Memory Cafes allow you as a caregiver AND your loved one to enjoy an outing together in a “milid cognitive impairment-friendly” environment. They are welcoming venues selected for their comforting feel. They take place in locations as varied as coffee houses, community centers, galleries, museums, conference rooms, or just about any warm, inviting location!
They are for caregivers AND their loved ones who are living with a variety of brain challenges from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s and the other dementias, to stroke victims and those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Something for Everyone
Each Memory Cafe is different, with a focus on differing aspects, allowing for a unique experience. You may find some are activities-based, while others focus on education. You might find one enjoying the connections of demographic-appropriate music and dancing. Others might focus on crafts and painting.
But each one is carefully “crafted” to offer a calming, not-overly-stimulating environment that is enjoyable for BOTH participants.
Not Respite Care
Let’s be clear: Memory Cafes are NOT Respite Care. Memory Cafes are not intended to be “drop off” locations for your loved one. Since they are safe and comfortable spaces – and designed for both of you – they enable a fun and appropriately engaging outing for you to share. You can socialize, listen to music, play games, and enjoy other relevant activities – or simply enjoy the company of those with similar things in common.
Dutch psychiatrist, Dr. Bere Miesen, introduced the Memory Cafe concept in 1997 as a way to break through the stigma associated with various forms of Dementia. It simply “wasn’t discussed” then and those living with the disease – and their caregivers – were disadvantaged as a result.
The concept quickly spread throughout Europe, to Ireland and England, Australia and eventually to the United States. As the Memory Cafe concept evolved here, it grew into a very open culture, including more than just those living with Alzheimer’s and the other forms of Dementia.
Many programs have been created in recent years for individuals suffering from all kinds of cognitive impairment. While Alzheimer’s is the most common, individuals with all forms of Dementia, along with those surviving a stroke or traumatic brain injury, can benefit from the safe, welcoming and mentally stimulating environments of Memory Cafes. There really is something for everyone.
Memory Cafe Directory
If you haven’t heard of Memory Cafes before, or if you haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit, you may be asking, “Where do I find a Memory Cafe near me?” That’s where Memory Cafe Directory comes in.
While exhibiting our KalendarKards Memory Support System at an Alzheimer’s Association conference, we were asked to participate in a symposium to explore starting a Memory Cafe through a local church. Since I had no previous knowledge of Memory Cafes it sounded intriguing.
After attending the event, I was so taken with the concept, I began researching more background on Memory Cafes: their origins; their makeup; their locations. It was that last one – their locations – that seemed to be lacking.
While I could find plenty of historical data, I struggled with locating a comprehensive directory. There were fragmented lists from various organizations, online news articles about a new Cafe opening in a community, but nothing centralized and easy to use – so I created one!
The Memory Cafe Directory web site is very easy to use! When you visit, you’ll be presented with a map of the United States. Just click your state to see a listing of Memory Cafes sorted by city.
Memory Cafes Matter
As you may already know, here at KalendarKards, we believe in the deep value that comes from a Memory Cafe. Our experience with new directory entries shows them to be growing dramatically in numbers.
That’s good. What’s better…
… is the number of inquiries we get from people who want to start their own Memory Cafe and are looking for resources. We have been gathering various helpful guides that can help someone starting out and publish them in our Memory Cafe Startup Guide.
These are just a few and we will be adding more as we encounter them.
Our goal with Memory Cafe Directory was to create a centralized source of information for families seeking Memory Cafes, and Memory Cafes seeking participants. We are approaching the web site in two Phases.
Phase 1: Gather and enter all the information possible. That continues daily, with any new finding added to the appropriate state page. This was and is still being accomplished by finding news articles announcing a local Cafe, web sites with a few Cafes listed in a community, and any other bit of information available.We’re very pleased to have many inquiries each week from people interested in having their Memory Cafes listed. We welcome those fresh entries since they benefit everyone who might be searching in that area. Feel free to share MemoryCafeDirectory.com with your family, friends, and colleagues.
Phase 2: Confirm the entries! This is where we ask for your help. While we reach out on a regular basis to contacts associated with Cafes to confirm date, time, location, we also ask that you let us know if something has changed at your location. We have an easy “Contact Us” tab at the top of each page, that allows you to drop us a note. As we confirm entries, we are placing a “Last updated” date at the bottom of the listing. Initially, this will allow us to focus on verifying those without an updated date. In the future, it will allow us to focus on the oldest entries in an ongoing effort to make sure the data is as current as possible.
It is a great honor for KalendarKards to be bringing this resource to many who can benefit. We believe more information and resources are always better than fewer and this is our way to help.
Very best regards.
