Making Tonbridge a Dementia Friendly Community

By 2015 there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. There are 40,000 younger people with dementia in the UK. There will be 1 million people with dementia in the UK by 2025. If you were to ask most people “what is dementia?” they would probably say “Alzheimers”. To a point that is true; Dementia is caused by a number of diseases that affect the brain, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s Disease. Different types of dementia affect the brain at different rates and in different ways, but other things like someone’s personal circumstances, the people around…

The Final Chapter. For Now

Day three and the threatened bad weather never arrived. What did arrive were the aches and pains again and the white van man who returned for the rest of the slabs. I really want to crack on today and get most of this finished.   Tomorrow is the Kent Festival of Bees being held near Canterbury. I want to go, especially as my friend, Mark, is presenting on ‘Show Honey’ Think I’m a long way off show honey, or any honey for that matter. I am continually surprised at how popular honey is. Everyone I have told about my plans seems…

Candles, Choirs and Stolen Cakes

 “Someday soon, perhaps in forty years, there will be no one alive who has ever known me. That’s when I will be truly dead – when I exist in no one’s memory. “I thought a lot about how someone very old is the last living individual to have known some person or cluster of people. When that person dies, the whole cluster dies, too, vanishes from the living memory. “I wonder who that person will be for me. Whose death will make me truly dead?” ― Irvin D. Yalom, Love’s Executioner and Other Tales of Psychotherapy This quote wasn’t actually…

Friends Together: Despite the Weather (and Technology…)

 Oh, dear! What can the matter be? In which Chris Parker is wrong several times, mislays some pensioners and takes on some tricksy technology but beats the British weather to have fun: We’d been arranging the trip to Hampshire since just after Christmas. Our Friends Together groups and members from Tonbridge, Paddock Wood and Tunbridge Wells were all looking forward to a day out. Back then, the end of May seemed reasonable: likely to be fairly warm, not too hot for our older members and – we hoped – dry. Wrong, wrong and wrong again. To be fair, the weather…

Coffee, a camera crew and a stopcock

Abbey’s Director Christine Parker reflects: Back in January this year, I went to the Dying Matters Awareness Week launch in London with a colleague from the National Society of  Allied and Independent Funeral Directors. I came away totally inspired to really ‘do something’ this year. Deciding on an event that would work in a rural town in Kent was challenging. What about a Death Café? I wasn’t sure that Tonbridge was quite ready . Coffee mornings seemed a safe bet but even they need a bit of an edge. The more I thought about the message from Dying Matters, the more…

Angel Community Garden, Tonbridge

A guest post by writer Karen Hart Dirty old plastic bags or lush scented herbs? The glint of broken glass or golden wallflowers? I didn’t need a second to decide when I visited the Angel Community Garden in Tonbridge yesterday. Do take a look at that link; the Twitter feed shows  how the featureless edge of a shopping centre car park has been transformed by volunteers. Floral displays always enhance towns and cities but it’s extra special when something’s been created by the inspiration, hard work and obvious love of a community. “It’s been enormously satisfying,” Christine Parker, from Abbey Funeral Services,  said when we arrived at the car park. “My car…

Five Things to Do Before I Die

‘We plan for everything else during our lives but very few plan for the inevitable.’ By Chris Parker, Managing Director of Abbey We’re holding two coffee mornings to raise funds for our bereavement charity Friends Together and to launch their end of life planning guide: ‘Five Things To Do Before I Die.’ They’re part of the Dying Matters Awareness Week (12-18 May 2013), organised by the Dying Matters Coalition to encourage people to talk openly about dying, death and bereavement. Throughout Dying Matters Awareness Week, events and activities are being held up and down the country to raise awareness about end of life…