Memory Café offers those with Alzheimer’s, dementia a place to socialize


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A person struggling with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may find it difficult to maintain the same level of socialization they once knew, but a local venue offers people with memory loss and their caregivers a comfortable, engaging place to laugh, learn and remain socially engaged.

    Louisville’s first Memory Café will launch August 26. A collaborative effort between the University of Louisville School of Nursing Caregivers Program of Research and the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter, this social group will typically meet the last Monday of each month at 2 p.m. at the Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 6100 Dutchmans Lane, Suite 401, Louisville, Ky.

    The concept originated in the United Kingdom more than a decade ago, and now there are about 100 Memory Cafés in the United States. The Louisville café is the second in Kentucky, but first locally.

    “Our goal is to celebrate the individual beyond the disease. It’s a respite from daily routines and issues relating to the disease. Guests explore art, music, poetry and discussion. Laughter and acceptance are the keystones of these cafes,” said Karen Robinson, PhD, PMHCNS, BC, FAAN, executive director, UofL School of Nursing Caregivers Program of Research.

    “We want this to be a safe, comfortable place for people with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Teri Shirk, executive director, Greater Kentucky and Southern Indiana chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. “We offer numerous support groups and information to caregivers but find there are few programs available for people with the disease. Memory Cafés give those with the disease a sense of freedom to interact in society.”

    Each month’s café will focus on a different theme such as bringing homemade crafts to share with the group, discussing a favorite holiday tradition or sharing a photo of a favorite memory.

    “Talking about the past is always a better memory than the present,” Shirk said, “so we want to focus on these types of topics.”

    Participation in the Memory Café is free and open to anyone with memory issues and their caregiver. Food will be provided. The date for next month’s café is September 30. To register, contact Samantha Davis, 502-852-2273 or

    Julie Heflin
    Julie oversees digital content for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She began her UofL career on the Health Sciences Center campus in 2007. Prior to this, Julie was a journalist with WFPL (Louisville Public Media), and occasionally filed reports for National Public Radio.