A “Safety Bubble Place”: Unveiling the Healing Atmosphere of the Neighborhood Memory Café
Amidst the hustle and bustle of life, Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska’s Memory Café is a place where you can listen to music, enjoy a cup of coffee, laugh, and relax. This environment is part of our Neighborhood Memory Café.
Nationwide, Memory Cafés help people living with dementia, their care partners, family, and friends to feel appreciated, have fun, and enjoy happy memories in an enriching environment. Music and other forms of art have a way of bringing people together and create a sense of connection and community which is often missing in our lives. At our Memory Café, time is spent socializing and enjoying the talents of local artists.
There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does. Research suggests that listening to or singing songs can provide emotional benefits for people living with dementia. Musical memories are often preserved because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease. People living with dementia may lose the ability to express themselves verbally, but may sing with great joy upon hearing a familiar song.
Music also benefits care partners by reducing stress and increasing relaxation and socialization. The best part of a café is that it offers something fun for care partners to do with their loved one. It is also beneficial for Personal Care Attendants and Home Health Aides to participate in these activities with their clients who have dementia. It is always heart-warming to see café guests holding hands, smiling, and singing along.
Our door is open to guests who have not been diagnosed, do not accept their diagnosis, or simply need a break from thinking about it. I call it a “safety bubble place” because as a rule of thumb we don’t raise the topic of dementia unless asked.
Our new Neighborhood Memory Café will be meeting on the last Tuesday of every month from 1:00 – 2:30 at the Mat-Su Health Foundation Building located at 777 N. Crusey Street, Wasilla, Alaska. Please come and enjoy our first Memory Café of the new year on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 1:00!
Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska also offers virtual Memory Café’s on the 2nd Tuesday of each month.
If you are a local artist or band and would like to contribute your talents – We would love to hear from you! For more information about our Neighborhood Memory Café please contact Janice Downing at Alzheimer’s Resource of Alaska (907) 864-3408 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the December edition of The People’s Paper.