Forget-me-not Caf© helps LGBT+ people who live with dementia

Forget-me-not Caf© helps LGBT+ people who live with dementia
OPEN AND TRUSTING: (L-R) Sara Grist, Head of Care at Home Instead, Symone Salwan, Founder and Managing Director of Home Instead, Jim Glennon, trainer with Opening Doors London, and Liz Pryke of Home Instead Bromley

The Forget-me-not Café in Halls Hole Road has been launched by Home Instead Senior Care, a company that provides care for older people in their own homes across Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Edenbridge.

The fifth such venture in West Kent, it offers companionship and encourages people to ‘get out and about, to socialise and make new friends’.

The first four Forget-me-not Cafés were set up in Edenbridge, Westerham, Sevenoaks and Hildenborough for the benefit of all local residents.

Symone Salwan, the Managing Director of Home Instead, set up the new project with seed funding from Kent County Council’s Dementia Friendly Communities.

Symone said: “Older members of the LGBT+ community would have grown up in an age when it would have been difficult or even impossible to be open about who they were, often creating feelings of isolation for these individuals.

“It is so incredibly important for members of this community who are living with dementia to ‘feel safe’ as their condition can trigger memories of less tolerant times when homosexuality was illegal.

 “This café provides a caring and comfortable environment for those who would like to join in with regular fun activities and enjoy the companionship of others.”

The team at Home Instead has undergone training with the charity Opening Doors London to increase confidence among its caregivers, allowing them to become more familiar with the terminologies used when discussing LGBT+ subjects.

Symone added: “At Home Instead many of our clients are living with the loneliness of dementia, so we realise the importance of simply having a chat over a cuppa – it can have a huge impact on someone’s life.

“By using the right language and terminology with our older LGBT+ clients, our caregivers provide additional reassurance.

“We look forward to welcoming members of our LGBT+ community to this new café, and understand particular sensitivities and wishes they have so we can help them to feel able to discuss this topic and share their later life goals with us in an open and trusting environment.”

The café runs on the second Friday of every month from 10.30am to 12.30pm at 1 Long Barn, Mouseden Farm, Halls Hole Road, Tunbridge Wells TN2 4RF.

To find out more, telephone Sue Solomon on 01892 731264,
or visit

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