dementia cafe

In praise of a dementia café and Village Manager Irene Conner

Having residents living with dementia is increasingly an issue and it’s wonderful to see village managers adapt.

Case in point is Bolton Clarke-owned Acacia Living Group’s Jurien Bay Village in the coastal town, 220km north of Perth.

“There a lot of cafes in Jurien Bay but they are all based around tourism and aren’t accessible or comfortable for people with dementia,” Jurien Bay Village Manager Irene Conner said.

She and the Village Residents Association contacted Forget-me-not Dementia Support Association and decided to create a Forget Me Not Café which opened last month.

The Forget Me Not Café opens initially inside the village’s Reflections Café on every third Friday of the month.

“This is like a café within a café really – customers can come along and there are different things on the tables like colouring-in activities and fiddle mats,” Irene said.

Jurien Bay Village Social Club Secretary and resident Amanda Wallis said it was something the club felt would make a difference within the village and local community.

“We opened our own café called Reflections Café earlier this year in the village and were interested in creating a Forget-me-not café,” Amanda said.

“There were customers with dementia that attended with their family and carers and they just absolutely loved it.

“I know for the carers it’s a huge job so this is also a place where they can come to relax and just be themselves for a while.”

Going beyond just serving coffee and cake, Amanda and the volunteers also stay connected making regular phone calls to the customers with dementia.

“We can ring them and let them know when the next café is on and see how they are going,” Amanda said.

“For people with dementia, it’s not the end of their life it’s just a different path and journey they are taking.

“Some people feel stressed and horrible with it and they withdraw from society so it’s nice for them to come out and feel supported.”

Share this post