I recently visited the Quaker learning centre in Birmingham with my fellow Dementia Diarists. I knew the others who had stayed previously were full of praise for Woodbrooke, and I was soon to discover why.A real hotel with a difference, the workers and volunteers there offer a friendly, yet unobtrusive welcome and stay.

The Gathering was a mixture of renewing acquaintances with old friends and making new ones. One well established friendship, with Agnes had, up to this point, been only via online chat rooms, so fabulous for the chance to meet in person at last. Innovations In Dementia are excellent in ensuring that people are as supported as possible to attend events, funding both travel and accommodation, as well as practical support over planning the journey.

Get togethers with others dealing with the same or similar difficulties to yourself is always life-affirming as there is an air of mutual understanding and acceptance. Whether emotional support via hugs when feelings bubble over, or others acceptance of my own slowed mobility and potential access issues, there is no judgement, only love and respect. For some we met as strangers, but all went our separate ways as firm friends.


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