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Cape Hospital to host Memory Café
October 10, 2017

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Starting this month, Cape Coral Hospital will offer something beyond a typical support group for individuals suffering from dementia and their care partners.

Lee Health has teamed up with the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer's Resource Center, Alzheimer's Association and others to host Memory Caf. The monthly gathering will be open to those living with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease or other dementias, as well as their caregivers.

"Through the partnership, we will be offering social engagement and support," Molly Grubbs, the director of Lee Health's Healthy Life Center, said.

The group will meet on the second Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon in Classroom A at the hospital. However, the first meeting - Oct. 13 - will be held in the SHARE Club Computer Lab.

A second group meets on the third Saturday of each month at the Healthy Life Center in Estero.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, research shows that people who regularly engage in social interaction maintain their brain vitality. Sports, cultural activities, emotional support and close personal relationships appear to have a protective effect against dementia. For those with cognitive impairments, social activities help create positive experiences and can help reduce stress, agitation and restlessness.

Grubbs explained that the group participants will take part in some fun activity at each meeting, including line dancing, memory journaling, art, nutrition, portrait reflections, chair yoga and more.

The October meeting will be art themed.

"It'll be a monthly gathering that will include refreshments and enjoyable programs," she said. "They're meant to be fun activities in a relaxed setting."

Along with the social experience, the participants will learn something and meet new people.

"It's a way for people to meet other people with the same diagnosis, so they're not alone," Grubbs said.

She pointed out that the Memory Caf is open to the individuals and their care partners.

"I don't think there's a lot of groups like this that take that into account," she said.

Local resources voiced the need for something beyond the typical support groups.

"They're identified the need for a local resource like this," Grubbs said. "It's more of a fun social activity for these folks. It's also education focused."

While Lee Health will provide the venue, the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer's Resource Center and Alzheimer's Association will provide the resources and support for those who choose to participate. Florida Gulf Coast University and Keiser University are also partners for the new Memory Caf.

FGCU students will participate as a course-based service-learning activity.

"FGCU has geriatric studies, where students are going to school to work with older adults," Grubbs said. "So this program works out well for them to gain experience working with this population."

Keiser students will track and measure the affect that participation has on the group.

"They, too, had an interest in helping us volunteering and looking at the outcomes from the program," she said, citing factors such as quality of life, whether the participants feel more social and such.

Organizers are hoping for a group of between 20 and 40 people.

"They can pick and choose their programs of interest," Grubbs said. "It's not like a series, where they have to go to every one."

Reservations, however, are requested.

For additional information or to RSVP for the Memory Caf, please call 239-424-3210.

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