CAFE EXPERIENCE: Centacare operations manager David Larsen, day respite recipient Pat Balzan and service delivery manager Susan McNamara.
CAFE EXPERIENCE: Centacare operations manager David Larsen, day respite recipient Pat Balzan and service delivery manager Susan McNamara. Jodie Callcott

Cafe where memories are made

CENTACARE launched a Memory Cafe group last week to support those affected by dementia.

The Sticky Fig Gallery Cafe hosted the first monthly meeting where about 10 sufferers and their carers enjoyed socialising in a supportive environment.

Operations manager David Larsen said the idea behind it was to counteract feelings of isolation.

"By calling it a Memory Cafe, it's in a public space so it normalises the whole notion of dementia," Mr Larsen said.

"The morning went really well and the feedback generally was very positive.

"Most of the people who attended said they would be coming back."

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Mr Larsen said September's meeting would be a structured event including information and music.

"The theme will be Walk Down Memory Lane where residents and carers attending will be asked to bring some old photos, trinkets or memorabilia."

Dementia strategy manager Ann Donaghy said the disease impinged social or working life because the cognitive functions affected included memory, language and spatial skills, comprehension, judgment and attention.

"Most importantly, it's not a normal part of ageing, but rather a brain disease," Ms Donaghy said.

"With the number of people experiencing dementia growing in our community, we are so pleased to offer this successful program in Hervey Bay.

"The Memory Cafe ... is a chance for people with dementia and carers to be themselves or simply enjoy great food and company."

The next meeting of the Memory Cafe is Wednesday, September 26, from 10am-noon at Sticky Fig Gallery Cafe, 16/81-91 Boat Harbour Dr, Pialba.

For more information, phone 41940172 or email susan.mcnamara@bne .centacare.net.au.

The Memory Cafe is a joint initiative between Centacare and Churches of Christ.

FAST FACTS

  • Without a medical breakthrough, the number of people with dementia is estimated to push above 500,000 by 2025
  • The Memory Cafe is an adaptation of the Alzheimer's Cafe, started by a doctor in the Netherlands in the late '90s.
  • Dementia is the second leading case of death in Australia and the single greatest cause of disability in Australians over the age of 65.
  • There are more than 100 different types of dementia - the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's and the second is vascular dementia.


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