Posted by Beth Soltzberg

A volunteer and a guest at a memory cafe.

JF&CS is excited to announce that our Percolator Memory Café Network just released an updated version of our Memory Café Toolkit! Memory cafés are welcoming social gatherings for people who are living with dementia and for the people who care about them. Our Memory Café Toolkit provides step-by-step instructions to help organizations launch and sustain their very own memory café.

Promoting Inclusiveness

The original Memory Café Toolkit, which was released in 2016, has been downloaded by over 700 individuals across Massachusetts, the U.S., and in several other countries. The new Toolkit adds a section about inclusiveness. It provides examples of what various Massachusetts cafés are doing to serve café guests with specific needs, such as guests with younger onset dementia, as well as guests with hearing loss or intellectual/developmental disabilities. It also discusses ways to make cafés inclusive and welcoming for people of varied linguistic/cultural backgrounds and LGTBQIA+ guests.

The new Memory Café Toolkit can be downloaded free of charge in English and in Spanish.

History of Massachusetts Memory Cafés

The memory café movement began in Holland in 1997 and has since spread all around the world. However, when JF&CS started its monthly memory café in 2014, it was only the second one in Massachusetts. Our guests wanted more – more locations and more meeting dates. So, JF&CS launched the Percolator Memory Café Network to help other organizations start their own memory café. There are now over 110 cafés in Massachusetts, in four languages – and counting!

Building Community

Memory cafés are good medicine for social isolation, one of the problems that often comes along with Alzheimer's and related dementias. The symptoms of dementia may make it hard for people to manage the activities they used to do, and stigma and lack of awareness may cause friends to turn away. Memory cafés bring people together. Here is what some of our guests have said about the JF&CS Memory Café:

  • "I've made so many friends here. This is what we need – a place where we're treated like everybody else."
  • "Starting the day at the memory café just puts my husband in good spirits that carry through the day."
  • "It gives me an anchor to my week – a reason to get out of the house!"
  • "It gives me a feeling of home."
JF&CS is so proud to provide this feeling of home here in Waltham, and to help organizations around the U.S. and the world to do this for people in their community!

To find a memory café near you, check out our Directory of Memory Cafés in Massachusetts.