"A strong, vibrant community built by dedicated volunteers and staff, supporting people to live well with dementia"

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
the MBE for volunteer groups
awarded 2 June 2018

Registered Charity No. 1166596
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NEWSLETTER : 8th September 2019

Hi everyone,

It's been a great week with Music 4 Memory and our regular services all beginning again after the summer break and the weekly rhythm, routine and stability so important to many of us, starting to re embed. 

I've noticed a real sense of purpose, energy with the positivity that comes from being part of a supportive and dynamic community.

This week we've been enjoying the late summer sunshine with our trip to the Elisabeth Curtis Stables on Tuesday, the Nordic walking taster session on Friday and the Allotment Open day yesterday, it's been great to get out into the fresh air and enjoy time together.

Well done Chris for winning first prize for her culinary mastery, delicious cake and fabulous brownies.  

Some of you may be aware that I've enrolled to undertake some further study at the University of Stirling. I'm really excited to have this opportunity to deepen my academic knowledge and also to be able to share with my fellow students and tutors the good work and practical application that we practice together at Tibbs. I hope I can cascade the learning and share this with you and that you will continue to help me to develop my thinking as I try and marry the theory and practice together. 

This is already happening as the first module focuses on the value of being outdoors and at one with nature, how this important to us all, and perhaps increases in significance as we grow older. Feeling the wind, the sun, the rain on our faces can be life enhancing and invigorating, spending time outdoors in natural daytime light can lift our mood and help maintain our circadian rhythm. 

So continue coming on our walks, going to the allotment and take advantage of the trips and outings that enable us to share outdoor activities together, it's good for us..... the text books say so!!

Just to draw your attention to Service Updates:
  • Potton Music 4 Memory will be planting plants in their new community garden box in the town square on Wednesday
  • Storytelling Rob will be telling tales on Thursday
  • Park Walk on Friday
  • Annual outing to Woburn on Saturday.

Look at the fundraising section for details of:
  • Afternoon Tea at the Sharnbrook Hotel on 19th September
  • Last few tickets available for this special event. Get yours now so you don't miss out. Please note the Thursday afternoon Music 4 Memory session won't be taking place that afternoon as we hope you'll all be coming to enjoy tea and to sing and dance as we combine our favourite things, singing and scones, delicious delicacies and delicate dancing, laughter, friendship, tea, and chat in a wonderfully celebratory afternoon together. 
  • Stride out for Memory
  • Mainline Big Band Concert 

Blue Badges
As of now people with some 'hidden disabilities' will be eligible to apply for a blue badge parking permit. This will include some people with a dementia diagnosis.

Around 2.4 million people with disabilities in England already have a Blue Badge parking permit, but under the new guidelines, people with hidden disabilities can apply for one.

Depending on the location, the permits often enable holders to park free of charge in pay and display bays and for up to three hours on yellow lines.

The extension of the criteria now includes people with less visible conditions which make it difficult to walk.

This includes people  who can’t walk the course of a journey because of physical difficulties, because they could cause harm to others or because walking causes them considerable psychological distress.

For more information  about how to apply check out

With best wishes

Sarah Russell, CEO


Margaret- Anne Tibbs 
Blog 49. How to be us.

When I wrote my last blog, I mentioned the work of Steven Sabat. I said I had just ordered his most recent book and that I would share any of his ideas which might be of interest to people in our community.

To remind us – Sabat is an Emeritus Professor (that means he has retired) of Neuropsychology at Georgetown University who has worked in the field of dementia in the USA since 1980. He has written many books and this one is called Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia: What everyone needs to know. (2018. Oxford University Press) I had seen his name online with  Dementia Alliance International (the global forum for people with dementia) – where his name comes up as a friend and supporter. So, I went hunting for him online. Kate Swaffer – a well-known figure in this forum says, “This book focuses on our capacity and what we can still do to find meaning and purpose in our lives”. Bingo!

What I want to share with you are his ideas on the importance of the social environment or context of the person with dementia. This means the people who are close – like family members – and also the wider society in which we all live. Sabat starts with looking at stereotypes about age initially. We are all familiar with the wide-spread use of the term “seniors” in the United States for older people although we in the UK don’t use it like that. As an example of the negative way our culture sees old age, he takes the phrase “senior moments” which has now become part of everyday language. He asks why do these always refer to little lapses of memory and losing the thread in a conversation? Failures. Why can we not say “I’m having a senior moment” after saying something wise or showing an act of kindness? successes. Don’t you think that’s a neat thought? The fact that we can’t use it like that shows how we have all bought into this idea that getting old is a bad thing.

