Memory Cafés - Offering Caregivers and Care Recipients Connection and Support

Memory cafés are not a place to stop and get coffee, although you probably can get coffee at a memory café. The growing number of people with dementia means caregivers and care recipients need support, and this café can be beneficial.

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Memory Cafés - Offering Caregivers and Care Recipients Connection and Support
5 Min Read December 7th, 2021

If you don't have a loved one with dementia or are a caregiver supporting someone with dementia, you might not be aware of 'Memory Cafés.' With the growing number of people with Alzheimer's or other types of dementia, the need for support and socialization is growing. These support groups are sometimes held in actual cafés; however, they can be in community buildings, churches, libraries, and even in parks. Some groups have been meeting on Zoom calls because of COVID-19 considerations. 

The job of a long-term care caregiver is demanding and often lonely. When you must care for a person with dementia, it is even more challenging, and many caregivers say even more lonely. 

Growing Number of People with Dementia Putting Families in Crisis

In the United States alone, there are over 5.8 million people 65 years and older living with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association. The numbers of people with dementia are increasing rapidly and are expected to reach 7.1 million by 2025 and 13.8 million by 2050. Persons living with dementia and their family care partners often experience detrimental social consequences, including a higher risk for loneliness and diminished social support

'Memory Cafés' offer a safe and pleasant environment with other people dealing with the same challenges. This café is a social gathering that allows individuals encountering memory loss and a family caregiver to connect, socialize, and build a support network. 

Research shows that 'Memory Cafés' can be helpful for caregivers and the recipients staying socially connected. Participants share a stronger sense of belonging. The opportunity to socialize is beneficial for both the person with dementia and their family caregiver, who often get isolated and lonely. 

Cafés Offer Socialization, Support, and Fun

These cafés are relatively new. Dr. Bere Miesen, a psychiatrist from the Netherlands, often gets credit for the idea. In the United States, the first 'Memory Café.' was in Santa Fe, N.M., in 2008. Today they have spread nationwide and worldwide. About 900 exist in the U.S. today.

The groups offer many activities that fit someone with cognitive impairment. The challenges of living with memory loss can sever social connection when it is most needed, and finding commonality is essential. Since those who have dementia can often recall events from long ago instead of more recent memories, the groups reminisce and discuss past events and memories. 

Groups attempt to have fun which helps encourage continued participation in the group. In addition to reminiscing, groups enjoy games, inspiration, laughter, music, and snacks. The interaction between the caregivers and the care recipients helps reduce the stress and isolation that many feel when going through life with dementia or as a caregiver of a loved one with dementia.  

Don’t Confuse with Respite Care

Do not confuse a café with respite care. 'Memory Cafés.' are places where both the family caregiver and care recipient participate together. The benefits are equally important for both.

Respite care for the family caregiver is still vital for the caregiver's physical and mental health. Caregiving is physically and emotionally demanding. Family caregivers need a break for themselves, and there are a variety of respite care options - including adult day care - that are available.

Family Caregivers Face Challenges – Professional Care Costly

The rapid growth of 'Memory Cafés.' is an indication of the growing problem of long-term health care and the burden it places on unprepared and untrained family caregivers. Many families have not even discussed long-term care before a crisis occurs. While many planning options are available, planning must happen before a person's health declines.

Professional long-term care services are expensive and getting more costly every year. The growing demand for care services and longevity will continue to increase the cost and the financial strain many families must endure when advance planning was not done beforehand. 

The costs of in-home care, adult day care, assisted living, memory care, and nursing homes are prohibitive more many families. When income and assets are available, adding another $5000 to $6000 a month to existing bills can exhaust assets, change lifestyles and legacies. 

The cost of long-term care services does vary depending on where you live. The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator shows that the base cost of assisted living in Dayton, Ohio, is averaging around $5500 a month. What happens in twenty-five years - the cost is expected the average over $12,000 a month - Ohio Long-Term Care Resources | LTC News.

