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The local Alzheimer’s Support Group will host the first Alzheimer’s Café from 2-4 p.m. Thursday at the White Rock Baptist Church.
“We first heard of the idea from a postcard for the Santa Fe Alzheimer’s Cafe,” said Vickie Griffis, support group organizer. “We did a little research and found out these cafés are opening up all over the world. The first one opened in the Netherlands in 1997 to support caregivers.”
Local resident Jim Dalton, who has early on-set Alzheimer’s, attended the one in Santa Fe, and his wife Deb was so excited to see the ‘old Jim,’ for those few minutes, smiling, happy and not withdrawn.
The idea snowballed into having one in Los Alamos.
“Although we have a support group, it is in the evening, which can be a difficult time for Alzheimer’s victims and then of course care-givers,” Griffis said.
The idea to offer a choice at mid-day made a lot of sense. The Pony Club volunteered right away, to help with snacks and some monetary donations allowed for the purchase of plates and napkins. Entertainment found its way to the project, with Dean Judd offering to play piano.
Deb Dalton volunteered to look for a home for the café and starting contacting places. “The White Rock Baptist Church was wonderful and have been so helpful, we were set to go.”
Los Alamos Middle School students in a community service class offered last semester have spent class time creating texture boards, which will be on display during the cafe. The students hope that memory could be aided by the sense of touch. The students created texture boards based on music, sports and fashion.
Griffis is thrilled to have an opportunity to provide a different type of support group to the community while allowing caregivers to enjoy a relaxed time with their loved one and to enjoy the camaraderie of others dealing with the same issues, and traveling the same road.
The journey can be a long one without the love and support of family, friends and community. The cafe offers the venue of feeling and sharing those concerns for those facing the challenges of dementia or Alzheimer’s everyday.
The cafe is not a “drop-off” for victims, but a chance for the caregiver to enjoy interaction with others and the victim to enjoy the afternoon with no stigma, no explanations needed. There is no charge for the event and for more information, call Griffis at 662-4038.