How These Places Can Help Stimulate Our Cognitive Functions
There are a lot of things that we fear as we grow up, and the process of aging is often vilified in our society. We look at our youth as a time to hold on to for as long as possible.
Growing old usually means our bodies are hurting in more ways, and we lose some functions of our brain. It can mean the development of certain mental conditions that scare us.
One of the scariest age-related diseases is Alzheimer’s, a condition that causes your brain cells to slowly degenerate and die. We have heard the stories about this and have our own ideas about how it must be, for both the person experiencing it and the people around them.
Watching a loved one slowly lose their ability to provide for themselves is incredibly painful and challenging. Dealing with Alzheimer’s is not an easy thing to do for the person suffering or for their family.
It isn’t easy to do, but it is possible, and there are new options available to us to help us with it. Things like “Memory Cafes” are programs whose purpose is to stimulate a person’s memory and brain function, and build a better sense of community.
Memory cafes were created to help patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s, though they can also help people with more mild cognitive problems. Each memory cafe has its own unique specialty.
Some memory cafes are focused on activities to help stimulate memories, while others may focus on education. Some might try to use dancing and music, and others could be about arts and hands-on activities.
You can check out the Memory Cafe directory to see the Memory Cafes around you. Going to a Memory Cafe isn’t just for stimulating the cognitive functions of a declining individual, either.
These activities can benefit the caregiver as well. Going to a Memory Cafe helps both people build a community that understands what they are going through.
It also helps take the pressure off of the caregiver, but they are not a place to “drop off” their loved one. It’s a place for them to enjoy activities with the person and get a break from their regular routine.
With other people around them, it isn’t just up to them to help their loved one either. They have people to support them and people who understand them.
You can even visit more than one Cafe if there are enough in your area. This can help bring about different kinds of activities and stimulation for the patient and the caregiver.
Origin of Memory Cafes
The concept of Memory Cafes was initially started in Europe by Dr. Bere Miesen, who came up with the idea in 1997 as a way to break through the stigmas around dementia. At the time, people didn’t want to address it, so patients and their caregivers were suffering as a result.
The idea quickly spread throughout Europe, then Australia, and the United States. It grew in size and also began to incorporate care for conditions other than dementia. These cafes also began to focus on people who have suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury.
Dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s is beyond difficult for both the person afflicted and their caregiver/loved ones. Watching the slow deterioration is scary and emotional, and it can feel like a lot for a person who is trying to help their loved one.
But places like Memory Cafes can do a lot to take that weight off their shoulders. They provide a place for people to feel understood and supported, with people who have experienced the same things as them.
It also just gives them a nice break from their usual routine. It helps them get out of the house and indulge in something that brings them joy.
While it may not fix the situation or take the pain away, it is still something that can help. In difficult times like this, we need all the help we can get.
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