KRC Genk opens country’s first Young Dementia Café

31 March 2023

KRC Genk opens country’s first Young Dementia Café

On 30 March, KRC Genk together with Flemish Minister of Welfare Hilde Crevits and Alzheimer Liga Vlaanderen opened the KRC Jongdementie (Young dementia) café in the Cegeka Arena – 1st café as such in Belgium.

The Jongdementie café now welcomes people, partners and children with young dementia on non-match days. Together with Alzheimer Liga Vlaanderen and vzw Menos, the Jongdementie café will include lectures and workshops. The initiators hope to convince other football clubs and organisations to jump on the bandwagon and make young dementia negotiable.

Every four seconds, someone somewhere in the world develops dementia. The chances of someone getting dementia are 1 in 5. For the first time, the disease is also the number one cause of death in Belgium. If the diagnosis falls before the age of 65, it is referred to as young dementia. Despite the dramatic impact young dementia has on society, there is still too much taboo surrounding the disease. That is why the FRZA! Foundation of KRC Genk, Alzheimer Liga Vlaanderen, and vzw Menos are joining forces to bring people with young dementia and their loved ones together in the country’s first Jongdementie café.

“Alzheimer Liga Vlaanderen is fully committed to a dementia-friendly society. As sport has a great impact on our society and is etched in the memory of many, an initiative such as the KRC Genk Jongdementie café is very important to raise awareness and give meaning to people with dementia and their carers. We notice that some other clubs are also already interested in looking at initiatives together, so that the sports world as a whole can help contribute to a dementia-inclusive world and offer people with dementia a quality and meaningful life.”

Rudy Poedts, Alzheimer Liga Vlaanderen

Café Pierre becomes KRC Jongdementie café

On Thursday 30 March, café Pierre was renamed the KRC Jongdementie café for the first time. For the occasion, the cast of ‘Restaurant Misunderstanding’ served the first guests snacks and drinks. Together with host Dieter Coppens, they looked back on the first season of the popular one programme. For the next three years, the KRC Jongdementie café will open its doors on non-game days. Both people with young dementia, partners and children of persons with young dementia can find each other there in a family and casual atmosphere.

“With the KRC Jongdementie café, we hope first and foremost to give people facing this terrible disease a place where they can be themselves without inhibition. Together with Alzheimer Liga Vlaanderen and vzw Menos, among others, we will organise lectures and workshops. But fellow sufferers can also run the café together. Every threshold they experience in daily life we will take away for them in the KRC Jongdementie café. With this initiative, we also hope to convince other football clubs and organisations to help make young dementia discussable. Our door is open to everyone.”

Niel Janssen, Community Coordinator at the FRZA! Foundation at KRC Genk

“Our motto is: ‘Supportively strong together’. We find that offering a forum (a table, a walk, an activity) to exchange experiences among themselves is very important for people with young dementia. They especially draw strength and support from this. They should not feel ashamed in this group either, because everyone is in the same boat. For some, life is tougher than for others, but the feeling of not being alone does a lot.”

Geert Swartenbroekx of Menos asbl

Football memories and folk games

The KRC Jongdementie will also feature a sports bag of football memories. Football Memories is a project that has come over from Scotland and the Netherlands. By reminiscing together from the rich club history and stimulating the brain, KRC Genk helps to combat young dementia together.

“In the programme, the cast of ‘Restaurant Misverstand’ (Radioshow ‘Restaurant Misunderstanding) showed in a courageous and heartwarming way what young dementia means and especially what great role we have as a society. You are only as limited as society considers you to be. That is why we from Flanders are strongly committed to an inclusive and dementia-friendly Flanders, where people with young dementia still play an active role and we as a society take into account their specific needs. The Jongdementie café of KRC Genk is a great example of this. I hope many more will follow in their footsteps.”

Hilde Crevits, Flemish Minister for Welfare

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