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Making Memories at Memory Cafes

Posted By Sally Abrahms On July 17, 2013 @ 7:40 am In Take Care | Comments Disabled

YouTube Preview Image [1]

Caregivers [2]often say that one of the hardest parts of dealing with dementia [3], Alzheimer’s [4] and other memory loss [5] is the absence of the normal interactions they once had in a couple or parent/child relationship. Instead, these days are full of difficult and tedious tasks. 

Memory cafés are a break from the routine. They’re an informal place for caregivers and their loved ones to gather for conversation, companionship, games [6] and activities, musical entertainment [7], perhaps, and an occasional outing. Some have an educational resources, such as an Alzheimer’s expert, but others are purely social.

Win a $25.00 gift card by sharing your treasured memory in our online community! [8]

More than anything, they aim to restore normalcy-and fun-to caregivers [9] and their loved ones with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s [10]. The other obvious plus is that it’s a place to go where others are dealing with similar issues.

“What people say they love about the cafés,” says Lori La Bey, founder of the advocacy group Alzheimer’s Speaks [11] and a facilitator at two memory cafes in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, “is that it’s the one place to have fun and feel safe where they don’t have to apologize, be embarrassed or explain. They can have friends again and be a couple.”

Rather than focus on the disease or be a place to vent, cafés are an opportunity for caregivers and loved ones to do what they’re able, not unable, to do together. And that’s an important point.

The cafés may take place in a church, senior center, museum, hospital, public library, adult day care center or, yes, a real café. They typically last 1.5-2 hours and occur monthly, twice a month or more.

It’s hard to know how many there are nationwide, but experts guess 60 to 80. The concept originated in the Netherlands, then spread to England in 2000. In the U.K, the government picks up the tab for them. Here, most cafés are started by grassroots groups and staffed by volunteers. (The Alzheimer’s Association [12] does partner with a few groups.) The first Alzheimer’s café debuted in Santa Fe, N.M., in 2008.

To find a memory café near you or to start one:

They’re a great idea, but one question: what’s with the word “café?” I recently wrote about a new trend called death cafés [16]. They are places where people grab a cup of tea or a sweet and talk about the mostly taboo topic of you-know-what. Stayed tuned for the next kind of café. I’m on it already.

For more aging and boomer stories by Sally Abrahms, go to www.sallyabrahms.com [17]and follow her on twitter [18].

 

AARP Brain Fitness [19]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also of Interest

 

See the AARP home page [23] for deals, savings tips, trivia and more


Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/07/17/sally-abrahms-memory-cafes/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YxnZPtq5HM

[2] Caregivers : http://www.sallyabrahms.com/articles/caregiving-boomers

[3] dementia: http://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-03-2012/foods-may-lower-dementia-risk-slideshow.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[4] Alzheimer’s: http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-06-2013/living-with-alzheimers.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[5] memory loss: http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/info-08-2012/memory-lapses-that-are-normal.html?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[6] games: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/04/08/bob-stephen-games-help-isolation/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[7] musical entertainment: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/15/amy-goyer-music-therapy-as-a-tool-for-caregiver/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[8] Win a $25.00 gift card by sharing your treasured memory in our online community!: http://www.aarp.org/online-community/forums.action/home-garden_memoirs?intcmp=AE-IL-CONT-COMM

[9] caregivers: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/13/sally-abrahms-study-shows-caregivers-may-slow-dementia/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[10] Alzheimer’s: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/03/15/fda-eases-rules-for-new-alzheimers-drugs/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[11] Alzheimer’s Speaks: http://www.alzheimersspeaks.com

[12] Alzheimer’s Association: http://www.alz.org/

[13] Alzheimer’s Association (Memory : http://www.alz.org/nca/in_my_community_60076.asp#Memory_Cafe_locations

[14] Memory Café Catalyst Project: http://memorycafecatalyst.org/?page_id=50

[15] Third Age Services: Memory : http://thirdageservices.com/MemoryCafe.html

[16] death cafés: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/06/12/sally-abrahms-death-cafes-help-shake-fears-of-inevitable/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[17] www.sallyabrahms.com : http://www.sallyabrahms.com

[18] twitter: https://twitter.com/sallyabrahms

[19] Image: http://brain.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-CONT-BHQ-REL-BL

[20] The BRAIN Initiative: 5 Things to Noodle: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/04/02/brain-initiative-obama-health-programs-fighting-alzheimers-disease/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[21] Romance Lives On, Despite Alzheimer’s: http://blog.aarp.org/2013/02/14/amy-goyer-love-in-sickness-and-in-health/?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[22] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[23] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

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