MEMORY CAFÉS: An Environmental Scan


Read more about this resource on The Philanthropic Initiative’s website here.

Memory cafés are designed to offer a safe, comfortable, and stimulating gathering space for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) and their caregivers. Dementia is an overall term for a particular group of symptoms including difficulties with memory, language, problem-solving and other cognitive skills that interfere with a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Among the many causes of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common: According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million people, or 1 in every 10 people age 65 and older, are currently living with a diagnosis of ADRD in the United States; that number is expected to increase to 14 million by 2050. Memory cafés offer social support and connection, socialization, health, and wellbeing to participants (at any stage of disease progression) in a welcoming environment. The growth of memory cafés throughout the United States and in other countries speaks both to the critical need they meet and the unique supports they provide.

In August 2020, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and Health Foundation for Western & Central New York commissioned The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) to conduct an environmental scan of memory cafés with emphasis on their development in the U.S. Driven by the facts that 1 in every 10 Americans age 65 and older is living with a diagnosis of ADRD, and that those numbers are expected to increase to 14 million by 2050, the scan:

  • Defines and describes memory cafés, including their core characteristics and geographic presence
  • Summarizes the demonstrated benefits of memory cafés for participants and caregivers (as identified in the literature)
  • Articulates the effective components and best practices of cafés and offers practical guidelines and tools for their implementation
  • Identifies drivers of successful memory café expansion
  • Explores potential applications of the model with other populations, including isolated older adults and caregivers

Download the full report to learn more.

Focus Area: Older Adults

Category: Evaluation, Infographic, Report, Toolkit

Date Published: March 25, 2021