Although it is called the Alzheimer Café, the café is for people who are affected by any
type of dementia, and their families
What is an Alzheimer Cafe?
The Alzheimer Café is a relaxed place where people with dementia, their families and friends, and health and social care professionals meet once a month. Alzheimer Cafes provide a warm and welcoming space for people with dementia, their family and friends, social and health care professionals to meet, exchange ideas and learnings. The cafe provides an informal way to meet others living with dementia, and to meet health and social care professionals. Usually an expert speaker is invited each month to talk to the Cafe about a topic of interest, however the cafe is also a space to chat and enjoy a social occasion in a supportive environment.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common and well-known cause of dementia. It is thought to cause over half of all cases. It is recognised by the build-up of protein in the brain which forms plaques that stop the brain working as it should. Some early symptoms may include short term memory loss, misplacing things, getting stuck for words, difficulty navigating even in familiar places, changes in personality.
The Alzheimer Cafe is a safe place to come where you can discuss your symptoms, or any worries you may have about your family members symptoms, with friends. We are all here to help. Deep friendships are forged here due to the support of our team, volunteers and families. The photo above shows Dermod Slevin who contributed so significantly to the establishment of this Café. We rememebered Dermod and celebrated his contribution and friendship on the 10th January 2019 at a special event at Avila Centre, Bloomfield Avenue, Donnybrook. At the same event we also remembered and celebrated another friend, Dermot O’Connor, who contributed significantly (see Dermot’s photo below) too. Without people like Dermod and Dermot we could not have achieved so much.
The first Alzheimer Café was started by Dr. Bere Miesen in the Netherlands in 1997 so it’s an international phenomenan. The concept means that the cafe is more than just a social outing. Apart from offering a social outlet for people affected by and/or interested in dementia. Our monthly gatherings are for the purpose of education, discussions, exchanging information about dementia.
An Alzheimer Cafe helps to support people with dementia and their family or friend carers to stay connected. The cafe’s are organised and held by a steering committee who are knowledgeable about dementia, and organise the provision of the AC with local volunteers and caregiving professionals.
Guests receive support, information, education about dementia, and meet others in similar circumstances. They also meet professionals knowledgeable about dementia, representatives of the local Alzheimer’s Society or other dementia support group, services, and volunteers. People can converse, listen to one of the themed talks or interviews, and enjoy refreshments.
In 1997 Dr. Bere Miesen was frustrated that health and social care students were not taught more about the invisible (emotional) aspects of having and living with dementia (i.e. fear, anger, helplessness, stress, long-term grieving, guilt, adapting, coping and communication. This meant that people received some kinds of help, but were missing out on support for essential issues. He decided to try to change this and invited people he knew, and anyone else interested, to attend the first “Alzheimer Café” at the University of Leiden.
We at Donnybrook were the first Alzheimer Cafe in Ireland. There are now 18 cafe’s dotted around Ireland, thanks to help from people like you. We hope to see you at our next meeting.