If you’re caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease, or any other form of dementia, you may find yourself looking for ways to engage with your loved one while connecting with other caregivers. Visiting a local memory café may be just the thing you’re looking for. Memory cafés are excellent resources for caregivers, their loved one’s living with memory impairment, and for those with any form of mild cognitive impairment.
What is a Memory Café?
A memory café is typically hosted or facilitated by local health care professionals and provides resources to those affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. They are also excellent places to meet other people facing similar challenges as you and your loved ones. Memory cafés are hosted in various locations, including your local coffee shops, restaurants, senior centers, senior living communities, and libraries. Typically, the memory café will be open on the same day and time, whether it be once a week, every other week, or once a month at the same time and place.
What happens at a Memory Café?
Memory cafés are meant to be visited by caregivers and their loved ones together where they can socialize, take advantage of educational resources, get support from others, and enjoy engaging activities geared toward those with memory impairment. Activities can vary from one memory café to another and revolve around having fun while reminiscing about the good old days. Listening to music, engaging in an arts and crafts project, dancing, looking at pictures, and having discussions about the past are just some of the activities that may be offered at your local memory café. Of course, everyone is encouraged to make new friends and develop deeper relationships with their loved ones.
Where is my local Memory Café?
The memory café originated in the Netherlands in the late nineties to break the stereotypes and stigmas associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Since then, they’ve become popular throughout Australia, Europe, and the United States. If you’re interested in visiting a memory café, inquire at your local senior center, library, or with your loved one’s physician. You can also check online to find a memory café near you. If one doesn’t exist in your area, consider working with others to start one.
If you’re still unsure if a memory café is suitable for you and your loved one, consider visiting one alone first to talk to those in attendance and get a feel for how it works before bringing your loved one along.