By Stephanie Malench, Reportger
A new service is available to residents with memory loss from Alzheimer’s or dementia and their care givers in the Metro East. Through funding by Area Agency on Aging’s AgeSmart Community Resources, Memory Cafes are now available in Collinsville, Edwardsville, and Alton at no cost.
The Memory Cafes started in the area last year with the Edwardsville one starting first in September at the Main Street Community Center. Each Cafe lasts for 90 minutes and is held at each location once a month.
The goal of the cafes is to reduce social isolation for both the one with memory loss and the family caregiver in a safe and comfortable space where caregivers and their loved ones can socialize, listen to music, play games, and enjoy other appropriate activities. They can also simply enjoy the company of those with similar experiences. Refreshments and snacks are provided.
At a recent cafe at the Collinsville Township Senior Center, Gayle Wren looked at pictures of winter scenes and talked about what she saw with her husband/caregiver Bill and facilitator Gail Shaw with St. John’s Community Care. At the first Memory Cafe in December, the participants made Christmas ornaments by putting curled ribbons and other decorations in a clear, ornament.
Memory Cafes were developed in the Netherlands by Dutch psychiatrist Dr. Bere Miesen in 1997. Three years later the Memory Cafes had spread throughout Europe and Australia before later coming to the United States.
Cafes will be held at the following locations at the following times. Collinsville Senior Center- 1st Thursday of each month 10am-11:30am. Main St. Community Center (Edwardsville)- 2nd Thursday of each month 10am-11:30am. Senior Services Plus (Alton)- 3rd Wednesday of each month 1:30pm-3pm.
Please call the location you wish to attend by the day before the cafe is scheduled to RSVP.