Memory Cafe aims to help those living with dementia stay connected

A Memory Cafe is about creating a safe space for those living with dementia to go and socialize, make friends and learn about the disease.

Pam Simons knows first hand the toll Alzheimer’s can take on a family, “You have to watch that person that you’ve know for years and years and years just go.”

Simons' mother lived with Alzheimer’s and she herself has been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, putting her at higher risk of getting the disease.

“I guess I’m trying to be proactive and I do a lot of advocating.”

Simons says she’s doing that by getting together and speaking to others at the Alzheimer’s Society's Memory Cafes, “The thing about the Memory Cafes is it’s a safe place.”

Carol Walters, CEO of the Alzheimer’s Society of London and Middlesex, explains, “It’s a normalized environment that we created and it centers around both the person with dementia as well as care partners and it’s our opportunity to provide education, recreation and for our community to start a new peer group.”

Walters adds that it’s important for those living with dementia not to isolate themselves and the Memory Cafes help with that

“With the diagnosis of dementia we sometimes see people pull away from their existing social circles so this is an environment to allow people to create new social circles.”

The Alzheimer’s Society opened up the first Memory Cafe in 2017 and Tuesday marks the official opening of its fourth cafe, this one at the Byron branch of the London Public Library.

So far the Memory Cafes have helped more than 500 people and this new location is expected to give them the capacity to help even more.