Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support
Provides information and support to individuals and families confronting changes and challenges brought on by dementia. We care for the whole person by offering creative outlets and social opportunities that give life meaning and joy.
The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders is growing rapidly. JF&CS both supports individuals and families who are directly affected by dementia, and collaborates with other organizations to reduce stigma and promote dementia friendly communities. The Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support program works closely with other JF&CS services, enabling family members to find what they need at different stages of the disease.
JF&CS Memory Café
JF&CS, with volunteers from the Waltham Student Group of Brandeis University, hosts the first intergenerational Memory Café in Massachusetts. The Café, open monthly, offers a relaxed social gathering and a fun, creative experience led by a guest artist.
By bringing together people of all ages, including those with and without dementia, the Café provides a respite from focusing on illness and disability. The creative arts use capacities that tend to be spared by dementia-causing diseases. This gives people with dementia an opportunity to be challenged and to succeed. Since the arts are at the heart of what makes us human, group art experiences spark a sense of connectedness among participants and can help reinvigorate the relationship between people with dementia and their care partners.
Student volunteers from Brandeis, along with volunteers from the broader community, join Café guests each month. Volunteers learn about Alzheimer’s and related disorders first hand and bring this knowledge back to their peers and the greater community. By training and involving young people, the Café addresses the broader goal of reducing stigma around dementia at a community level.
JF&CS collaborates with other organizations to make Memory Cafés more widely available by coordinating the Percolator Memory Café Network. View the directory of Memory Cafés in Massachusetts. For those interested in starting a Memory Café, view and download for free in English: Memory Café Toolkit and in Spanish. View a webinar about creating a Memory Café network.
JF&CS is also a leader in the Dementia Friendly Massachusetts Initiative. This is a statewide effort to support communities in becoming safer for, more respectful of, and inclusive of individuals living with dementia and the people close to them. This process can mean anything from starting a Memory Café to bringing together community members to identify needs and make an action plan.
Dementia Friends Massachusetts
To increase public awareness of dementia and reduce stigma, JF&CS is making the international public awareness program Dementia Friends available in Massachusetts. Dementia Friends is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. JF&CS is leading Dementia Friends in Massachusetts by training volunteer Champions who use Dementia Friends materials to offer hour-long information sessions in their community. Participants in these friendly and interactive Sessions will increase their understanding of dementia and think about the small things that each person can do to make a difference for people affected by dementia in their community. No action is too small! For more information, visit www.dementiafriendsma.org.
Balancing Act Support and Education Group
The Balancing Act Support and Education group for adult children of parents with dementia meets monthly at JF&CS Headquarters to offer support, wisdom, information, and encouragement. A different topic is discussed each month. Topics may include navigating the changes in the parent/child relationship, collaborating with siblings and other family members, tools and support for making critical decisions, and balancing caring for your parent with your work life and other caregiving commitments. These meetings are facilitated by JF&CS social workers with expertise in dementia.
Information, Referrals, and Consultation
JF&CS experts who understand dementia provide information, reliable referrals, and consultations to help with a wide variety of issues including:
- Planning for the future with chronic disease
- Maintaining independence in the community
- Finding caregiver support
- Facilitating home safety
- Maintaining mobility and community engagement
For more information, call 781-647-JFCS (5327) or email your questions via our contact us