Hello all,

I'm working with our Department of Developmental Services to support the development of cafés that are inclusive of people living with dementia who also have ID/DD.  Has anyone had experience with a memory café that has worked to include these folks?  If so, I'd love to talk with you.



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  • Hi Debora,

    Thanks for following up on this! The context is that there is a growing population of adults aging with an intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD), and many are developing dementia. People with I/DD are about 3% of the general population; not a huge group, but with distinctive and important needs. They've been falling through the cracks between aging and disability services. 

    Last spring the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services (DDS) gave seed grants to 13 start-up or expanding memory cafes around the state. Each included specific plans and strategies to integrate participants with dementia + a developmental disability (folks currently served by DDS), along with people living with dementia from the general population. Many of these cafes were developed and run collaboratively by disabilities services and aging services providers. DDS hired me to conduct half-day trainings in 5 locations around the state, and one of these was recorded (view at 


    Initial results are that guests are getting along with one another beautifully! I've heard many wonderful stories. Staff from these two service systems have more challenges, such as reconciling calendars, and allocating staff to accompany individual guests who reside in group settings to a memory cafe. DDS will soon receive first quarter data from the cafes that it funded, and will complete a more formal evaluation.

    Through our Percolator Memory Cafe Network, we're also encouraging coordinators of existing cafes to reach out to DDS providers in their community, and invite these guests to participate.

    Anyone who wishes is welcome to email me at bsoltzberg@jfcsboston.org, and I can share the slides from a recent presentation about the inclusive cafes that I co-led with a DDS leader. I'm more than happy to share what I've learned, and would encourage other cafes to welcome this population!

  • Hi Beth,

    It's been a while since you posted this question.  I'm wondering what you've learned about improving inclusivity at memory cafes for people with intellectual or developmental challenges. Thanks in advance for any information!

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