The ‘Calm Oasis’ of Molineux Memories

The ‘Calm Oasis’ of Molineux Memories Image

For anyone who has a friend or family member diagnosed with dementia, that relationship is changed forever and the emotions and challenges can sometimes feel overpowering.

Both for the person diagnosed with the condition, and their loved ones, there can be new feelings of insecurity, a trepidation and lack of understanding about what comes next.

Everyone’s experiences are different, but a constant is to try and stay positive and motivated and, once a week, at Wolves Foundation, people with dementia and their carers can gather, share their thoughts and stories, and also, most importantly, have a good time!

Molineux Memories, run in partnership with Black Country NHS, not only features discussions but also quizzes, museum tours, a look back at memorabilia, and special guests, including former Wolves players, such as club Vice-President John Richards.

Borne out of such difficult circumstances, sessions can often become a magical place, with people recalling memories that have previously been locked away, prompting moments with family members which they thought had been lost forever.

Wolves Foundation ambassador and leading broadcaster Suzi Perry has her own experiences of dementia within her family, and has attended Molineux Memories several times with a friend whose father has the condition.

She sees huge value in the group which provides not just respite but such a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone who attends.

“When you think about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, I think most of us know someone who has been affected, whether that is the person concerned or their families,” says Suzi.

“My Grandma lived with Alzheimer’s for the last few years of her life and I saw the effects at first hand.

“It is such a cruel disease – I watched her disappear in front of our eyes and I saw how that affected my Mum as well, who passed away last year.

“There is such a sadness to feel like you are losing somebody, and you are grieving, even though they are still there.

“I found it hard to get my head around it.

“My best friend’s Dad is also affected, and that’s how I found out about Molineux Memories and came along to a few of the groups.

“It is such a lifeline for people to be able to head to Molineux on a weekly basis and get together and chat about the situation they find themselves in.”

It is a condition which inspires so many feelings, and Suzi herself understandably becomes emotional when talking about something which affected her family so much and remains a cause which is ‘so close to my heart’.

But in diving headlong into the discussions and the activities put on by Molineux Memories, she is also able to take comfort in the fact that those in attendance can take so much out of the sessions and can have their spirits lifted out of day-to-day challenges.

“It is such a lovely group and does a terrific job of testing people’s memories with the stories which come out – and the smiles,” Suzi explains.

“I have loved speaking to the people involved, including Alan, who has been coming to Molineux since the 1940s and has been telling me about the wooden seats in the stands before the 1980s rebuild.

“Every story then provokes another story from someone else, an individual memory and another smile, and you can see how people’s minds work so differently.

“There is such a great atmosphere, so warm and friendly, and I always really enjoy being part of the gang when I am able to go along.”

This week is both Dementia Action Week, aiming to raise awareness to improve the lives of people affected by dementia, and Mental Health Awareness Week, also a key project as people affected by dementia and their families can also see their mental health impacted as a result.

As well as being an ambassador of the Foundation, Suzi is also an ambassador for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and believes continuing research is the way to making further breakthroughs in treatment and medication to help people and their families.

As that work continues behind the scenes, she highlights groups like Molineux Memories as being so vitally important, particularly in providing calm enjoyment away from what can otherwise be the demanding intensity of day-to-day life.

“Any groups like this are really helpful and Molineux Memories is fantastic for bringing people together,” she adds.

“It is intense to live with someone with dementia on a daily basis and you can go through such an array of emotions.

“As a carer or family member, you know it affects the person but you can also feel alienated, frustrated, angry, sad and bewildered.

“Just being able to speak to someone experiencing the same as you is important, and to spend time together on an afternoon when you know that you are safe and your loved one with dementia is safe.

“The Foundation staff that run the sessions are brilliant, and it’s such a lovely community where you are welcomed with open arms.

“There were a couple of new people attending the last one I went to, and everyone applauded them and they walked out with a smile on their face which was another emotional moment.

 “Molineux Memories offers a calm oasis of knowledge – people know what you are going through and that means so much and makes such a difference.”


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Maximilian Kilman | Wolves Captain and Foundation Ambassador

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Daz James | Wolves Disability FC

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John Martin | Head 4 Health participant

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Mr Robinson | Woodsetton School

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Johnny Phillips | Sky Sports Presenter and Foundation Ambassador

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Mustafa | Football & Education College Academy student

"Frank has Alzheimer’s Disease and when he was first diagnosed we felt lost and alone. Attending Molineux Memories is a lifeline for both of us; it is run by friendly, committed staff who ensure that everyone is included and enjoys themselves."

Frank and Alison | Molineux Memories

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S-X | Music Producer and Foundation Ambassador

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Taye | Premier League Kicks

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Jack Rutter | Former Great Britain Paralympian and Foundation Ambassador

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Carl Ackasovs | Wolves Foundation

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