Dementia carers: lock in your lunch date

Ad Hoc lunch group dishes out meals and more to help dementia patients and carers

Carers
GUESTS OF HONOUR: From left, Ad Hoc volunteer Shilpi Aggarwa, whose son also helps out, with group founders Patrick and Margaret MacMillan.

GUESTS OF HONOUR: From left, Ad Hoc volunteer Shilpi Aggarwa, whose son also helps out, with group founders Patrick and Margaret MacMillan.

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Lunch group for dementia patients and carers serves up more than just food

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A lunch group in North Ryde has been serving up slap-up meals to people with dementia and their carers for more than two decades. 

With bubbles on arrival, diners can enjoy a hearty meal (think beef stroganoff, peaches and ice-cream) for just $10. 

The not-for-profit volunteer-run Ad Hoc lunch group was set up by Wahroonga’s Margaret MacMillan and husband Patrick.

Margaret was this year made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to people with Alzheimer’s disease and their carers. 

Penny Martin, who started volunteering three years ago and now runs the lunches on the last Saturday of the month, said Ad Hoc was “addictive”.

“It was through my friendship with Margaret and Pat that I became involved with the group,” Penny said.

“Dementia is a cruel and demanding disease: carers are on-call 24-7 with little or no respite.” She added that guests can relax “in a welcoming environment where everyone understands the issues they face and meet others in the same situation.”

Volunteers include children like Rosie, nine, and Samantha, 12, who travel with their mum from Newcastle to help out.

“Last year, I enlisted the aid of Duke of Edinburgh Award students as helpers,” Penny said. “It's great to see younger people responding to the need for community service. “We start at 8am on a Saturday lunch day and finish after 4pm so it's a long day of hard physical work for our crew.”   

The next lunch is August 25, 12.30pm, Vincent Fairfax Family Resource Centre, North Ryde.

  • 9888-4268, 0410 570-707.
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