David L. Wiederrich
CEO and Co-founder
We all know having a wealth of appropriate resources available to us when looking for caregiving answers is critically important. The more options you have available to you, the better you can make caregiving decisions for your loved one.
Here at KalendarKards, we often say we provide “comfort and confidence” through the use of our System. Who better with whom to work on this resource-sharing effort than someone who strives to move us from “crisis to comfort?”
We found the perfect partner!
We reached out to Lori LaBey of Alzheimer’s Speaks to see if she would share her favorite resources specific to Memory Cafes. As you’ll see below, many can also be used successfully outside the Memory Cafe environment. There’s a little something for everyone!
Using her Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio show and her Dementia Chats™ webinar series, Lori connects people to best practices and facilitates conversations regarding needs for dementia care worldwide. You may have heard her mention Memory Cafe Directory on her show – after all, she’s a trusted advisor!
Lori’s accomplishments and the depth of resources she offers goes on and on (just like this article is doing!) Now let’s get to her suggestions!
When we asked Lori for her help, she jumped at the chance to share and then (as always) over delivered! We weren’t surprised on either one. Since her resources and suggestions cast a wide net, they are shown below grouped into categories.
THANK YOU, LORI!
Lori La Bey’s Memory Cafe Resources
Let’s start with the basics. Lori’s first suggestion is her primer entitled “Helpful Tips for Dealing with Dementia.” This is a wonderful collection of valuable tips to orient our thinking, especially important if we are new to dememtia challenges.
It starts with her sentinel message to assess every interaction with the person living with dementia by asking the question, “Are they safe, happy and pain free?” If you have listened to her podcasts, that will sound very familiar.
Another tip in Lori La Bey’s “Helpful Tips for Dealing with Dementia” is the important reminder of “Don’t take things personally.” Remember, it’s the disease talking, not the person. There are of course many more, and Lori suggests printing the tri-fold brochure as a reference. It’s designed in a front/back format, so if you can print it two-sided, it makes a perfect reference guide.
Whether you’re facilitating a Memory Cafe, attending a Cafe with someone living with dementia, or simply doing your best to provide appropriate, loving support, this guide should be helpful to you.
We are excited to help Lori share this news. When visiting Memory Cafe Directory, you may have seen this image rotating through the Valuable Resources section on the right sidebar. (Every page EXCEPT the home page.) Yes, Lori La Bey will be conducting the Ultimate Memory Cafe: a dementia-friendly CRUISE!
This is a cruise for those with early to mid-stage dementia and their families. Lori told me they already have several Memory Cafe members coming from various parts of the country and she would love you to join in the fun!
Visit Alzheimer’s Speaks to learn more, but hurry – rooms are going fast! Enjoy this short video Lori created to share even more details:
When traveling with someone living with dementia, whether it’s on Lori’s Dementia-Friendly cruise, around your state or around the world, it takes some effort to prepare fully. It seems that no matter how diligent we are in making sure we’ve tended to everything, SOMETHING invariably goes awry, or is simply missing.
Here, Lori shares a very comprehensive planning guide published by the Roseville, Minnesota Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team. Called “Tips for Dementia Travel – Local and Extended” it reminds us all of the many important (and often tiny!) details needed for safe and enjoyable travel.
The bonus? While this is an excellent planning tool for traveling with someone living with dementia, it can be a helpful resource for regular travel as well. There are a few references specific to the Roseville area, near Lori, but the vast majority of what they suggest works well for all of us!
Emergency Contact and Identify Cards
No, I didn’t misspell “Identity” above. “Identify” is exactly what I meant to type. Another way to support someone living with dementia is helping them get the help they need when the caregiver is not immediately at hand (in an emergency or not and when traveling, or not.)
Lori suggests printing these Emergency Contact cards (see links below) to help them “identify” as having dementia and how the person involved can help directly or if appropriate, contact the Care Partner. The reverse side has their care partner contact information.
Identifying as a Care Partner is important, too. “Running Interference” is an effective way to help the person with dementia get the patience and understanding needed to operate in a comfortable and enjoyable manner.
The reverse side of the care partner card provides a place to share important contact information in the event the care partner becomes incapacitated. This is a thoughtful “backup for the backup!”
As another project of the Roseville (Minnesota) Alzheimer’s & Dementia Community Action Team, these “Identify” cards allow the person living with dementia – and their caregivers – to be prepared. They are valuable tools that can be used by anyone – in any location.
These appear to be valuable NOT just in an emergency. A person living with dementia can get confused or a bit overwhelmed during the short time a caregiver might not be at their side. For example, if they are at the store or elsewhere, the person living with dementia can simply hand the clerk the card and likely get all support and patience needed until the caregiver returns.
