A humble fry-up continues to be a powerful catalyst, giving men a brief respite from the demanding and lonely world of full-time caring for loved ones suffering illnesses like dementia.
A baker’s dozen gathered at Crumbs café in Boston for breakfast and a chat, in an initiative made possible through the work of Freemasons and the Medlock Trust charity, which has put in £5,000.
It’s an extension of Freemasonry’s substantial support for the Men Do project run by charity Carers First in eastern Lincolnshire, which set up its support project for male carers by bringing them together at events involving motorsport, tours of breweries and battlefields, as well as regular breakfast meetings.
Its success can be judged by the friendship groups formed, such as the quartet who’d become firm friends in Skegness but would never have met until the first breakfast meeting, and the duo who now cycle together regularly!
After Skegness Freemasons Simon Noden and Neil Huskisson met the newly-formed Boston group, Simon said:
“It’s clear that they are all supporting each other and attending other activities organised by Carers First ‘Men Do’ Project. We spoke to a couple of guys who arrived together. They’d known each other for many years, having also worked together. Now, they are supporting each other. Both explained that their wives have dementia and chatting with like-minded people for a couple of hours helps their mental wellbeing.”
Another member of the group claims, at the age of 80, to be the oldest DJ in town.
“Giving something back is important to him. He takes his record collection to his local care home and says that playing tunes from the forties, fifties, and sixties brings back happy memories from those suffering from dementia and alzheimer’s.”
But only some were regular visitors, he added. One gentleman arrived slightly later than the others. It was his first time, and attending something like this was a huge deal for him. The others made him feel welcome, explaining that they knew exactly how he felt because they all felt the same, but now they have fantastic friends and can support each other.
Karen Johnson from Carers First chatted to each guest, giving them a free SIM card with six months’ free internet access, which could be extended by six months when it expired. This allows them to keep in touch with the outside world even if it’s using social media to check out the Carers First Facebook page and keeping up to date with other activities group activities.
Meeting the breakfast group profoundly affected Simon and Neil, with both feeling buoyed up by being part of something which was making such a positive difference in the lives of others in their communities!