Dementia: Memory Cafe 

A memory cafe offers people with dementia and their carers the chance to socialise and share information. In this video, one group talks about what the experience means to them and how they benefit from the specific activities offered at the cafe.

Learn more about living with dementia.

Transcript of Dementia: Memory Cafe

(piano music)

A memory cafe is a place where people with dementia and their carers

can come and have a bit of time out

from just being at home and living with their condition.

The idea of memory cafes

is that they offer an opportunity for people to meet and socialise,

Very importantly, we're trying to make sure that memory cafes

offer specific activities and interventions

that are of real benefit to people with dementia.

I have a very short-term memory.

Very short term, which is convenient sometimes

and a bloody nuisance other times.

David's memory is now very bad.

We thought that was a good start.

But it's lovely that both of us can come to something and join in

and both get something out of it.

Sometimes, we do it randomly so you can turn words over.

(Jayne) There's growing evidence

that creatively is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of everybody,

but particularly people with dementia.

We've evidence that getting involved in activities

such as painting, writing, drawing, singing

can really help people improve their cognitive processes,

keep their memories for longer.

(woman 2) Choose some words, David.

Choose some of these. I don't mind how random.

Something has reminded him today of when his brother went to school.

It's things like that that happen.

As parts of the brain may be degenerating,

the brain is very clever

and other parts of the brain open up to new experiences.

We're trying to find different sorts of stimulus

which will open up different parts of the brain.

(woman 2) Also, bringing things in to make it more of a friendly atmosphere.

(Jayne) Today we've got an artist coming in

with a range of objects designed to stimulate the senses.

Things that people can touch, smell, taste.

She'll be using those to draw out people into conversation and social engagements

and also maybe to stimulate ideas.

You can reminisce about no end of things,

and enjoy the resurrection of past memories.

One thing that we're trying to do with the memory cafes

is to build a toolkit for informal carers

that they can take home of activities that they can undertake

to make their lives more interesting

and relieve the stress for them and the person they care for.

He usually seems relaxed, you know,

whereas sometimes he can get a bit uptight.

It seems to be on his wavelength, if you know what I mean.

- We've both enjoyed it, haven't we? - Absolutely.

One benefit of coming to a memory cafe is being with people

who are experiencing the same things that you are

and have been through that fearful stage

of, "Do I want to go out? Do I want to interact with people?"

They are very welcoming. Come along and try it out.

There's no compulsion to come back or to sign up for anything regularly.

But we know that people who do come do come back.

I think that laughter is one of the things that we do have.

I think we all laugh, which is good.

- We laugh at ourselves, mostly. - Yes.

We each get something very different from it.

But it seems to stimulate both of us, yes.

The creative part really adds to people's ability to express themselves,

express their feelings of frustration,

but also their feelings of hope and aspiration.

Having dementia isn't the end of life. It's just part of your life.

It's about finding ways to deal with that and express that appropriately.


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Carers' assessments

Carers' assessments are the best way to get help and support from your local authority if you look after someone