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How do memory cafés help with dementia care?

You might have heard about memory cafés but don’t know much about them. Find out what happens at one and how they can be useful for someone with dementia

Memory cafés are popping up all over the UK and they can be a great place to go if you’re caring for a person with dementia, if you’re worried about someone’s memory, or if you just want to meet other people who are affected by dementia.

Here’s what to expect if you visit a memory café.

Three facts worth knowing

1. Memory cafés are usually held on a regular basis, either once a week, once a fortnight, or once a month. Most are located in places that are easy to access, such as a community centre, a village hall, or a local hotel.

2. Tables are laid out ‘café style’ and tea, coffee and biscuits are served (you might be asked to make a donation).

3. Memory cafes are run by people (including volunteers) who have experience and training in dementia, so you should receive a warm welcome. A community nurse is usually on call, too (often sitting in a private area or side room), if you want to have a chat or get some help or advice. But this is not the same as visiting your doctor. She won’t be able to offer a diagnosis or make a referral. A memory café is not the same as a memory clinic where a formal diagnosis of dementia can be made.

Benefits of going to a memory café

You can both socialise and chat with other like-minded people, and curb feelings of loneliness and isolation.

You can both have fun! Most cafes provide stimulating activities for carers and people with dementia which can help prevent boredom and aid relaxation. For example, live music, sing-alongs, quizzes, painting, memory box work, massage and reflexology.

You can talk about personal issues that you might be worried about, such as changes in your relationship with people who understand.

Good to know

You can find your nearest memory café at www.memorycafes.org.uk