The stereotypes around dementia are so widespread and so well known that I don’t have to remind you. Phrases like “the burden” or even the “tsunami” of dementia are often heard. So are dreadful expressions like “the death which leaves the body behind” and “the long good-bye” or describing a person as an “empty shell”. Twenty years ago, Kitwood identified 17 ways of reacting to people with dementia which demean and belittle them. These are in response to the stereotypes. He called the examples of what he called “Malignant Social Psychology” and I found it interesting to see them quoted in full in Sabat’s book.

This stuff is as relevant now as when he wrote it 20 years ago and applies equally to people living at home as it does to the long-term care homes where he observed them. The thing is – people are not being deliberately unkind when they think and behave in a way which reinforces these stereotypes. But unless we challenge them, they will continue to thrive. This is why the word “dementia” still frightens people out of their wits.

So, what should we be doing?

Our aim, says Sabat, should be to help people to feel safe. He focuses on the main element of the social world which is communication. This is a particular challenge for people whose language skills are beginning to be lost. We have many people like this in our community and it applies equally well to groups as in one to one conversations. It is a challenge for all concerned.

1.Intentional stance.
“This means” he says “that we view what the person does or says as an attempt to communicate something even if they say something that is unclear to us. That is, we assume that the person with dementia has thoughts, feelings, attitudes and beliefs that he or she wants to share despite his or her word-finding or other language related difficulties”. Another gem “If I do not understand what the person with dementia says, he or she is not ‘confused’. Rather, I am! I totally agree with Sabat, but I am under no illusions about how difficult it is – especially in a group. We just have to try our best.

2.Active listening.
Having taken the first point on board we then have to learn how to listen actively. “When we truly care about our partner in conversation, we give him or her our focused attention and if we are not sure we understand what he or she is saying, we say so.”  He tells us not to ‘’zone out’ like we might if we are talking to someone on the phone with one eye on the TV programme we were watching. He also says we shouldn’t say “Okay. That’s all right” when someone is trying really hard to tell us something, expressing their frustration and emotion at not being able to find the words. By saying ‘Okay’ the speaker is communicating that he or she understands what the person is saying when the opposite is true. We should say ‘I’m having trouble understanding what you’re saying’ because that is the truth. Better yet is saying with great sincerity, ‘I’m having trouble understanding what you’re saying, and I need your help’.
That really brought me up short. I think I have been doing this wrong. My desire to reassure the person has made me do just what Sabat says we should not.

3. Indirect repair.
Sabat starts by saying what it is not. A teacher corrects the pronunciation or grammar of a pupil. This is direct repair. He then gives examples of indirect repair. “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying…let me see if I do. You’re saying that…? The other person can then indicate yes or no”. You could try out the word you think they are searching for, or the feeling they are expressing. This tells the person that you are taking them seriously. Demonstrate that you’re listening – hearing more than just the words. Now you are on a ‘joint venture’ to figure out what the person is trying to communicate. This gives them more confidence that you are listening actively and caring about what he or she was saying. This allows the person to feel safe
Sabat makes extensive use of long case histories from his practice to illustrate his theories and they are fascinating but obviously too long to include in this blog. Finally, he talks about being what he calls

4.a non-anxious presence
He makes the point that when people are living day to day with ongoing anxieties about not being able to remember the nuts and bolts of how to live their everyday life and the world is becoming increasingly confusing, “the last thing they need is to be in the presence of someone who is a fountain of anxiety in reaction to whatever it is that they (the person with dementia) are doing or failing to do”. This must be so hard for care partners to sustain 24/7. I totally get that. And I think and hope that this is what we are providing in the Tibbs groups. The facilitators are able to provide this all important ‘non-anxious presence’. I really love that expression. I’d love us to start a discussion about these ideas.



Service Updates
 Story telling Rob:
This Thursday our fabulous storytelling genius Rob Marchment will be joining us once again to regale his tales and perceptions on life in his usual entertaining, amusing and spellbinding way.

