Memory café offers safe space for those with dementia

Article image - Memory café offers safe space for those with dementia Community members enjoy the memory café in Toodyay.

A new café in Toodyay Shire, Western Australia (WA), is helping people with dementia and their loved ones cope with the diagnosis.

A growing network of ‘memory cafés’, supported by Alzheimer’s WA, is helping communities across the state to become more dementia-friendly.

A memory café opened in Toodyay earlier this year thanks to the efforts of Angi McCluskey, a former Toodyay resident.

Angi’s husband Michael was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s four years ago. As a social couple, the McCluskeys longed for places they could meet friends and relax without facing any awkward conversations.

This sparked the idea for the memory café – a safe environment where people living with dementia and their partners or carers can socialise in a safe, relaxed environment and reduce the social isolation many feel after a dementia diagnosis.  

Angi helped open Toodyay’s memory café in April at ‘The Cola Café’, with support of the Shire and Alzheimer’s WA.

The Shire wishes to extend a special thank you to Layla Riley from Alzheimer’s WA, Bec and Michael Kays from the Cola Café for their assistance in getting this initiative off the ground, and to all the community members who came along in support.  

Alzheimer’s WA is striving to create dementia-friendly communities in which whole townships or suburbs are geared towards helping people live with dementia. The memory café in Toodyay is one part of that goal.

The Shire of Toodyay is committed to becoming a Dementia Friendly Town, where people living with dementia can confidently go about their everyday lives while living in a supportive community.  

The Toodyay Dementia Friendly Working Group meets regularly giving opportunity for business and community members to show their support to get involved with this project.  

Toodyay’s Memory Cafe runs on the second Tuesday of every month from 10am at The Cola Cafe.