The person that we know of as Marion Kennedy is not actually her real name - it's Marion Dow and she was a psychiatric nurse. She wrote a book about her life as a nurse called The Wrong Side of the Door under the nom-de-plume Marion Kennedy. She owned a property on Ihaka Street in Palmerston North.
Her step brother Graeme had seen The Marsden Club in Wellington and after Marion's entry into care, made contact with a group of social workers that were starting up a centre. Marion's property on Ihaka Street then became the sight of the very first centre. In August 1991, the first day care centre was developed based at the Ihaka Street location. This was first managed by a woman named Yolanda O'Keefe until Trish Mellings took over in January 1993. Gavin York started working at the centre in 1992, where he still remains as the Diversional Therapist.
The centre then moved to Tremaine Avenue in an older style house before moving to Featherston Street, where Alzheimers Society Manawatu now operates from.
In December 2014, a house in Dannevirke was left to Alzheimers Manawatu from David J Sharplin through a bequest. The house was sold and the funds used to purchase 3 Elliot Street. Another bequest from Dorothy Helen Thompson allowed us to remove the existing house on the property and create New Zealand's very first Dementia Friendly building. This building was opening on World Alzheimers Day - 21st September 2020.
This is now where the Marion Kennedy Club Palmerston North runs its program from.
Marion Kennedy Club provides social and cognitive stimulation for the person with dementia whilst also giving the carer respite.
MKC club days are available in Palmerston North, Feilding, Levin , & Dannevirke.
Referrals can be made by the carer or families, Supportlinks, Health Professionals, Support Agencies or by self referral.