Memory Cafes help support Boston residents with Alzheimer's

The programs are an innovative way to help those who are cognitively challenged.

Boston residents experiencing memory loss or Alzheimer’s came together on Monday to participate in a Memory Cafe at the Boston Center for Youth and Families Grove Hall.


Mayor Marty Walsh’s first brought Memory Cafes to Boston this past July after the innovative way to help those who are cognitively challenge spread from the Netherlands in 1997 to the UK, Australia and 37 states across the U.S.


At that first cafe, about 20 people from across Boston participated in an art class led by Dot Art and shared support by talking about their experiences living with Alzheimer’s or taking care of someone afflicted with the disease.


Monday marked the beginning of the fall schedule of the Memory Cafes, which will be held at the Grove Hall Community Center on the first Monday of each month. In 2014, an estimated 10,000 Boston residents were coping with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, according to the city.


As Boston’s population grows, more support is needed to effectively respond to the social and emotional needs of older residents, city officials said.

"I understand the toll Alzheimer's takes on a family, and the love and patience that is required to care for someone with the disease,” Walsh said in a statement. “Memory cafes are one way Boston can help relieve the burden and provide additional support.”

Because the act of caring for loved ones experiencing dementia or Alzheimer's can be draining, programs like Memory Cafes are a place where caretakers will be able to get support and resources.

The theme of Monday's cafe was "Meet Me at the BCYF Grove Hall Senior Center and Make Memories." Participants watchedclassic film clips and engage in discussion led by Massachusetts Alzheimer's advocacy group,the I'm Still Here Foundation.

Future cafes will include art, music, featured speakers and trips to museums and movies. They are held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the first Monday of every month at Grove Hall, 51 Geneva Ave., Dorchester.

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