People with memory loss want to learn, connect socially, and enjoy life, but there are few opportunities to do so that feel comfortable and safe. Fortunately, the Denver Public Library has a series of Memory Cafes designed just for the memory loss community.
Memory Cafes are social groups for people living with memory impairments, along with their family, friends, and caregivers. People have a lot of fun at Memory Cafes. They connect, laugh, and engage. People can relax because they don’t need to worry about stigma or embarrassment over the fact that they can’t remember or that they don’t understand. When you are at a Memory Cafe, you can just be yourself!
Each cafe starts with a fun, stimulating program followed by social time with coffee and treats. Some of the most popular programs have been:
- Improv with the Denver Center for Performing Arts
- Planting and art with the Denver Botanic Gardens
- Learning to play the ukulele with Swallow Hill Music
- Sing-a-longs and music with the Alzheimer’s Association
- Creating watercolors with Memories in the Making
- Storytelling with Timeslips
- Art appreciation with the Denver Art Museum
Because in-person library programming has been suspended during COVID, we have moved the Memory Cafe online to a Zoom format.
If you or someone you love is experiencing memory loss, then you know first hand that people living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other memory impairments often experience depression, anxiety, and social isolation. They retreat from the activities that used to bring them joy. They feel embarrassed by their memory loss and frightened. Boredom is a constant challenge. All of these things make their memory loss worse and negatively impact the quality of their lives. Attending a Memory Cafe can be a wonderful antidote to these challenges.
Indeed, people love the Memory Cafes! Here are some quotes from attendees:
- “Socialization is so important...many of us lose our connections with friends and coworkers.”
- “It feels like a date!”
- “Dementia can be a cruel ride sometimes. This is the first thing to grab my interest since all this started.”
- “We begin to know the other people that are in it. So it begins to be a small support community.”
- “It’s a good social outlet for me … it’s just been a real highlight of my week.”
- “Mom is aware of her communication challenges, but at the Memory Cafe she can just relax and be herself.”
- “Memory Cafe has many different aspects, so when we get here, my husband can enjoy everything, maybe even things he didn’t know he could enjoy or try.”
- “This allows us to get out of the house and have a very stimulating time. The other thing is that we’ve developed friendships here.”
- “It’s so good just to talk.”
I lost my momma 2 & 1/2 years ago this past May. During the ugly decline of this disease, I actually found out more about my momma than I had ever known. This socialization program is a wonderful thing. Thank you so much!
Amy, thank you for a great blog and for promoting a great program.