Carers welcomed to Dementia-Friendly cricket fixtures at Lord’s
On 19 July, Dementia Carers Count (DCC) and Middlesex County Cricket Club (MCCC) welcomed a group of twenty carers to enjoy a day of County cricket at Lords, watching Middlesex take on Surrey, with the person they care for.
This was a wonderful opportunity for families living with dementia to have a special day out, with support on hand at all times, to enable everyone to make the most of their outing.
Siblings, children and their parents and spouses were amongst the group who benefitted from the generosity of MCCC, which provided free tickets for the fixture. There were novice cricket goers and life-long fans, all appreciated being part of a group that had a shared understanding of living with dementia.
For some the day prompted memories and reminiscences about playing or watching cricket at other times, for others, it was a pure in the moment experience, a change of scene, a chance to be outside, together, in a safe and supported space.
Carers found the day relaxing as there was no need to feel “on edge” about explaining dementia, apologising for repeated questions or any ‘out of normal’ behaviour. Instead, information about how to prepare for an outing was shared by DCC in advance. On the day itself, stewards at the ground, MCCC staff and DCC team members provided support when needed. DCC had a stand at the ground, which was a reassuring meeting point and which provided an opportunity for carers to speak to DCC team members about any concerns or needs on the day and also about anything they wanted to find out about more generally in relation to caring for someone with dementia.
Dr Raja Badrakalimuthu, Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist, DCC Trustee and cricket enthusiast instigated the connection with MCCC. The club kindly offered tickets for people living with dementia and their carers for two summer county cricket matches – the second fixture will take place on 20th September, when Middlesex take on Warwickshire.
There is already a waiting list for this second event – a clear indication of the enthusiasm for initiatives such as this which enable families living with dementia to enjoy time out together.
With over 700,000 families living with dementia across the UK, it is vital that carers have the confidence and help to go on outings with the person they are caring for if they would like to do so. Dementia friendly spaces at sports, arts, music and entertainment venues, where staff have training and understanding of dementia, and where facilities are clearly signposted, are critical to facilitating this.
MCCC and Lords are to be commended for their commitment to ensuring that cricket can be enjoyed by all in a positive, welcoming and respectful atmosphere. In line of course with the very Spirit of Cricket.
Julie Blakesley, MCCC Membership Secretary said:
“We are as passionate about supporting carers and people with dementia as we are about cricket. We are delighted to host dementia friendly match days at Lord’s Cricket Ground in association with Dementia Carers Count. Dementia has a huge impact on families living with the condition. A day out of the ordinary can make all the difference to people’s well-being and we have the opportunity to provide this through offering tickets to a special day at Lords. We hope that the experience builds confidence amongst families living with dementia that this is somewhere they can come to enjoy time together. The importance of shared moments, great sport and good camaraderie in a safe place can never be under-estimated.”
British astrologer, and lifelong member of MCCC, Russell Grant endorsed the day and the ongoing relationship between DCC and MCCC. He stressed that “dementia carers count and that’s a fact” and observed that all those caring for someone with dementia “have a friend in MCCC.”
To hear more about the successful first fixture in July, you can listen to Dr Raja being interviewed by Radio Woking.