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J. Arthur’s Memory Cafe

First Memory Cafe in the United States

What is J. Arthur’s Memory Café?

J. Arthur’s Memory Café is a place where individuals with memory loss and their caregivers can get together in a safe, supportive, and engaging environment.   It’s a time and place where people can connect and interact with peers without feeling like misfits.  There is no embarrassment, and no explanations are needed.  The J. Arthur’s Memory Café encourages acceptance, support and friendship.

Where did the Memory Café Start?

The concept came from the UK where their government funds the Memory Cafés.   After talking with David Light who sets up the programs in the United Kingdom, we asked him if he would be willing to share program details with us.  There was no hesitation in David’s voice.  He generously shared all start up documentation with me. The UK’s attitude is one of collaboration and the greater good.  David told us, “We will help you any way we can.  We would love to see Memory Cafés throughout the world! Our members love them.”

Given we don’t have government funding for these projects here in the US, we set out to pull together like-minded companies to collaborate.  ACR Healthcare Group is the primary founder in collaboration with The Alzheimer’s Research Center, The Minnesota Memory Project, Health Partners, and Alzheimer’s Speaks.

As we work together to launch the first US Memory Café, we continue to look for sponsors.

The mission of J. Arthur’s Memory Café is to provide a social environment which allows individuals with memory loss and their caregivers a safe, supportive, and engaging place to interact with peers.

So why are Memory Cafés needed?

Many times when Alzheimer’s is diagnosed there are significant changes that affect not only the person with the disease, but everyone they interact with.  Relationships change.  Even close friendships can disintegrate due to a lack of education and guidance on how to interact with a person who is experiencing memory loss.

In some ways, Alzheimer’s disease is similar to AIDS.  With AIDS, when it was first recognized people did not understand the disease and so they ran from it.  Memory loss is no different.  People are uncomfortable and not sure what to say or how to interact, and so they pull away and many times disappear from the person’s life for good.

In the US there are an estimated 5.4 million people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and every 69 seconds someone develops the disease.   By 2050 those numbers are expected to jump to 16 million people, meaning every 33 seconds someone will develop Alzheimer’s.   In 2010, 14.9 million family members and friends provided 17 billion hours of unpaid care which is valued at 202.6 billion dollars.  We need to create community through unity to care for those dealing with Alzheimer’s, and we need to do it now.

As a society, we desperately need education on how to live gracefully with Alzheimer’s disease.  The Memory Café is taking one step forward to do just that.  It is designed not only to meet the needs of those dealing with the disease by providing support and understanding, but to bring a sense of “normal” back into their lives and the lives of those around them.  The Memory Café will be a place to have fun and laugh once again.

We invite you to drop in and join us!  We meet regularly on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month from 1 to 3 PM at J. Arthur’s Coffee in Roseville, Minnesota.  Or if you think your audience would be interested in hearing about the Memory Café please contact us.  We would be honored to talk with you.

J. Arthur’s Memory Café Meets Twice Each Month

2nd at 4th Wednesdays, 1-3 PM

J. Arthur’s Coffee Shop
2441 Rice Street
Roseville, MN 55113

(651) 294-4782

6 Responses to About

  1. Marilyn Edwards says:

    This sounds like a great idea and much needed. My Mom hade Alzheimers Disease for about 14 years, and I was her sole (or soul) caregiver. We had such a rough time.. there were no websites like these for help. I didn’t have time to research anyway. All my time was for my Mom.. She was with me all of those years, and in my life all my life. My Mother was my best friend. Now that she’s gone, I feel like I’ve been through a war and lost. I had to put her in a nursing home close to the end of her life, and it was so heartwrenching for us both, b ut especially for her because I think she thought I abandoned her, even though I was there everyday. She quit smiling at me beforee she died, and it hurt me so much. Right now I can’t get t hose memories out of my head, and am at a loss of what to do. I have no one in my life, and I don’t understand why. I’ve gotten some info on starting a Memory Cafe, but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it. The thing that hurts me most is that peopl didn’t realize my Mother was a person. The needed the things we all need. Friendleness, attention, respect, communication, love, activity, patience, and especially to keep some sort of connection to the world. I tried to give her all of that, but one person can’t do it

    • HI Marilyn
      Thanks for writing. I’m so sorry you are struggling with the loss of you r Mother. Mine is getting closer and closer to the end and I have no idea how I will react. I keep telling myself and trying to train myself to focus on the joy. Not the things that sadden or scare me. I can’t imagine that your Mother didn’t feel your love for her as it is apparent to me through your writing. Sometimes as you know they just can’t react like they used too, like a smile. We get so used to looking for the same reactions sometimes we miss other signs even if it is a light kooing noise.. If you are interested in having me send you specific information on the Memory Cafe and how to set one up, please shot me your email and I will be glad to send what I have to you. You are right more people need to understand this disease, learn how to connect with those who have the disease and those caring for people with Alzheimer’s .
      Best of luck to you.


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  4. Nichole says:

    Is those only for folks suffering from Alztheimers? My 79 year old Grandmother is suffering from a fair amount of memory loss due to a large stroke she encountered about 10 years ago and could benefit from a fun group like this. She currently resides in a memory care facility but it’s quite drab and depressing especially for someone with such fun spirits such as her.

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