New resource to help people with dementia remain socially connected

A new, free resource is now available to help people with dementia, their families and carers, remain socially connected.

The Community Café Toolkit has been designed to help community groups, organisations or individuals set up and run a local café social group for people living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said social isolation remains a major issue for people following a diagnosis of dementia.

“We hear time and again from our consumers that after a diagnosis of dementia, they often lose contact with friends or family members” Ms Bennett said.

“This is often because people don’t understand enough about dementia and no longer know how to relate to the person. This ‘shrinkage’ of their social circle can be immensely stressful at what is an already difficult time.

“Community Cafes can really help in creating opportunities for new friendships, in giving people a chance to socialise with others who understand what they are going through, and to help people feel much more socially connected.” 

Community Cafes provide an informal and social environment where people feel welcomed and accepted. They provide the opportunity for people with dementia and their partners to make new friends while also learning about support services in their area.

Community Cafes can be adapted for specific groups, such as people with younger onset dementia, and for populations in rural or urban locations.

Chris Jones and her husband, Alan, have been attending a dementia-specific Community Café on the central coast of NSW for the past two years.

“The community café in our area has been a great support to both of us in so many ways. This is not just because of the special bond we have formed with people in the same boat as us, but also, because of the wonderful help we have received from our Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker, Justine, who also attends,” Mrs Jones said.

The free Community Café Toolkit is a step-by-step guide to help with setting up and running a café.

The toolkit, developed by Alzheimer’s Australia NSW was made possible by the Alzheimer’s Australia National Quality Dementia Care Initiative funded by the Australian Government as part of the Alzheimer’s Australia national project, Developing Innovative Methods to Respond to Neurodegenerative Disease. These initiatives have been identified as priority areas by people living with dementia and their carers.

For more information, or to download a copy of the toolkit, head here: https://fightdementia.org.au/community-cafe-toolkit