Picnic offers fellowship, fun

Friends Kathy Wilson (left) and Lesley Haines enjoy a game of quoits at the Alzheimer's picnic at Anderson Park last week.

SWING ball, quoits, frisbee and a cherry stone-spitting competition were some of the activities Living Memories Club volunteers and members took part in at Anderson’s park last week.

The picnic event, run by the Alzheimer’s Society Southland Branch, began at noon.

It was held to support people with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones.

About 40 people attended the event.

Alzheimer’s support worker Rike Raines said it was a great, inclusive day.

“It’s been a wonderful catch-up with everyone. People have brought their own food and we’ve provided a lot of games.”

The group aimed to hold activities for members twice a month, but due to Covid-19 it had been difficult, she said.

“We haven’t been able to hold our groups and we usually would have a bus trip and the Living Memories Club, so it’s been great to be all together again.”

The activities were important, allowing people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their families a space to connect with others in similar circumstances.

“We’ve got a lot of clients who might feel isolated and drained because they haven’t got support, but these events remind people they are not alone and that they are still loved and valued as a part of the community.”

She acknowledged the Living Memories Club volunteers who dedicated their time to set up the activities.

“All of our volunteers have had direct experiences with someone with Alzheimer’s and so they are able to understand and give back… but they are all amazing.”

Volunteer Denise Randall said the event was all about fellowship.

“We were aiming to improve the quality of life and we always try to stimulate people and try to get them to do things they think they can’t do.”

Friends Kathy Wilson and Lesley Haines were there on the day.

Ms Wilson said she always enjoyed the events and the bus trips.

“I think it is wonderful what they do for us and it is well worth it.”

She was grateful to Mrs Haines, who would often pick her up and bring her along.

“My husband is in care.

“It was because of him that I came in the first place but then I made all these connections and I still could not stop myself from going,” Mrs Haines said.