All around the world – Welcome to the Memory Café/Alzheimer’s Café
And so, the buzz is spreading, from Europe, the United States, and now across Canada: welcome to a café style environment geared towards people diagnosed with Early Alzheimer’s disease and/or related dementias, their Care Partners as well as those who worry about memory problems. The cafés provide a friendly atmosphere where people can socialize and share experiences over a cup of coffee or tea/refreshments.
The “café environment” idea was pioneered by Dr Bére Miesen, a Dutch clinical psychologist in 1997, with his key message: “Do not hide away – come and participate with us, in this safe [AC] space, and in society and life as much as you can. You did not ask to get dementia, and it could happen to any of us. Here we understand – and want to talk about it and learn to live with it.”
According to Dr Marco Blom “an AC is much more than a social gathering. Its purpose is to reduce the stigma surrounding dementia by facilitating social contact and providing education about dementia, for everyone affected by and interested in all types of dementia…..topics relating to dementia are presented and discussed knowledgably, sensitively and openly with people with dementia their carers/caregivers.”
These programs can be held in community/senior centres, clubhouses or any place with a relaxed atmosphere where individuals can socialize, play games, listen to guest speakers, and ask questions in a non-threatening environment. Support staff from the Alzheimer’s Society, social workers and other professionals are there to provide support and guidance.
Two useful sources of information can be found at the following links:
To find an Alzheimer’s Café in your area: Contact the Alzheimer Society of Toronto at www.alzheimertoronto.org 416-322-6560
First Link® Memory Café at Mosaic started on January 29th, 2013 and will run the last Tuesday of each month from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. till the end of June 2013. For more information contact www.alzheimer.ca/york or call 905-895-1337