WILMINGTON — The Department of Elderly Services has announced the establishment of a new service called Our Moment Café. The grand opening is Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. It is located in the Fourth of July Building. Going forward, café hours will 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. every third Wednesday of each month. The Café is free to all. No registration is required.
Laura Pickett, Case Manager, Wilmington Department of Elderly Services, describes the café as a place for residents who suffer from memory loss and their caregivers to come and just enjoy time together.
“It’s a fun activity; they’re not there to talk about memory loss,” she said. “We are simply providing a safe environment where you don't have to worry about the person acting out or walking out of a building.”
The need for such a place is obvious. Experts report it. Pickett and her fellow staffers see it routinely. The memory loss patients and their caregivers stay home and become more and more isolated. The patients’ behavior can be too unpredictable and being out in a public place can be too stressful for all involved.
In recent years, there has been a push to increase awareness of memory diseases and to help get these people out more. Memory cafes serve that purpose by providing a welcoming and safe place for everyone.
Caregivers have a monthly support group meeting at the town senior center. It was there that one participant said to Pickett, “I can get someone into my home to help, but I'd like to be able to do something with him.” And so that became the goal, to have them come together and enjoy one another in an activity in a safe environment.
The café has been almost a year in the making. Town support was instrumental. The Fourth of July building use was a key element recently approved.
“It's a separate building; it’s handicap accessible, and it’s a small space,” Pickett explained. “It is not overwhelming.”
Community support has been a large part of this endeavor. For example, both Assisting Hands Home Care and WOW (We are One Wilmington) have been financial sponsors. Resident Lori Hayes, RN, will also be a part of the team at Our Moment Café. Hayes and Pickett have worked together on a number of programs dealing with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and Hayes is viewed as an important asset to the endeavor.
Beyond local support, the Department of Elderly Services also worked with the Massachusetts Memory Café organization at the Jewish Family and Children’s Services in Waltham. Their Director of Alzheimer’s/Related Disorders Family Support Program, Beth Soltzberg, assisted Pickett and the staff here. Soltzberg has been instrumental in helping to establish memory cafes throughout the state.
For more information and answers to any and all questions, contact Laura Pickett at 978-657-7595.