Memory Cafe: What is it and how does it help those with mental impairments

Memory Cafes, which are still relatively new to the United States, are welcoming places for individuals with Alzheimer's or any type of dementia and associated brain disorders.

Every Memory Cafe offers a very unique experience wonderfully specialized to the group of people who attend.

Caregivers of loved ones with a cognitive impairment often feel awkward in social settings because their care partner may display behaviors that would seem "different" in a typical social setting.

Memory Cafes allow caregivers to feel at ease, enjoy a different experience with their loved one outside the typical caregiving role, and to connect with other people who are sharing a similar journey.

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Activities are varied but tend to focus on topics that are apt to cause one to reminisce about times gone by.

Individuals with a cognitive impairment tend to be able to recall events from the past better than more current events.

Emphasis is often placed on activities where humor can be a central part of the enjoyment. A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any other one thing.

Depending on the setting, there may be refreshments offered or a pot-luck style meal.

Memory Cafe locations throughout the Triangle:

Durham County

When: First Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where: Jewish Community Center. 1937 W. Cornwallis Rd.
Contact: Jordana Brown by email or (919) 354-4924

Informal memory club is held on the third Wednesday of the month from 1:30 - 3 p.m.

Orange County

When: Second Monday of the month from 2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Where: Chapel Hill Bagels. 1800 East Franklin St.
Contact: Kim Lamon-Loperfido by (919) 245-4253

Wake County

When: Second Monday of the month from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Where: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church 7000 Creedmoor Rd., Raleigh
Contact: Ginny Poston by email or (919) 846-7650

When: Third Tuesday of the month from 4:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Where: Cary Senior Center. 120 Maury O'Dell Pl.
Contact: Brian Blum by (919) 233-0075

When: Third Wednesday of the month from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Where: Poindexter Lobby, Edenton Street United Methodist Church. 228 W. Edenton St., Raleigh
Contact: Lisa Pace by email (919)306-1553

Dinner is served promptly at 4:30 p.m., and the cost is $8.

A full list of locations can be found online.
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