The Mase Group Queens Award Video -Click to view
Two people who have cared for, and lost loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. They are eager that people with dementia, and in particular their Carers, are given the opportunity of a much needed support service and hope the MASE will encourage people to openly discuss dementia and help to dismiss the myth of it being a taboo subject.
Once a month, in Haughton, Rugeley, Cannock, Hednesford and Stafford the MASE Group is held. The locations have reasonable access by public transport and are in safe locations close to each town. The premises have wheel chair access, accessible toilets, car parking and catering facilities. Every effort is made to make the MASE user-friendly by using suitable visual and audio equipment.
Does the MASE make a difference?
Many carers experience social isolation and this is especially true when caring for someone with a dementia type illness. The MASE help to reduce this problem and the Carers themselves are able to exchange telephone numbers and build up a network of friends who are in similar situations. Attendances are increasing with some families even making an effort to travel to the different locations.
This helps to demonstrate the true importance and value of the MASE.
Carers regularly express how much they enjoy attending the MASE and the difference it has made to their lives. This is something for them to look forward to and helps with emotional well being and can avoid depression. Many carers initially appear low and stressed and see their future as bleak and lonely but meeting and chatting to others can throw a different light on things, particularly with the network of supportive friendships that are formed.
The MASE is sensitive in its approach and responds to the changing needs that occur to families living with someone with dementia. A social evening out can help people maintain and promote their independence and by giving support and information enables them to have more control over their lives when faced with making difficult choices.
What happens at a MASE?
Fundamentally the MASE aims to provide social support and information for people with dementia, their carers, family and friends.
An assortment of leaflets are on-hand outlining services, benefits and resources available for people with dementia and their carers, from Health, Social Services, voluntary organisations and the private sector. There is also the opportunity to ask questions of professionals in a protected and confidential environment.
No charge is made for visitors to the MASE and each Carer receives a raffle ticket on entry; six prizes are raffled and this ensures only Carers win a prize. All raffle prizes are donated by local businesses and sometimes by the Carers themselves.
A local catering company supports the MASE by providing and delivering the buffet. Included are a selection of soft drinks, or tea and coffee. A local lady from Haughton very kindly bakes and sends 6 cakes for each of the evenings.
Following the buffet there is musical entertainment, where the atmosphere changes to more of a social event. People sing along to the tunes and sometimes even dance; for many they have not had the opportunity to do this for some time. Alternatively another activity takes place, ‘Musical bingo’ or ‘Name that Tune’ followed by a time for chatting and making new friends.
The success of the MASE would not be possible without the regular commitment of volunteers, of which there are twenty, all recognisable by their red blouses or shirts. Some are professionals from Health, Social Care or other third sector organisations, many are actual Carers, who have perhaps lost their loved one and who find great reward by bringing their wealth of knowledge and understanding to others in a similar situation. Volunteers are essential to the MASE as they are always on-hand to answer questions and give emotional support, whilst at the same time ‘waiting on’ the people attending the MASE.
The MASE is a best example of joint working across professional boundaries. Carers often comment that one major benefit of the MASE is the familiar friendly faces of the regular volunteers that attend each of the evenings. Many Carers also state how beneficial it is having someone who will simply sit with them and spend time listening to their problems. Carers can speak in confidence knowing their loved ones are being looked after by the Community Psychiatric Nurses that attend each MASE or by one of the volunteers.
Local Councillors have also shown their support for the MASE by donating funds towards red blouses/shirts for volunteers to wear at each MASE making them easily identifiable to the Carers should the need arise during the evening.
Some of the comments we have gratefully received:
“Thank you all for a wonderful evening. I cannot suggest anything more, it was a great evening and I can’t wait for the next one”
“Why can’t we have a MASE every week?”
“You will never know how much we appreciate being with people each month”
“Having someone to just listen is so valuable”
“First class evening – nothing like it. Please keep going”
Please come along and join us for a wonderful evening.
Registered Charity No: 1137193 – The Monthly Alzheimer’s Support Evening Limited (MASE)
Company Limited by Guarantee No: 7228424