26 September 2019

Bonding over chess at Arcare Hope Island: Doug and Daniel

When I first started at Arcare Hope Island ’s café on 20th Dec 2018, I noticed that Doug would come down and get 2 coffees then head back upstairs to his room.

Approximately 6 weeks ago, I was having a quiet day in the café, so I sat down and started chatting with him about old stories when he said something about chess.

I asked if he liked playing chess or any other games and he stated that he loved playing chess in his younger days and that it had been about 50 years since he had last played.

I said we will have to play a game.

I asked Allison in lifestyle if I was able to bring in a chessboard from home, but Allison said there were a couple upstairs that I was welcome to use.

Since our first game approximately 6 weeks ago, I have noticed Doug’s speech has gotten better and he stated that he feels his memory has improved.

For me, hearing this is quite moving and joyful that playing chess has helped Doug, lifted his feelings and given him something to look forward to.

Now when I come into work it doesn’t feel like I’m working, but more like I am coming in to see friends as I also talk more with other residents now.

By starting this with Doug, I hope to encourage others to come down and have a go at playing chess and developing friendships within the community while also getting the brain working as with Chess you are always thinking. It’s a fun and easy game to pick up as well.

By Daniel Rae, Café Barista at Arcare Hope Island

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