Magical meeting between two old friends at Harlow memory cafe

Communities / Thu 18th May 2023 at 08:12am

THERE was a “magical moment” in a Harlow memory cafe when a man living with dementia recognised his former next door neighbour. The unexpected reunion took place when 88-year-old Joe Miechielsens was enjoying an outing in Harlow.

Joe, who has advanced dementia, is a resident at Ashbrook Court care home, in Waltham Abbey. During a visit to The Moot House, he recognised John Harris who was in there having tea – someone he had lived next door to for 50 years.

Ashbrook Court’s lifestyle coordinator Billie Duffy said: “It was clear Joe knew exactly who John was and it was really a magical moment given that Joe can find communication challenging. We take our residents out regularly, and we weren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary to happen, so this was a beautiful surprise for Joe and it was so heart-warming to see him recognise John.”

The home is focused on improving the wellbeing and overall quality of life of their residents so the team regularly take residents on outings. The memory cafe in Harlow, which caters specifically for people and carers who live with dementia, is a firm favourite amongst the home’s residents who are regular visitors.

Joe’s daughter Julie has fond memories of her time growing up in the family home and has kept in touch with John’s daughters. She was delighted to hear that her dad had seen John at the café and that he remembered him.

She said: “I’m sure it brought back so many memories, and it was a lovely moment for him to experience.”

Care home manager Jonathane Ribeiro added: “We are very passionate about all of our residents being treated as individuals and creating positive, meaningful experiences for them. This was clearly such a special moment for Joe and helping him to reminisce about his life with such a close friend, as well as creating new memories, is really important to us.”

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2 Comments for Magical meeting between two old friends at Harlow memory cafe:

Jane Gyamfi-Sarkodie
2023-05-18 09:07:26


2023-05-18 16:05:56

Just as magical too for John , my uncle, his face tells it all.

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