Memory Café Eases Isolation and Builds Community
When Joe, an easy conversationalist, began struggling to find his words, his daughter, Ariana grew concerned. Several months later, Joe was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at 68 and Ariana became his care partner. The duo was concerned and felt alone.
Then Ariana and Joe began attending the Memory Café at the Trousdale Wellness Center. Wanting to support families living with dementia or Alzheimer’s, community partners Catholic Charities Aging Support Services, Burlingame Parks & Recreation, the Burlingame Rotary Club, and Peninsula Health Care District, co-founded the Memory Café, a once-a-month social gathering for individuals living with the diseases and their caregivers.
Each month attendees enjoy facilitated activities like chair yoga, painting, balloon volleyball, and music with other care partners and their loved ones living with memory diseases. They also share experiences and resources.
“The Memory Café has been a blessing to families who previously felt alone and isolated by diseases that are often invisible and misunderstood,” said Patty Clement, Catholic Charities Client Services Director and Bay Area aging expert. “Attendees feel safe and supported by peers who intimately understand their challenges, relationships, and joys.”
Now in its fifth month of operation, the Memory Café plays a vital role in the lives of a growing number of families attending the program regularly. “It is heartening sharing these hours with my dad and feeling bolstered and embraced by our new community,” said Ariana. “We couldn’t do this alone.”
Memory Café is held on the first Wednesday of each month from 2-4 p.m. at the Trousdale Wellness Center located at 1875 Trousdale Drive, Burlingame. Contact Catholic Charities Aging Support Services at 415-334-5555 for more information and to register.
Download the Memory Café flyer for information about the program with frequently asked questions.