JFCS’ Memory Café helps develop connections at a time when social contacts tend to contract

By Roni Falck • JFCS Senior Services Manager

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and engage in conversation about brain health. Living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia – meaning the loss of memory and other thinking abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life – can be a difficult and often lonely journey.

Twice a month, the JFCS Community Room transforms into a Memory Café to help reduce isolation for people with memory loss. This international model, which began in the Netherlands in the 1990s, helps reduce the stigma of memory loss and provides much needed engagement and socialization, both for those with memory loss and their caregivers.

Participants know that each session will feature an opportunity to socialize, get out of the house and simply have a good day.  Highly trained teaching artists engage participants in various interactive activities ranging from watercolors and clay to gardening to storytelling and reminiscence. 

Music-focused sessions are very popular, with teaching artists using music as a means for engaging in conversation and reminiscence. Numerous studies have shown the positive impact of music for individuals with memory loss, opening pathways that are otherwise difficult to access. Participants enjoy singing, listening and reminiscing about music – they have even written and performed their own original song along with their teaching artist.

The Memory Café model, coupled with incredible staff and volunteers, helps develop connections at a time when social contacts tend to contract and ensures people who are often marginalized feel seen, heard and valued.

For more information about the JFCS Memory Café, please reach out to Memory Café Coordinator, Lindsay Kant at 952-417-2116 or lkant@jfcsmpls.org

For more information about Alzheimer’s and other dementias, visit the Alzheimers Association at https://www.alz.org/mnnd

JFCS Memory Café is supported by the Gail and Steve Machov Family.

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