MEMORY CAFÉS: An Environmental Scan


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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.

TPI conducted an environmental scan commissioned by the Health Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

The primary goals of this environmental scan are to:
• Define and describe memory cafés including their core characteristics and geographic presence
• Summarize the demonstrated benefits of memory cafés for participants and caregivers (as identified in the literature)
• Articulate the effective components and best practices of cafés and offer practical guidelines and tools for their implementation
• Identify drivers of successful memory café expansion
• Explore potential applications of the model with other populations, including isolated older adults, rural older adults, and caregivers.


Focus Area: Older Adults

Category: Evaluation, Infographic, Report, Toolkit

Date Published: March 25, 2021