Profile: Memory Cafés/Conversation Cafés
Memory Cafés/Conversation Cafés are safe and social gathering places where those impacted by dementia can get out socially, share memories and experiences, and make new friendships and support groups over a comforting beverage. The purpose of the café is to offer caregivers of those with dementia an opportunity for their loved one to socialize, while also offering the chance for caregivers to network with other caregivers. Memory Cafés/Conversation Cafés have been initiated with success in both pilot communities of Calgary Westhills and the Town of Okotoks.
First Lutheran Church Dementia Awareness and Conversation Cafés
“As a missional organization, First Lutheran Church (FLC) became involved in the Dementia Friendly Communities Westhills pilot project to extend our support to an ever-growing population within our own faith community, and the greater community. We saw that people needed access to more information and education to increase awareness about dementia. We also saw that those affected by dementia needed an opportunity to gather and share the journey with others in similar situations.”
Liz Gahan, Ministry Coordinator
FLC initiated dementia awareness training for staff, hosted a resource fair open house event for the general public, and a local business gathering event for neighbouring organizations to help increase awareness about dementia and the Dementia Friendly Communities pilot project. We also had great success with establishing our Conversation Café, offered two times every month, supported by grant funding that we successfully applied for to sustain the initiative. These cafés are non-denominational and open to all who are impacted by dementia in some way. There has been a lot of interest from others in the faith community who are keen to set up their own Memory Café/Conversation Café, e.g., FCJ Christian Life Centre held one in September 2018, and the First Baptist Church now also hold a regular Conversation Café.
Due to the demand we saw from others seeking support in how to increase awareness of dementia, we proactively sought out additional grant funding to help create a dementia awareness eLearning course. This online learning resource is intended to support and inspire others, developed in partnership with BSF to supplement this Guide to Creating Dementia Friendly Communities. You can find this eLearning module online at: www.dementiafriendlyalberta.ca