Compare Dayton with Amarillo, Texas, and you will see the cost of long-term health care, while still expensive, is less costly. The average cost of assisted living in Amarillo is just under $4000 a month today; in twenty five years, it should run about $8500 a month - Texas Long-Term Care Resources | LTC News.

The LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator will show you the current and future costs of long-term care services of all types throughout the country. It will also provide state-specific information to help you find caregivers, facilities, and planning solutions. 

Think and Plan Long-Term Care Before Retirement

Experts suggest that it is best for the entire family to start thinking about longevity and long-term health care before retirement, usually in your 40s or 50s. There are several affordable insurance solutions to consider, and a specialist can help advise you and shop from the many companies offering solutions. 

If you are already a caregiver or have a loved one who is declining and soon will need care, LTC NEWS can help you find quality caregivers and even assist you in processing a claim if they own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News.

Meanwhile, find support in your community, and a 'Memory Café' could be helpful.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

Editor's Note

The costs and burdens of aging are a reality for many families in the U.S. and worldwide. Ignoring the problem today means a crisis for your family tomorrow. There is a better way for you, your family, and your finances.

Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance gives you control and helps you avoid dependence on your loved ones. They, in turn, will have the time to be family instead of caregivers.

When you own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you own a solution. However, don't delay. Your fairly good health today gives you the option to plan.

Available Resources on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers several tools and resources to help you in your research for a planning solution or help your family find the appropriate care for a loved one at the time of crisis. 

To help you plan for the future costs and burdens of changing health and aging, LTC NEWS can put together several resources, including:

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Seek Professional Guidance

Experts suggest using a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you navigate the many options available to you and your family. Insurance rates are regulated, so no insurance agent, agency, or financial advisor can give you special deals. However, premiums do vary over 100% between insurance companies for the same coverage.

A specialist who works with the top companies can match your age, health, family history, and other factors and find you the best coverage at the best value. A specialist will save you money, and you will have the peace of mind knowing they are making the appropriate recommendations - Work With a Specialist | LTC News.

Find Quality Caregivers and Long-Term Care Facilities

If your parent or loved one needs care now - or soon - you will need to find the appropriate care in the right setting depending on their needs.

Take a moment and read - 

Benefits of Reverse Mortgages 

Today's reverse mortgages for those aged 62 and older could be an ideal resource to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy OR even provide money to pay for care if you, or a loved one, already needs help and assistance.  

Some people have much of their savings invested in their homes. With today's reverse mortgages, you can find ways to fund care solutions, care itself, even help with cash flow during your retirement. 

Learn more by asking questions to an expert. LTC NEWS columnist and host of the TV Show "62 Who Knew" will answer your questions regarding caregiving, aging, health, retirement planning, long-term care, and reverse mortgages. 

Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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Use LTC NEWS to drive traffic to your website and help you attract people interested in your products and services. Plus, you can improve your website's SEO so more consumers can find you when they search for your products and services.

There are various marketing options available with LTC NEWS. Traditional advertising, sponsored content articles, and strategic alliances, and more are available. 

Learn more about how LTC NEWS can help you market your business, drive traffic, and improve SEO - Advertise With Us | LTC News.

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LTC NEWS is open to contributors to share their stories with the world. 

You can write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. You can write about many topics, including aging, caregiving, health, lifestyle, retirement planning, and long-term care, to name a few.

Be sure to write for our core target audience of adults aged 40 and older. Our audience is worldwide; however, our primary target is the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking nations. 

Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS. 

You can even promote yourself, your business, and your website or blog. However, it must have editorial content exclusive for LTC NEWS and cannot be just an advertisement. It can include links to other sites, and you can share the article link once published on your website or social media.

Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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Include LTC NEWS in your press release distribution. If your group, organization, business, political committee, etc., have news to share, send it to LTC NEWS. Email - newsroom@ltcnews.com

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