Starting your own
Alzheimer’s or Memory Café
Step 1: Your venue
• A space with a warm and inviting atmosphere, not too big and not too small.
• Comfortable furniture.
• Easy access and plentiful parking
• Wheelchair accessibility and handicap parking
Preferred venues are those with no specific association with the medical community or with services for elders or seniors.
Some examples of successful existing café locations: Restaurants, ice cream parlors, coffee shops, children’s museums, art museums, theaters, community centers.
Venues of last resort: senior centers, medical facilities, care facilities, i.e. assisted living facilities, nursing homes, adult daycare centers. - The goal is to get away from the usual routines and locations.
If the café must be held at a senior center or a care facility, it’s important that it stands apart from other activities and is NOT treated as another “happy hour.” All efforts should be made to bring in families, friends, and other caregivers.
Naming your café: The original cafés in the Netherlands were named after Dr. Alzheimer. But as you’ll see by perusing the national registry, there are no “rules” on what to name your café.
Step 2: Getting the word out - at least a month ahead of opening your doors
Social media, Facebook, Linked-in, Instagram and of course your own email contacts. Wherever you can, list your “opening” as an event, on Facebook for instance.
Contact your local TV and radio stations as well as your local papers.
Printed materials: flyers and/or announcements on print-yourself “business cards”
Distribute to: Doctors, therapists, attorneys, trust officers, churches, senior centers, and any other place frequented by seniors.
Step 3: First Café meeting
Most cafes start with a party to help everyone get acquainted.
Some leaders prefer to have thematic programs, some combine a social hour with short formal sessions on dementia/Alzheimer’s or specific caregiving issues (the European model) while others are focused on socialization and creativity (the American Model) -
(Make sure that all your volunteers have some understanding of the basics of communicating with people with Alzheimer’s or related dementias.)
Step 4: Join the national registry: Send to AlzheimersCafe@gmail.com
Name of your cafe
Contact name, phone, email