Memory Cafés to open in Eltham and Diamond Creek

by Olive McIntosh
29th August 2022

MEMORY CAFES are safe spaces for those diagnosed with dementia and other brain disorders and their primary carer to come together with fellow sufferers, connect, and share information.
The success of the Memory Café program at Hurstbridge Community Hub has seen the service expand.
Two new Memory Cafés are about to open in Eltham and Diamond Creek, which are scheduled to begin in late September.
When someone is diagnosed with dementia, the word Alzheimer’s immediately springs to mind.
There are many forms of dementia.
What they all have in common is the sense of confusion that is created for the sufferer and their primary carer(s).
As the condition progresses, there can also be a steady increase in social isolation.
It’s a time of gradual but considerable change, and navigating the complex systems of government and other services can be difficult.
The Memory Café at Hurstbridge provides a weekly meeting that aims to cater for the needs of the person with dementia and their primary carer.
Some participants may not have a dementia diagnosis but are experiencing memory loss or impairment.
This group has been running successfully for several months, each Monday afternoon from 1:30pm to 3pm.
Health Ability runs the administration of the café.
It is staffed by staff and volunteers, all of whom have professional and/or personal experience in dementia.
While those with dementia or memory loss gather in a group to play games and talk, the carers form a group and share everything from information sessions to personal experiences.
As a carer, you can learn about the services other carers have used, overcome obstacles, and find ways to look after yourself.
Carer burnout is a common problem.
The adage “a problem shared is a problem halved” is based on the belief that if you tell someone about a problem, it is easier to deal with.
In this carer group, you may find someone who has faced the same difficulty and how they’ve overcome it.
If no one has faced that problem, they may still guide you to a source of help and support.
The advantage is that you can discuss the person you care for without needing to talk about them in their presence.
They are in another space enjoying a cuppa, cake and the company of others.
You are also amongst people who genuinely understand what you’re experiencing and are non-judgemental in their approach.
The success of the Memory Café in Hurstbridge has led to the creation of two new groups in Eltham and Diamond Creek, providing choices for carers and participants.
The two new cafes will run fortnightly until numbers are large enough to go weekly.

From Tuesday, September 20, the Eltham Memory Café will meet at St Margaret’s Anglican Church Hall, 78 Pitt Street, Eltham, from 1:30pm to 3pm.

From Wednesday, September 28, the Diamond Creek Memory Café will meet at St John’s Anglian Church Hall, 61 Main Street, Diamond Creek, from 1:30pm to 3pm.

The Hurstbridge group will continue to meet weekly on Mondays (except on public holidays) at the Hurstbridge Community Hub, Graysharps Road, from 1:30pm to 3pm.

Health Ability administrates the Memory Cafés; for further information on this and other services, visit healthability.org.au.