What is a Memory Café?

Memory cafés (also called Alzheimer's cafés) are social gatherings where people experiencing memory loss and their care partners come together to connect and support one another in a relaxed, non-judgmental atmosphere. Some cafés include engaging activities and provide additional information and support based on the needs of their community. Refreshments and entertainment are common elements and gatherings can take place in locations such as community centers, museums and existing cafés.

Memory Cafés were developed in Holland 15 years ago and have proliferated in Europe, in part because these grassroots community-building programs are low-cost, early interventions that complement more traditional support services for people with memory loss and their care partners. The memory café movement is gaining momentum in the US, with at least 60 new cafés now in operation.

What is the Memory Café Catalyst?

The Memory Café Catalyst aims to encourage more community driven development of neighborhood memory cafés. This online community provides connection and an opportunity for sharing ideas between people developing or working at memory cafés. Please join our conversation and feel free to share any news or information that addresses the larger issue of how to strengthen community for people living with memory loss and their care partners.

Who are we?

The members of this website have an interest in, or direct connection with, the memory café movement. The Memory Café Catalyst community facilitator, Debora Tingley, is a gerontologist who has a passion for improving quality of life for those living with memory loss. The impetus for this project developed out of her master’s degree thesis on memory cafés completed at the San Francisco State University Department of Gerontology. Debora is co-facilitator of Memory Care Cafe in San Francisco, and cofounder of Gezellig Magazine, a national online resource with uplifting, engaging activities for care partners. She also has a PhD in Neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and over 15 years’ experience in research, medical writing and project management.