Page 38 - S36.Autumn 2019
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Memory Cafes
An Important Part of a
Dementia Friendly Southington
by Katy O’Leary Bannister
Director of Community Development, LiveWell Dementia Specialists
Have you heard about the new monthly Memory Café at the Southington Public Library? The Café is a social event for family members and individuals experiencing cognitive changes from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Each Café event offers conversation, light snacks and an activity. Already in its third month, a core group of “regulars” are hav- ing a ball co-creating a sense of community through friendship and fun at this free monthly gathering.
Loneliness and lack of purpose shorten our lives. In psychologist Susan Pinker’s book, “The Vil- lage Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter,” she explains that from birth to death, human beings are hard- wired to connect to other human beings. Face-to- face contact matters; tight bonds of friendship and love heal us, help us learn, extend our lives, and make us happy.
Teresa Webb, RN, was an RN Clinical Manager before being diagnosed in 2010 with a form of Fron- totemporal Degeneration (FTD). Now she is a na- tional advocate working on behalf of individuals liv- ing with FTD and other forms of dementias. Teresa believes that Cafés must provide opportunities for meaningful connection for both parties, not just the care partner.
As Teresa told her wife Denise soon after her di- agnosis, “I want to do the dance of life, but I don’t want to do it standing on your toes. You lead, I fol- low, and I lead you follow.” Like most people living with dementia, Teresa lives at home. She and De- nise look for meaningful activities where Teresa isn’t marginalized, as often happens for those living with the disease.
Having many places in the community to gather for meaningful connections and activities is key to the Dementia Friendly Southington initiative, led by LiveWell Dementia Specialists and supported by
the Bradley Henry Barnes and Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust at the Main Street Community Foundation. If you or someone you care for is living with dementia, visit a Memory Café. The Library’s Café is monthly on the second Tuesday afternoon from 1:00-2:30 p.m. LiveWell also offers a monthly Café. It’s on the third Wednesday evening from 5:30- 7:00 p.m.
For more information: Liz Chubet
Adult Program Coordinator Southington Public Library 860 628-0947 ext. 6513
Katy O’Leary
Director of Community Development LiveWell
(Formerly Alzheimer’s Resource Center 860-628-3062
Liz Chubet with the Southington Public Library holding the “Take Me Back Tote” designed for people living with dementia.
Southington Magazine — Autumn 2019

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