Tue, 19/10/2021 - 10:58
Emer O'Brien, County Librarian, Mayor of the County of Cork, Gillian Coughlan, author Alice Taylor and Deirdre Murphy Cork County Council Library Age Friendly Services. sitting on two benches in an outdoor setting holding the promoted collection of poems and short stories

Cork County Council Library and Arts Service has released a collection of short stories, poems and recipes that can be read by, or read to, a person with dementia. The book, called ‘Come Sit Awhile’, hopes to support reminiscing. It includes articles from Ireland’s Own, works by local historians and family recipes from a well-known Irish chef.

The collection is part of the Library’s Age Friendly Programme which aims to create an inclusive place for older people, including those affected by dementia. Copies of the book are available to borrow from branch libraries and mobile libraries across County Cork.

The title ‘Come Sit Awhile’ was inspired by a poem written by Alice Taylor, the best-selling writer from County Cork, who joined Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Gillian Coughlan to launch the collection.

Speaking at the launch, Mayor Coughlan praised the Council’s Library and Arts Service for their hard work on the collection.  The Mayor said, “Research shows that reading poems and stories can have a positive effect on people with dementia, as does the act of evoking memories through reminiscence. I hope that this collection will summon happy memories for all who take the time to read it. I’m delighted to be able to launch this book with Alice Taylor today. Not only is the title inspired by her poetry but she is best known for her nostalgic works looking back at life in a small village which is really fitting.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey added “There are currently 64,000 people living with dementia in Ireland, the majority of which live in the community. Libraries are at the heart of these communities and play an essential role in providing information, services and access to resources for someone with dementia or their carers. We want our libraries to be welcoming and inclusive spaces for the entire community. The ‘Come Sit Awhile’ collection is an important element in our work towards that. We also appreciate the support and advice of the HSE through their programme ‘Dementia: Understand together in Communities’.”

Included in the book are six uplifting and easy to follow dementia-friendly short stories that were entered in a competition held by the Library as part of the Bealtaine Programme. The annual festival celebrates creativity in older age.

Other works in the collection include a recipe provided by Darina Allen for her mother’s apple pie, features written by local historians as well as articles from publications like Ireland’s Own. Library staff sought advice from the HSE and endeavored to include as many pieces as possible that support reminiscing.