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Senior Center to offer Memory Cafe for Alzheimer's patients, caregivers

The McDowell News - 3/20/2017

The McDowell Senior Center is launching a new way to support those folks with Alzheimer's disease and the people who care for them.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. In a 2014 study in North Carolina, there were 448,000 caregivers for Alzheimer's and other dementia patients at an estimated total unpaid care of 510,000,000 hours, according to a news release.

In the March 2016Neurodegenerative Disease Management Journal, it states, "Caregiver stress is an under-recognized and undertreated health risk that can lead to poor outcomes for both caregivers and patients with dementia."

The McDowell Senior Center, along with local residents, considers this an area of concern for those touched by Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The Senior Center, with the support of volunteers, plans to offer a Memory Café for any person with dementia and their care giver, according to the news release.

"A Memory Café is a place where individuals with memory loss and their caregivers can get together in a safe, supportive, and engaging environment," reads the news release. "Once a month, it is a time and place where people can interact, laugh, cry, find support, share concerns and celebrate without feeling embarrassed or misunderstood. The Memory Café encourages friendship and acceptance."

The goal for the Memory Café is to continue to be grassroots efforts, organized, maintained, and self- sustained by the people that attend them, the people with dementia, their caregivers and the volunteers.

"Each Café may have the same mission but develop its own 'personality' based on the preferences and needs of its participants," reads the news release. "Some cafes are only a place of conversation and fun activities, while another may want to include elements of education. In time, the participants will determine for themselves what they want at the Café."

An organizational meeting to plan the McDowell County Memory Café will be held on Monday, March 27 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Senior Center located at 100 Spaulding Road in Marion.

During the initial Memory Café planning meeting, organizers will be recruiting volunteers for host/ hostess duties, servers of snacks and drinks, leaders of activities, musicians or singing groups, webpage developers for marketing and other roles.

"We will also be determining a launch date for the first McDowell Memory Café," reads the news release.

If you are interested in attending the organization meeting on Monday, March 27 from noon to 2 p.m., call Senior Center Director Weyland Prebor at 828-659-0823 at the McDowell Senior Center to reserve lunch and to attend this meeting.


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