Come along and join us - if you haven't experienced Rob's tales you really should. He'll be at the Thursday Activitea Group at St Andrews Church from 11.30am- 12.30pm. All welcome you don't have to a member of Activitea, this session is open to everyone.

Anyone for tennis..
Come down this Thursday and have a go. Come along and perfect your tennis skills. Using a soft ball this is a safe and perfect way to boost your fitness, have fun and meet new people. We'll be meeting for 7 weekly sessions from 1.30pm- 3.30pm. Sessions take place indoors at The Athletics Stadium on Barkers Lane. These sessions cost just £4.50 per player and you can come for each session or some and for all or part of the time. All equipment is provided just wear comfortable clothes and soft shoes. Everyone welcome talent, skill or none. Fit or not come along, join in the fun.

Tibbs Annual Outing.
Our annual coach trip will take place next Saturday 14th September. This is always a popular event when we have an opportunity to relax and unwind together as we enjoy a full day out. As people enjoyed seeing the animals at Woburn Safari Park last year we are returning for a second time. There was plenty to do as well as having a full tour of the safari park where we had fantastic close up views of the animals. 

On the way back we will stop at the Maypole Restaurant for a Carvery meal. Tickets are 22.00 per person to include the carvery meal entry to the park and the coach. 

We will leave from Aspects carpark on Barkers Lane at 10am and anticipate returning to Bedford after our meal by 7pm.

For more information please speak to Stef or Dianne.
The gentleman's carers group
The next meeting will be Friday 20th September at 12pm at the Foresters pub on Union Street.
If you are a gentleman, a family carer or former carer why not call in for a beer and banter or a coke and a chat.


Hear and Now
We are celebrating our 10th year of working with Fusion Youth Choir and the Philharmonia Orchestra on the Hear and Now Project with a special project through the Autumn, it would be wonderful if you could be involved, it's always a wonderful time of laughter, creativity, friendship and fun with the guidance and support of world class musicians and of course led by the creative genius of Tim Steiner.

Come to some or come to all of the project but please do get involved, whether you attend Music 4 Memory or not, whether you have musical skill, experience or not. All that's required is an open mind and to be prepared to be part of a special, unique and transformative experience.   

We start our Hear and Now activities with a trip to the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday 29th September. The coach leaves Bedford at 9.30am and we should return by 7pm. We'll have an opportunity to watch the Orchestra rehearse before being taken on a back stage tour where we get to meet some of the musicians before enjoying our own creative workshop in the afternoon. If you are interested pick up a form at Music 4 Memory or contact the office and we can send one out to you.

Overview Details for the Project:
Sunday,29 Sept
ALL DAY RFH Rehearsal visit and workshop Royal Festival Hall, London
Sunday,27 Oct
Creative workshop 1
All Saints Church, Bedford
Saturday,2 Nov
Creative workshop 2
University of Bedford, Bedford
Saturday,9 Nov
Creative workshop 3
University of Bedford, Bedford
Sunday,10 Nov
Creative workshop 4
University of Bedford, Bedford
Saturday,16 Nov 10:00-16:00  EVE Creative workshop 5  University of Bedford, Bedford
Sunday,17 Nov
REHEARSAL and CONCERT University of Bedford, Bedford
Come and join us for this fun Fundraising Event for Tibbs Dementia Foundation in Association with East London Foundation Trust ( The Memory Clinic)

We're coming together on Saturday 5th October 2019 at Priory Country Park, Barkers Lane, Bedford,MK41 9DJ for a walk around Priory Park to help raise money for Tibbs Dementia Foundation to support people living with young onset dementia. 

As well as great fundraising activity this will be a fantastic opportunity for our community to join together, with family, friends and supporters as we walk together, making a statement that together we are strong and we achieve much more than we ever thought possible.

Please come and join us, everyone's welcome to this relaxed community event. Suggested donation £5 on the day, 16 and under free.
Programme of Events
10:30:  Meet at Priory Country Park main car park entrance,     
            where marshals will guide you to the meeting point behind     
            the Cloverdale Café
 11:00:  Thai Chi Warm up
11.30:  Stride out for Memory Walk*
12:30:  Refreshments available for purchase at Cloverdale Cafe or bring a picnic (depending on the weather!)

