Memories Café is a programme for persons with dementia and their caregivers, conducted at external partner cafés and restaurants. The programme provides a normalised café setting for participants to interact through activities and conversations in a safe, supportive and conducive environment.
It offers a fresh change of environment to caregivers who may have long been attending support groups held in more formal settings such as dementia day care centres, while encouraging the interaction and bonding between the person with dementia and family members. Ultimately, it provides an avenue for persons with dementia and caregivers to have respite and enjoy themselves despite dementia.
The concept of Memories Café was originated from Dr Bere Miesen’s “Alzheimer’s Café” in 1997 in the Netherlands. Dr Miesen’s initiative aims to provide a normalised café setting for persons with dementia with the following objectives:
- To minimise the social stigma on persons living with dementia and to encourage social acceptance through the engagements in a café within a community setting.
- To provide an alternative platform for social interactions and respite to persons living with dementia and their caregivers, moving away from long-term care environment and their homes.
- With organised activities for persons living with dementia and their caregivers, Memories Café aims to improve their interaction and bonding with each other.
The Memories Café programme, modelled after the Alzheimer’s Café, was successfully piloted in early 2014. The responses garnered from the two pilot sessions were overwhelming, which spurred Dementia Singapore to include the programme as part of its regular programme for its beneficiaries. The programme remains very popular, and fully enrolled at almost every session.