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.
You can learn more about Memory Cafes here.
Memory Cafe Origins
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!
Memory Cafe Directory at www.MemoryCafeDirectory.com is that result.
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