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John and Shirley

Dementia group provides support and friendship

12 January 2024

As well as offering expert advice and support from our multi-disciplinary team, Birmingham Hospice’s Dementia Support Group is also a place to make new friendships.

John Beard was referred to the hospice by his local Memory Service following his diagnosis of dementia.

Birmingham Hospice offers a nine-week course which covers a range of educational topics including talks from Birmingham and Solihull NHS Foundation Trust and Alzheimer’s Society.

John and his wife Shirley were both keen to do anything to help John live his life as best as he can alongside his diagnosis.

The couple attended the programme together and both said that the content they learned was ‘invaluable’.

Shirley said: “We absolutely loved the course. The content goes into such a lot of detail and for someone who is newly diagnosed it is such a help; it’s invaluable.

“Another positive is the friendships we’ve made here; we have a group of friends who know and understand what we’re all going through.”

After the initial nine-week course, participants are invited to attend monthly drop-in sessions at the hospice to stay in touch, while members of John’s group are also meeting up socially outside of the hospice setting.

Speaking about his experience of the course, John added: “I didn’t know what to expect, I was quite apprehensive before I came, but I’ve never looked back.

“If you’re offered the opportunity to come to the sessions, don’t be frightened when you hear the word ‘hospice’; there is nothing to be scared about. Everyone is so friendly here and you’ll be made to feel welcome right from the start.

“In the end, I don’t think either of us wanted the course to finish! And now we look forward to coming along to the social group and seeing the friends we’ve made here outside of the hospice.”

Referrals to Birmingham Hospice’s Dementia Support Group can be made by a GP or any other healthcare professional involved in your care or diagnosis through our website.