Living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is difficult not only for the patients but for their caregivers as well. The main issue at stake here is that patients wrestling with this condition don’t have enough support from a community that understands what’s it like to live with Alzheimer’s.
Many studies revealed that both Alzheimer’s disease patients and caregivers have a tendency of isolating themselves from the outside world. While this act is understandable, to some degree, many organizations believe that the answer lies in sharing experiences and socializing.
Maryann Makekau is the leader of such an organization whose purpose is to bring some joy and hope into the lives of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Hope Matters is the name of the NGO led by Maryann Makekau.
Although the organization can only offer limited help to Alzheimer’s disease patients, they mostly aim at making the people and their caregivers come of their shells and socialize. Once a month, Makekau and the volunteers working for Hope Matters, put together various social events at local coffee clubs.
These gatherings are called Memory Cafés, and both patients and caregivers are invited to mingle, taste some great food, and listen to smooth and inspiring tunes. In addition, as Makekau pointed out, the highlights of each social gathering are the art projects.
More than that, Makekau added, there’s this sense of familiarity inspired by the setting. Each month, patients and caregivers have a special and safe place to go. This is extremely therapeutic for the patients since no one judges them based on their mental disabilities.
According to Makekau, the Memory Cafes are held one time per month in three different locations. For example, the Memory Café at the Breakfast Table Café, Destin is being held every last Wednesday of each month. The event then moves to Fort Walton Beach, where the event is being hosted on the last Thursday of each month.
Finally, on the last Monday of each month, patient and caregivers can reconvene for their monthly rendezvous at a mobile coffee shop in Crestview.
The leader of the organization declared that approximately 25 to 30 attend these gatherings, but she’s confident that the community will grow in no time.
As she pointed out, Alzheimer’s is a struggle with time, and that patients must spend as much time with family members, caregivers, and other patients before it’s too late.
Image source: Adventurejay
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