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Forget-Me-Knot Café

You may have seen on our website or across our social channels that we are currently supporting Chinnor Village Centre’s Forget-Me-Knot Cafe. The Forget-Me-Knot Cafe is a fantastic group for those with dementia and their loved ones to come together for support, entertainment, and fun – not to mention tea and biscuits! In addition, the group have regular visits from Dementia Oxfordshire who answer questions and provide support attendees, including signposting to experts where further information and support can be found. The Cafe relies on donations to keep running it running and is run by a team of outstanding volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that each session is full of light and laughter.


It is reported that half of adults in the UK know someone that has been diagnosed with dementia. Many of us at Ivan R. Cammack Optometrist had or have family members with dementia who would benefit from such an amazing service, which is why we have joined forces with the Forget-Me-Knot Cafe to help raise awareness and hopefully ensure the continuation of these wonderful sessions. Furthermore, Ivan R Cammack and the team are undertaking training to further improve the support we are able to offer our patients with dementia and their loves ones. If you, or someone you know, require extra support when attending appointments, let our reception team know when booking and we can ensure that the necessary accommodations are made.


Alzheimer’s Research UK recommend that those with dementia keep active by undertaking gentle exercise, this not only helps to support one’s physical health but also helps promote good mental health. For this reason, one of the focus points of the Forget-Me-Knot Cafe is getting people moving with music by encouraging dancing and light exercise. The fantastic team that run the cafe are mindful that those who attend have varying levels of mobility so they ensure that everything they do can be adapted to accommodate this. Another way of encouraging gentle exercise is light gardening. Activities such as tending to flower beds or growing herbs are a great way to promote light movement. In addition, such activities can help maintain skills, grow self-confidence and be really rewarding for those with dementia.


Gardening itself is a great way to unwind and spend time outdoors and away from the screens we spend so much time on! This is the case for everyone, not just those with dementia. We have many avid gardeners amongst the Ivan R. Cammack team, and we have asked them to share their thoughts on why they love gardening.


Nina is one of our lovely receptionists and if you’re a patient of our Chinnor branch you’re sure to know who she is! When I asked Nina why she loves gardening she said: “Gardening for me is a great stress reliever. It gets you outside with nature all around you, which is great and it also gives me a sense of achievement when I see the end result”.


The wonderful Sue won’t mind me saying that she is part of the furniture at IRC. If you’ve ever called in, you’ve probably spoken to Sue! Like Nina, Sue said “I love being outdoors and I find spending time in the garden a great way to mentally reset. I love looking out of my kitchen window and seeing the flowerbeds in bloom and everything come to fruition”. Here is a picture of Sue’s garden from her kitchen window!

Amanda is one of our fantastic Dispensing Opticians and has been known to grow tomatoes in the sunny spot on her garage roof! Amanda told me “My relationship with the garden has evolved over the years. I've become much more relaxed and less obsessed with perfection. It’s more about attracting nature than achieving the perfect aesthetic now”. Going on to explain “One of my favourite things about my garden is the addition of a wildlife pond. It has a little bridge leading to a jetty over the water, and a wisteria trailing over an arbour, enclosing the space from all around. It’s my favourite place to hide away, to sit with a glass of wine or cup of coffee and to unwind”. See Amanda’s wildlife pond, and feline friend, below:


Nisha is one of our marvellous Optometrists and is always keen to trade home grown vegetables and recipes! Nisha told me “I started the allotment in the second lockdown to give me something meaningful to do, to get outside and as something I could do socially with my friend. I love gardening because it is so satisfying to go from planting some seeds all the way to digging up an abundance of veg to go straight into your dinner. Zero food miles! I also find that planting seeds, weeding, and picking veg slows my mind down and is good for my soul”.


With this in mind, and spring well and truly here, we are running a Spring Garden Competition on our Facebook and Instagram! We’re asking you to show us your Spring Gardens to be in with the chance of winning a John Lewis Afternoon Tea Hamper, so head on over to Ivan R Cammack Opticians on Facebook or @ircammackopticians on Instagram to enter!

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