*walk is one lap of the lake but shorter walk is possible, please dress appropriately  for the weather and bring a bottle of water

Mainline Big Band

An event not to be missed as we join Mainline Big Band as they celebrate their big anniversary with a concert to raise funds for Tibbs Dementia Foundation. This will be an afternoon of fantastic music, dance, tea and cake. A chance to relax amongst friends whilst whilst being dazzled by the wonderful sound of the fabulous Big Band Sound that is Mainline Big Band.

Saturday 12th October
Great Denham Community Hall 86 Saxon Way MK40 4GP

Admission on the door £8.00 (£5.00 under16s) and Includes tea and cake

Hurry last few tickets- buy yours now! Special Treat for Tibbs.- Italian Afternoon tea at The Sharnbrook Hotel
Tickets are selling fast, buy yours now. This will be a fantastic event in a relaxed and welcoming environment. The afternoon tea will be stunning and a great way to raise funds for our wonderful charity. Why not invite a couple of friends to join you and make it a really special occasion.

This promises to be a wonderful afternoon on Thursday 19th September including a delicious Italian Afternoon Tea served in the beautiful and prestigious setting of The Sharnbrook Hotel. A full afternoon tea will be served as well as entertainment and of course the chance to relax amongst friends whilst helping to raise funds for our great community.

Mezza Luna Panini: 
Parma Ham, Mozzarella, Tomato & Basil drizzled with olive oil
Chicken Mayo & Spring Onion
Smoked Salmon, Arugula & Cream Cheese

Homemade Arancini

Freshly Made Traditional Scone 
served with clotted cream & preserve

Tiramisu All'Espresso
Nonna’s Chocolate Tartufo
Chocolate Lobster Tail
Limoncello Posset & Amaretti

Tickets are 20.00 each and can be purchased through our office by calling 01234 210993. Hurry to buy your tickets as they will sell quickly.

Thank you to the staff at the Sharnbrook Hotel for supporting this event and the opportunity for us to enjoy a truly wonderful afternoon together.
*  We know that you love coming to our services & events but, for reasons including health & safety and insurance, please don’t arrive more than 10 minutes before the start time. Thank you  *
MON 9 SEPT 10.45-12.30 *CS Activity and Encompass St Andrews Church
  11.30-13.00 *Walking Football Athletics Stadium
  14.00- 15.45 *CST and Encompass St Andrews Church
  14.00- 16.00 Music 4 Memory Charter House
TUE 10 SEPT 11.00- 12.00 Swimming Kempston Pool
  12.30-13.45 Indoor Bowls Kempston Park Bowls
  14.00-16.00 Kempston Drop in with carers well-being group Kempston East Methodist Church
  14,30-16.00 Carers Together Sharnbrook Methodist Church
 WED 11 SEPT 10.30- 12.15 *CST Flitwick and carers self support group Flitwick library
   10.30- 13.00 *Support for Memory Dame Alice Court
  14.00-15.30 Clear Voices 1 and 2 Dame Alice Court
  14.30-16.00 Music 4 Memory {meet at 13.00 for planting session} Potton Community Centre
 THUR 12 SEPT 10.00-11.45 Music 4 Memory and Encompass Oakley Village Hall
  10.30- 12.15 Allotment project  Mile Road
  11.00-13.00 Activitea with Rob's storytelling and carers self support group St Andrews Church
  14.00- 15.45 Music 4 Memory Parish Room Queen's Park
   13.30- 15.30 Short tennis Athletics Stadium
 FRI 13 SEPT 10.00-11.45 Music 4 Memory Queen's Park Community Centre
  14.30-16,00 Park walk Bedford Park (Pavilion cafe)
  14.30-16.00 CST and Encompass + Activitea Encompass St Andrews Church
 SAT 14 SEPT    Woburn Day Trip  Aspects car park

Please Note : Most of our services are open to all people with dementia and/or their families to just come along whenever you wish – although we would recommend you talk to us to check their suitability for you. However, services denoted with * are specialist services with a fixed number of places, so please contact us in advance regarding joining these (and there may be a waiting list). Contact us for details of our At Home Music Therapy service or if you would like to speak to one of our trained counsellors.
Click Here to Contact Us
Sarah Russell
Chief Executive Officer

Tibbs Dementia Foundation
5 Lansdowne Road, Bedford, MK40 2BY
Tel : 01234 – 210993
Email :
Website :

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