We celebrated our first birthday at the April 2017 Cafe. Alex, one of our volunteers, created a magnificent cake for us that was as tasty as it was beautiful. Thanks Alex and here’s to the next year.

There are move photographs from the April cafe in our Gallery.

 

Our first speaker this month was Caroline Orr from the Azure Programme in the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). This programme explores how people with dementia and their families experience art. Group sizes are kept small and you are met by Caroline and her team when you arrive at the museum. You will be introduced to 3 or 4 pieces of art during your visit, which takes about an hour and a half in total. At each piece of art, you will be invited to think about what it means to you. There are no right answers and it is really interested to see what everyone sees in the piece. The tour guide will encourage and facilitate this discussion and tell you a little more about each art work. The visit ends in the cafe with a chance to have tea/coffee and chat about how the visit went. The artwork is different each time the programme runs so you can go along as often as you like. The grounds of the museum are also beautiful and worth a visit.

The Azure programme in IMMA is based on international programmes that aim to make museums dementia-friendly places. More information can be found by clicking on this link: http://www.imma.ie/en/subnav_156.htm

Our second speaker was Ellina Nolan and she introduced us to Tango Therapy. Ellina described how the Argentine Tango originated as a social dance giving people a chance to come together in a trusting relationship. It was born from the immigrants and gauchos who didn’t have a place to call home and the loneliness of men in Argentina at that time who missed the contact with a woman. The Tango embrace is a gentle contact between two people and it helps human beings communicate without words in a mutually sharing, caring and protective way.

Research shows that human touch, even something as simple as holding hands, increases oxytocine levels, which contributes to lowering blood pressure, dilating the arteries, producing a positive mental state, and helping to fight anxiety and stress (Peidro, R., 2007) and it is increasingly been used in therapy to rebuild trust and to help communication between two people without words.

While Ellina introduced us specifically to the Tango, it reminded us all of how important dance can be as a way of communicating and living in the moment, and how simple rhythmic movements can help diffuse anger and anxiety and help us to reconnect in stressful times.

Thanks to all of our speakers for contributing to a interesting and fun cafe this month.