These are each 2-page PDFs. By printing front/back, they line up nicely on business card stock (available from Amazon) allowing you to separate them at the perforation and have convenient and valuable contact tools.
For more information about the great work being done by the Roseville Alzheimer’s & Dementia Community Action Team, visit their web site.
Memory Cafes are wonderful opportunities to experience a wide array of interesting, and dementia-friendly activities. They can range from arts and crafts, to music, to yoga, and much, much more. You can find a Memory Cafe near you, share your local Cafe, or simply learn more about them at the Memory Cafe Directory.
Lori La Bey is a staunch advocate for the value Memory Cafes hold for individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. Here, she shares some great activity suggestions with us that can be applied in almost any Memory Cafe setting.
Art Activity Kits
Art Time is the creator of ARTKIT™ – Activities for People with Memory Loss. Art Time’s principal is Lola Fraknoi, who has more than 25 years of experience in the aging field. She’s been a program director, a community services manager, and is trained as a professional artist.
ARTKIT™ is a series of two and three dimensional activities, designed to bring out creativity in people with memory loss. Neurological research tells us the areas of creativity in the brain remain intact long after other parts start to fail.
You can learn more about ARTKIT™ and order online directly from their web site.
Music Therapy Tips
We all know music is a powerful sensory experience. In just a few notes, we are often sent back in time to a specific place in our lives. Lori shares a wonderful program called Music for Wellness, created by Becky Watson. (By the way, for me, The Guess Who’s “Undun” takes me back to a grade school dance. You guessed it: boys on one side of the room; girls on the other!)
Becky is a Board Certified Music Therapist and is the founder of Music for Wellness. She calls her program “Enriching the Mind, Body and Spirit with MUSIC!” You can download an excellent primer from Lori’s Alzheimer’s Speaks website for getting your own Memory Cafe music activity started.
Just as music can exercise the brain, yoga is a wonderfully, low-impact way for those living with dementia to get safe physical activity. SunLight Chair Yoga is Lori’s pick for that much needed activity!
Stacie Dooreck is the founder of SunLight Chair Yoga. She is an author, and a yoga instructor, certified in a number of yoga disciplines. Stacie discovered and used chair yoga while healing from an illness and continues to share with others the benefits chair yoga delivers.
Stacie is also a Certified Fall Prevention Trainer for seniors and trained as an Enhanced Fitness Instructor (evidence based chair exercises and fitness for seniors including cardio, strength training and stretching.)
While this suggestion is based on availability at the Ramsey County Libraries in Shoreview, Minnesota, you could pursue getting them placed in your local library. Memory Minder Kits include a variety of materials ranging from an illustrated book for those with memory loss, music CDs, and an interactive activity like a puzzle, bingo, games and conversation cards.
Each one is different, but each on provides a wonderful experience for those living with dementia.
A key component of the Memory Minder Kits is the book, A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia. It explores the use of activities and other techniques to prevent, reduce and otherwise manage the behavioral symptoms of dementia.
Sections cover daily activities, effective communication with patients, especially difficult behaviors, strategies to deal with agitation, repetitive questions, acting out, wandering, restlessness, hoarding, resistance to care, incontinence, destructiveness, sexually and socially inappropriate acts, aggressions, depression, sleep disturbances and home safety.
Here at KalendarKards, we would be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to remind everyone about the free activity we offer called Memory Joggers.
Memory Joggers is a collection of familiar sayings we’ve known for years. They are formatted with the very last word in the sentence set off at the end. It allows a facilitator to read the sentence or phrase aloud and stop at the last word. The group (or an individual) is charged with coming up with that word.
Memory Joggers is a great way to foster engagement in a Memory Cafe setting, in an assisted living environment, or simply with your love one at home. Check them out… they’re free!
Thankfully, there is a growing trend of businesses becoming more dementia-friendly. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is a sound business strategy. Those making the effort to do it right are tapping a previously unserved segment of their customer population.
Dementia Ready Signage and Business Cards
Dementia Ready LLC is an organization that provides solutions specifically designed for small businesses and organizations looking to provide a more welcoming environment for people with dementia.
These solutions include helpful signage and specialized, online training. They offer valuable resources for small businesses and govermental agencies to raise awareness and make their business community more dementia friendly.
Thank You, Lori!
It is quite obvious, Lori La Bey is a wonderful resource. These are great suggestions for those with a Memory Cafe focus, but they are just scratching the surface of her expertise. Her passionate, caring attitude gives voice to those living with dementia. We can’t thank her enough for her work – and of course for her collaboration with us.
You can stay up to date on all the wonderful things Lori is doing through her website at Alzheimer’s Speaks.
Find, Follow, Interact. You will be better for it!