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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Kentucky gains its second Memory Café
for Louisville-area Alzheimer’s sufferers

A person struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may find it difficult to maintain the same level of socialization they once knew, but a second Kentucky venue offers people with memory loss and their caregivers a comfortable, engaging place to laugh, learn and remain socially engaged.
Louisville’s first Memory Café will launch Aug. 26. A collaborative effort between the University of Louisville School of Nursing Caregivers Program of Research and the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, this social group will typically meet the last Monday of each month at 2 p.m. at the Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 6100 Dutchmans Lane, Suite 401.
The concept originated in the United Kingdom more than a decade ago, and now there are about 100 Memory Cafés in the United States. The Louisville café is the second in Kentucky. The first is at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
“Our goal is to celebrate the individual beyond the disease. It’s a respite from daily routines and issues relating to the disease. Guests explore art, music, poetry and discussion. Laughter and acceptance are the keystones of these cafes,” said Karen Robinson, executive director of UofL School of Nursing Caregivers Program of Research.
“We want this to be a safe, comfortable place for people with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Teri Shirk, executive director of Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We offer numerous support groups and information to caregivers but find there are few programs available for people with the disease. Memory Cafés give those with the disease a sense of freedom to interact in society.”
Each month’s café will focus on a different theme such as bringing homemade crafts to share with the group, discussing a favorite holiday tradition or sharing a photo of a favorite memory.
“Talking about the past is always a better memory than the present,” Shirk said, “so we want to focus on these types of topics.”
Participation in the Memory Café is free and open to anyone with memory issues and their caregiver. Food will be provided. The date for next month’s café is Sept. 30. To register, contact Samantha Davis at 502-852-2273 or sjdavi10@louisville.edu.
You might be interested in reading our Alzheimer’s Diary written by KyForward columnist Ginger Sanders. To see a listing of entries by Sanders, click here.
From UofL