HSL resident: “I’m not sure why I am here. What’s happening right now?”
Social Worker: “This is a special program for people experiencing some challenges with their memory. We have a wonderful afternoon planned”.
HSL resident: “I don’t think I’m having memory issues, but you can tell me if I’m wrong.”
Social Worker: “Well, do you ever have trouble remembering people’s names?”
HSL resident nods and smiles.
Social Worker: “Then you should come join us.”
HSL resident: “Okay, I’m in!!”
Hebrew SeniorLife recently launched “Café Connect,” a new monthly program at NewBridge on the Charles geared specifically for residents experiencing early memory challenges. Café Connect joins an international movement of social gatherings known as “memory cafes” where adults with memory impairment due to mild cognitive impairment or early dementia, and their spouses and friends come together with others facing similar challenges in a supportive, socially and intellectually stimulating environment.
Café Connect launched in October with a group of two dozen NewBridge residents who enjoyed coffee, conversation and the music of Leonard Bernstein. In November, the program featured a short holiday film, food demonstrations and tastings, and lively conversation about family holiday traditions.
Each monthly program blends education, conversation and entertainment, all supported by a dedicated team of staff, adult volunteers and energetic students. The multigenerational component of this program has been an important part of its success. Residents are clearly charmed by the energy, maturity and youthful perspectives of the student participants. In addition, residents realize that the purpose of their attendance at the programs extends beyond their personal fulfillment, to provide an important learning experience for the youth. Indeed, the program benefits everyone involved.
In the coming months, Hebrew SeniorLife hopes to expand its Café Connect program both at NewBridge and its other housing sites.
This blog received input from fellow members of the Café Connect Team:
Elaine Abrams, Program Manager, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care at Hebrew Senior Life until June 2015
Elaine Abrams, MPH, RN, CHES, joined HSL in December 2013 bringing with her more than 25 years of nursing, public health, and health education experience. Her areas of expertise include community health assessment, program development and management, and health communications. A graduate of University of Connecticut Graduate Program in Public Health, Elaine has held several leadership roles including President-elect at the Connecticut Public Health Association, the state affiliate of the American Public Health Association, where she also served for several years on the Board of Directors. Her current role as Program Manager, Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care at Hebrew Senior Life will allow her to use her experience to establish program priorities and oversee all programmatic activities.
Janet Gottler, Community Care Advisor at NewBridge
As the Community Care Advisor at NewBridge, Janet Gottler provides social work support to residents of Independent Living and their families, support groups and special programs. Prior to coming to NewBridge in 2012, Janet was the Director of Long Term Care at Kit Clark Senior Services in Dorchester for ten years and the previous Manager of Medical Social Work at Harvard Vanguard/Harvard Community Health Plan.
Memory Care at Assisted Living at NewBridge on the Charles
NewBridge on the Charles offers the Gilda and Alfred A. Slifka Memory Care Assisted Living Residences to seniors with early stage and mid-stage Alzheimer's Disease and/or a related dementia. The Memory Care Assisted Living Residences at NewBridge on the Charles provides a personalized and meaningful assisted living experience for residents based on the history, preferences and goals of each individual. Short-term stays now available.