SACKVILLE, N.B. – A new monthly program launched earlier this year in Sackville is offering a welcoming and supportive atmosphere to individuals with dementia and their caregivers.
Harold Popma, a retired physician and one of the volunteers who has helped to organize the program, said the Memory Cafés provide a place where people with any form of memory loss and their caregivers can gather to participate in a social setting in a relaxed atmosphere.
“It’s very informal. We just try to have low-key activities everyone can enjoy, where people can just come out and have a bit of socialization,” said Popma.
The first Café was held in February and has since been held monthly, thanks to a group of local volunteers. The cafes feature musical entertainment, speakers and other activities, as well as refreshments.
“It’s been very positive,” said Popma.
Popma said these types of programs are incredibly beneficial for those afflicted with dementia, as well as their families and their caregivers, since it can be a very isolating time for everyone involved as they struggle and come to grips with the effects of the disease. He said the Memory Cafés provide a place for people to come out in an informal setting and socialize with no strings attached.
Unfortunately, said Popma, word hasn’t spread about the program as much as anticipated and so the group hopes to reach out to others who may have a need for the socialization.
“There are still probably people out there who can make use of the Memory Café and may not be aware of the program.”
Most months, there are as many volunteers as participants, said Popma, and he would like to see those numbers grow.
The free Memory Cafes happen on the last Sunday of each month (except for December’s café, which will be held Dec. 17, rather than Dec. 24) at 2 p.m. at the Sackville United Church. For more information, contact Elaine at firstname.lastname@example.org or 536-0164.