How we help

Dementia Group with Guide

Our services are accessible to anyone with a dementia diagnosis still residing in the community and their family/ whanau and care-partner. 


    1. Dementia Support Services [Pamphlet in PDF format]
    2. West Coast Dementia Support Services [Pamphlet in PDF format]
    3. Social Work Support
    4. Services for People with Dementia
    5. Services for Carers/Family
    6. Community Cafés
    7. Activity Groups

    Social Work Support 

    Our Social Work service is an integral part of the support offered by Dementia Canterbury to people diagnosed with dementia and their families/whānau. The social work team can assist people with:

    • understanding dementia 
    • coming to terms with a diagnosis
    • adapting to changes within relationships
    • grief and loss related to change
    • education and information
    • reducing stress and social isolation
    • managing behavioural changes
    • legal and financial issues
    • abuse/neglect
    • providing Total Mobility Taxi Cards

    One of our social workers can arrange to meet you and/or your family/whānau at your home or at the Dementia Canterbury office to discuss your situation, including any concerns and needs you may have. Social work support enables you to access information, educational courses and materials and services from Dementia Canterbury and the wider community. Based on your choices and unique situation, a social worker will advocate on your behalf when necessary and will assist you in coping with change, in order to achieve the best outcome possible.

    Referrals for social work support can come via your GP, the Memory Assessment Clinic, Psychiatric Services for the Elderly and any other service within the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) by completing the referral form. You may also self-refer in order to access social work support by speaking to a duty social worker at the Dementia Canterbury office, within our opening hours (Monday to Friday 8.30 am - 4.30 pm) or by calling 03 379 2590.

    Services for People with Dementia

    • Education Serivces - Introduction to Living Well - education about dementia 
      A four part education course held over four consecutive Fridays providing education on understanding dementia, communication strategies, self-care and services avaliable to provide support
    • Brain Ignition Series 
      A four part series of stimulating workshops to keep your brain activated and energised
    • Monthly Memory Groups
      These monthly groups are accessed  via your Social Worker
    • Social Program
      Six organised events per year including a mid-winter lunch, a movie, a picnic, a tea dance 
    • Activity Groups
      These include Artzheimers, Next Chapter Book Group and McBakers - for further information see below
    • Younger Onset Support Group 
      Monthly meetings for people with dementia under the age of 65
    • Community Cafes

    Services for Carers/Family

    • Education Services - Introduction to Living Well - education about dementia
    • Making a Difference Courses (Regional ie Ashburton, Rangiora, West Coast)
    • Carers Monthly Support Groups - organised via your Social Worker
    • Younger Onset Carers Group - organised via your Social Worker
    • Younger Onset Carers Facebook Group - organised via your Social Worker
    • Post Placement Group Series - organised via your Social Worker
    • Weekend -Introduction to Living Well - held twice yearly for people unable to attend the week- day sessions
    • Social Program - 6 organised events per year
    • Community Cafes 
      An opportunity for people with dementia and their care partners to meet with others in their local community.  See below for information on their various locations.

    Community Cafés

    An opportunity for people with dementia and their care partners to meet with others in their local community . These groups are held in café's in: Ferrymead, New Brighton, Spreydon, Harewood, Wigram, Kaiapoi, Greymouth, Hokitika, Westport & Ashburton. 

    Activity Groups

    Please note that all our Activities Groups have limited numbers and may not be suitable for everyone.  More groups are being introduced all the time so please enquire with your Social Worker what is available.

      » Artzheimers 

      In joint collaboration with the Christchurch City Art Gallery, Dementia Canterbury is running a group called "Artzheimers". This is a group held twice a month for people living in the community with any kind of dementia. The focus is art appreciation, and the program introduces two different artworks to each group. A volunteer from the gallery presents each work talking about its history and then the group discuss the work itself.

      The artwork serves as a mechanism for evoking memory, promoting expression of emotion and using art as a means of encouraging cognition. Small postcards of the two works dicusssed are given to the participants to take home after each sesson. 

      » Gardening Group

      Volunteering at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. This popular group is held monthly in collaboration with the Botanic Gardens to increase confidence and a sense of belonging and purpose.

      » Watermemories Aquatic Group

      Watermemories is a monthly Aquatic Exercise Group, held in Rangiora and Christchurch, that aims to rekindle positive memories of water based activities for people who are living with dementia. Water-based activity has many benefits. The Watermemories Groups have been known to help with:

      • Sleep
      • Appetite
      • Pain
      • Stress
      • Emotional Well Being
      • Physical Strength and Flexibility
      • Developing Social Supports and Networks
      • Experiencing Fun and Enjoyment

      » Court Theatre Group

      The Court Theatre Group enables people living with dementia to access the rich and varied resources the Court Theatre has available. This groups offers:

      • Increased opportunity for meaningful social engagement and interaction in a community setting of value for individuals who have a previous interest and love for attending live theatre productions.
      • Providing carers with the option of sharing the experience and stepping out of the carer role and back into the role of partner; family member; friend, which aids in strengthening relationships.
      • Opportunity to work with youth members of the Court Theatre.

      » 'McBakers' Volunteer Baking for Ronald McDonald

      The baking group consists of up to four to six members and a Dementia Canterbury staff member. Clients work as Ronald McDonald volunteers baking goods for families staying at the House. The benefits of volunteer work for individuals has been well documented as people enjoy the ‘feel good’ factor of giving to others. The group is held at the Ronald McDonald premises This is a monthly activity. Members are involved in deciding what to bake, and shopping for ingredients with the help of a Dementia Canterbury staff member and volunteer(s).

      » Life History Group

      In collaboration with Christchurch City Libraries ‘Life History’ books are created celebrating and showcasing clients’ lives through pictures, stories, newspaper clippings etc. The story books are a great tool for evoking memories and sharing stories, rekindling feelings of self-worth and significance. This group occurs in six-week blocks. 

      » 'The Next Chapter' Library Group

      The Book group consists of up to ten people and is facilitated by a librarian with a Dementia Canterbury staff member present. The sessions are organised thematically around such subjects as Anzac day, Spring, dance halls, the beach etc.  Literature related to the theme such as poems, short stories and diaries are read by the librarian and discussed by the group. Archival resources related to the theme may also be available eg. photographs and contents from the Libraries’ memory boxes to supplement discussions and group members own recollections. Groups are twice per month.

      » Opawa Gardening Group

      A monthly group at the Opawa Community Garden working together to plant and cultivate in a shared environment.

      Opawa Garden Group

      » Walking Groups

      Two groups per month at different locations in partnership with existing neighbourhood community centres.

      » Bunnings Group

      One group per month at Marshlands Road Bunnings



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