Estes Park Health encourages participation in the Memory Café
Estes Park Health encourages patients and their families dealing with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease to participate in and volunteer for the Memory Café in Estes Park. The social gathering takes place every second Thursday of the month from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. at St. Bartholomew Episcopal Church (880 MacGregor Ave.) in the Parish Hall.
Each month, the Memory Café offers coffee, tea and snacks as well as sing-along music and activities related to a theme.
“We encourage remembrances and storytelling as well as laughter and joy,” said Jane Stuart, coordinator of the Memory Café in Estes Park. “One of the devastating outcomes of dementia (from diagnosis on) is social isolation and stigma. The Memory Café is designed for stress-free social interaction and fun.”
Volunteers who run the program have basic training in positive social interactions with people who have dementia. They were trained by a group called Dementia Together (dementiatogether.org). The group welcomes new volunteers from the community who have an interest in learning and sharing a joyful spirit with others.
Volunteers are needed to help plan programs, provide refreshments, help set up, creating public outreach and communications.
Contact St. Bart’s at 970-581-4590 to sign up. Contact Memory Café coordinator Jane Stuart at 970-430-8105 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“This is a chance for people to feel supported, make friends and connect with loved ones through coffee and snacks and singing,” Jane emphasized. “We have found that when folks come month after month, their worries vanish, at least for this hour-and-a-half.”
The dates for the Memory Café for the rest of the year are:
Research shows that social engagement can slow the process of dementia.
“The Memory Café is a reminder that no one has to walk this journey alone,” Jane said. “We can continue to love and have fun with our spouse, friend or neighbor who is experiencing dementia.”
Some community members are shy about going to the Memory Café to begin with, but sometimes a doctor or nurse making a recommendation for a family to attend helps them plug in to this social opportunity.
“We do not discuss dementia or memory loss directly,” Jane explained, “but we simply support each patient and caregiver and friends along this journey without judgment.”
According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, someone in the world develops dementia every three seconds. In 2020, there were more than 55 million people worldwide living with dementia. This number is expected to double every 20 years, reaching 78 million in 2030 and 139 million in 2050.