The Vernon County Memory Café has been established and will gather for the first time at McIntosh Memorial Library in Viroqua, Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m.

A Memory Café is a place where individuals with memory loss and their care-partners can get together in a safe, supportive and engaging environment. It is a time and place where people can interact, laugh, learn from, find support, share concerns and celebrate with others traveling the same journey without being embarrassed or misunderstood. A Memory Café encourages friendship and acceptance.

Each café may have the same mission, but develops its own “personality” based on the preferences and needs of its participants. Some cafes may want to be only a place of conversation and fun activities, while another may want to include elements of education. The participants will determine for themselves what they want.

A Memory Café is for those persons with a dementia related diagnosis, persons with mild cognitive impairment, persons concerned about memory loss and family members or care partners of a person with a diagnosis. Those with dementia or memory worries may attend unaccompanied where appropriate or with family, friends or care partners. This service is not suitable for people with dementia to attend alone if they have specific care needs; for example high levels of anxiety or mobility issues that require aid. The Memory Café is open to anyone without formal referral or assessment. A person with a history of disruptive or aggressive behavior is not appropriate for the group.

The goal of the Memory Café is to promote there is “still a lot of living to do” after diagnosis and restore a sense of “normalcy” for both the person with the diagnosis and those who love them. It is a place to have fun and laugh.

The Memory Café is a free service to the community sponsored by the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and Vernon Manor. Contact group facilitators, Trish Clements at 637-5332 or Ingrid Constalie at 637-5421 with any questions.

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