We are so excited to be selected as one of three winning organizations—each with outstanding programs that address the needs of caregivers for people with Alzheimer's disease—to receive $20,000. In celebration of the 10th year of the Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards, Family Caregiver Alliance and The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation awarded the JF&CS Percolator Memory Café Network this grant, in the category of Creative Expression.
Beth Soltzberg, Director, Alzheimer's/Related Disorders Family Support Program coordinates the Percolator Memory Café Network, which meets regularly to offer memory café coordinators a forum to share ideas and work together toward common goals.
Said Beth, "I want to thank the leadership of JF&CS for supporting this experimental, open-source model, and our donors including the Lebovitz Family Charitable Trust, Nancy Belsky and the Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation, and Rosa Rasiel. I want to thank café coordinators around the country and throughout Massachusetts for their collaboration. Finally, I am grateful to the Gilbert Awards and the Family Caregiver Alliance for this recognition. It will truly support the development of the Percolator and our ability to share this model with other parts of the country."
Memory cafés offer social connection, support, invigorating activity, and information. Cafés are for individuals living with Alzheimer's or a related disorder and they are also for family members, friends, and professional caregivers of these individuals. Cafés are a cost-effective model that can be developed and run by many types of organizations, including social service or health care providers, faith communities, colleges, museums, restaurants, and more. Memory cafés are part of the growing movement to make our communities "dementia friendly."
The Percolator Memory Café Network (Percolator) reduces social isolation and increases meaningful activity and creative expression among people living with dementia and their caregivers by scaling access to high quality memory cafés throughout Massachusetts. The Percolator has enabled dementia support providers to share knowledge and resources rather than competing, thereby making Massachusetts home to the largest number of memory cafés in the nation. Accomplishments include supporting the launch of more than 70 new memory cafés, including two Spanish speaking cafés and 13 cafés designed to include people who have both dementia and a developmental disability. The teaching artists—who lead dance, singing, drumming, theater games, poetry writing, art making, and more—share their expertise among the cafés.
JF&CS opened the second memory café in Massachusetts in spring 2014. Guests immediately asked for more hours and locations. JF&CS responded by starting the Percolator to help other organizations launch cafés, a sustainable approach that would foster cafés to fit each unique neighborhood. The Percolator has grown to 418 participants; 62 teaching artists participate in the guest artist directory; more than 2,500 caregivers and persons with dementia participate in a café activity annually. The Memory Café Toolkit (also in Spanish) has been downloaded over 450 times since its release in August 2016. New community sectors, including two libraries and several houses of worship, have used the Toolkit for help in starting their own café.