Memory Cafés Bringing Fun and Companionship for Lexington Seniors with Memory Impairment

Where Caring For Your Loved One is Our Priority

The following article was published in Lexington’s Colonial Times’ August/September 2016 edition

On the third Wednesday in June, 14 seniors and caregivers gathered with adult-day-health professionals at the Lexington Senior Center to dance, laugh, learn, and enjoy a couple of uniquely care-free hours.  Big band standards filled the Senior Center as dance therapist Audrey Albert King led her audience through dance routines designed to stimulate creativity and highlight successes and strengths.

At Cooperative Elder Services, Inc.’s (CESI) monthly Memory Cafés, individuals impacted by memory impairment are gaining much-needed support, stimulation, and education. CESI’s Memory Cafés gather individuals living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia – along with their caregivers – in a relaxed, stigma-free environment to experience a sense of community and enjoy activities tailored to their interests and limitations.

“Memory Cafés are designed to engage creativity, to provide opportunities where care partners and individuals with memory impairment can interact on equal footing,” said CESI Executive Director Erica Johnson.  “Alzheimer’s does not affect the area of the brain that processes music and art until later stages, which gives us a great opportunity to engage seniors with dementia in creative and meaningful activities which their caregivers can share.” 

According to the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, 15.8 % of Lexington seniors – or 900 residents – have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.  The impact of Alzheimer’s can be extensive, and Memory Cafés address some of the overlooked day-to-day challenges of living with the disease: they reduce isolation and create an environment of community and support; and they bring respite to lives that all too often become focused on illness.

For nearly 40 years, CESI has provided specialized memory care at its adult day health centers in Arlington, Burlington, Concord, Groton, and Milton.  Incidence of Alzheimer’s is projected to increase by 24% over the next decade; CESI is using its expertize to address the growing need for early-stage dementia programs by bringing its memory care programming out into the community in the form of Memory Cafés.

Thanks to the generosity of the Dana Home Foundation, CESI will be hosting monthly Memory Cafés at the Lexington Senior Center through the Fall of 2017.  Each Café features a performance or activity – such as dance/movement therapy, sing-alongs, ukulele lessons, art education and discussion, dance instruction, and comedy – meaningful conversation, education and resources on memory impairment, and coffee and refreshments.

Lexington Memory Cafés are held on the third Wednesday of every month from 9:00am to 11:00am at the Lexington Community Center, located at 39 Marrett Road.  Walk-ins are welcome, and the program is open to all Lexington-area residents. The next Lexington Memory Café will be held on September 21st.  Please note that a care partner must accompany participants who require personal care assistance. 

In the words of a caretaker who recently attend a CESI Memory Café, “It was a great opportunity to get out in a social fashion – a break from all of the doctor’s appointments. I feel really good about giving [my parents] the chance to just have fun and socialize.”

For additional information about the Lexington Memory Café – or to schedule free transportation to or from the event – contact CESI Outreach Coordinator Abby Ferreira at (781) 863-1166 ext. 104 or

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