Praise for Marion's Memory Cafe

Oct 17, 2016

Letter to Editor:

I want to take this opportunity to say how wonderful the new Waterfront Memory Café is. The café is the result of hard work by Heather Sylvia, Council on Aging director, and Karen Gregory, COA program coordinator.

The café is held every Wednesday at the Music Hall on Front Street. It is an opportunity for individuals with memory issues and their care partners to get together in a relaxed, non-judgmental environment. Lunch is served every week at 11:45 followed by a variety of activities. The café is free but donations are accepted.

I have the good fortune to be one of the many volunteers who help out at the café. Since opening we have had music, bingo and crafts. At lunch we all have the chance to get to know each other on an informal basis. Even though I do not live in Marion I am volunteering because I know how valuable a Memory Café can be.

I was a caregiver for my partner for eight years. Sadly, Faye lost her battle with Alzheimer's last October. I wish the café had been available when she was still alive. It would have been an ideal program for both of us. Individuals with memory loss often have difficulty being in crowds but because of the cafe's location the open space in the Music Hall doesn't feel overwhelming. In addition the atmosphere is very comfortable. We are just a group of people having lunch together and spending time doing something fun. It is wonderful to hear the many interesting stories we hear from people who have memory issues. Sometimes all you need is someone new to listen. At the same time care partners have the chance to relax and talk with other care partners.

One thing I know from experience is how important it is to know you are not alone in your journey caring for someone with memory loss. Everyone is welcome regardless of where you live. What Heather and Karen have done is bring to the south coast a much needed resource.

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara A. Meehan


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