COOKERY classes are to be held for those caring for people with dementia, in a first of its kind initiative in the North East.

Newcastle-based Dementia Care is opening its kitchens to men and women wanting to learn how to cater for loved ones with dementia.

The award winning charity, at The Bradbury Centre, Darrell St, Brunswick Village, is holding two, free courses in conjunction with Byker-based social enterprise, Food Nation.

Each 90-minute session will give carers the chance to cook a meal, learn various aspects of health and nutrition and enable them to ask questions in a supportive environment.

And along with teaching carers the basics of meal planning and preparation, the sessions will help them understand the specific issues surrounding eating and dementia.

“One thing that happens with couples when one of them develops dementia is that the relationship changes,” said Carol Brown, Head of Care at Dementia Care.

“Whereas before they would probably share things, now the spouse without dementia increasingly has to do everything, including the cooking.

“Over time, a person with dementia can find eating and drinking more difficult. Mealtimes can become a struggle, either because they find the effort too hard, they simply don’t recognise that they are hungry and need to eat, or they may think they have already eaten.

“It is important that they continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet and to try and make food attractive so they will want to eat and enjoy their food.”

The first course, lasting five weeks, is for men only and will be held weekly on Fridays from 11.30am to 1pm at The Bradbury Centre, starting on 24 February.

The second course will last four weeks and will be held on Saturday mornings, at the same times, starting on 18 March.

To book, or for further information, call Dementia Care on 0191 217 1323 or visit www.dementiacare.org.uk.