Memory cafe puts out the welcome mat

The new year is bringing the first-ever memory cafe to Pierce County.
Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LCSNW) is opening the first cafe at Elmer’s Restaurant at 7427 S. Hosmer St. in Tacoma on Jan. 27 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. It will then meet monthly on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Folks with memory loss at any stage, along with their care partners, friends and family, can attend for a light meal with others in the same situation.
Memory cafes provide those with dementia and their care partners a safe and supportive environment in which to socialize without feeling the stigma that society often assigns to the devastating disease, said Linda McCone, who works with LCSNW in caregiver services. Also known as Alzheimer’s cafes, they began in Europe as a place for persons with Alzheimer’s to integrate with the community, restoring some sense of normalcy and acceptance. They have become part of dementia-friendly communities that provide support and understanding for those with cognitive decline.
Alzheimer cafes in Seattle and throughout King County have been successful in providing an atmosphere where families can feel normal again sharing meals, experiences, jokes and songs, McCone said.
Dementia can be a frightening prospect for the person with the diagnosis and for their care partner. Often, those with dementia (Alzheimer’s, stroke and other dementias) withdraw from public activities, even though research has shown that social engagement can delay or mitigate the symptoms. Similarly, the care partner becomes more isolated as the disease progresses and care needs increase, McCone said.
Existing programs at LCSNW that support the care partner and those with early-stage memory loss include Home Care respite services, Support U:Fostering Caregiver Wellness (classes on caregiving), and the Early Stage Memory Loss Zoo Walk.
More information about this and other programs for those with dementia is available from McCone at 253-722-5681 and

Memory cafes are supportive, social settings for dementia patients and caregivers.
Memory cafes are supportive, social settings for dementia patients and caregivers.