacy support, and workshops including music therapy, assistive technology, hand massage, and craftwork. Guest speakers have included a clinical nurse specialist, nutritionist, speech and language therapist, gardaí, poet, dance teacher, and dementia advisor. 

In the second hour, attendees enjoy social activities such as singing, dancing, raffles, arts & crafts, cards, peer support, and conversation. While people can make a small voluntary contribution to the club, there is no charge for attending.

Ideas for activities come from the feedback and suggestions of attendees. Committee members and volunteers from the community organise the club in their spare time and fundraise to pay for the venue and activities, explained Catherine.

“We have recently been granted funding from the National Lottery Grant Scheme 2019 through the HSE and also the HSE Community Voluntary and Supports Grant Scheme 2019. We plan to use the funding acquired to facilitate a creative engagement project in the coming months to enhance the existing experience for people with dementia attending the club,” she said. 

“It is well documented that conventional forms of expression, communication, and social engagement can become a significant challenge for people with dementia as their condition progresses which can lead to increased social isolation and reduction in self-worth.

“The purpose of the creative engagement project is to promote engagement, expression of self, connectivity and emotional wellbeing. The project will have three strands - art, music and cognitive stimulation through the medium of games and puzzles. Each of the three strands has the capacity to promote social connectedness. It is anticipated that the group will find the activities of this creative engagement project enjoyable, creatively satisfying and help develop camaraderie through having a shared activity and purpose.”

For more information about the club, please contact the group at 085-1963985 or or go along to the club on the first Wednesday of the month at 6.30pm in Our Lady of Lourdes Community Centre, Childer’s Road, Limerick.