Cath staying young at heart thanks to Wolves' support

18 Dec 2021

95-year-old widow has dementia but still attends matches at Molineux thanks to help from the club

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English football announces joint action plan on brain health
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'Golden Memories is a lifeline for people with dementia'

One part of English football's joint action plan on brain health announced today is a commitment by the Premier League and The FA to working with Alzheimer's Society on dementia-friendly stadiums.

Such support is already in place at some of our clubs including Wolverhampton Wanderers, who have ensured that 95-year-old lifelong fan Cath Owen still attends Premier League matches despite the loss of her husband this year and the onset of dementia.

An inability to attend fixtures in person during the COVID-19 pandemic led to a decline in Cath's health but when the chance came to return it was transformative.

"As soon as we sat down in the seats, that dementia just faded and the real Cath came out," says Dianne Carnell, her personal assistant. "Listening to her singing, it was amazing."

Helping independence

To help Cath and other people with dementia, Wolves disability access officer, Laura Wright, has developed a pack to make them feel more independent and comfortable on matchdays at Molineux.

The matchday packs include a specially created map to help participants make their way to their seats, stickers on seats so they are easy to find, a reminiscence activity as well as a wristband in case they need extra assistance.

And now Saturdays for Cath and watching her beloved Wolves again are something to look forward to.

"Everyone's nice to me and I have always enjoyed being here," Cath says.

Positive impact

Even though Cath's family are in Scotland, they are fully aware of the impact that attending matches has on her.

"Her family are so happy," says Wright. "They know that if she could not come to the Wolves, the decline would be more rapid. 

"Football brings people together and if we can think of little projects like this to let people have their independence they can come here each week and be part of the community."

The Premier League and FA's commitment on dementia-friendly stadiums will include reviewing the Accessible Stadia Guide and ensuring support for dementia contributes to clubs' Premier League Equality, Diversity and Inclusion accreditation.

See: English football announces joint action plan on brain health

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