Press Release - Friend's Circle: A Memory Cafe

Attention: Press Members and Community Leaders

Contact: Donna Sobel, dsobel@greenwoodhouse.org

New Group for those with Memory Concerns and their Care Partners: Friends Circle: A Memory Café

PRINCETON, NJ – Greenwood House, a non-profit, nonsectarian senior health care continuum based in Ewing, NJ, is pleased to introduce their latest program, Friends Circle, a memory café. For those living with memory challenges and their care partners, Friends Circle is a two-hour social gathering designed to stimulate shared connections via music, art, meaningful conversation, education and resources. Each month, a creative artist facilitates an engaging activity. Memory cafés involve creative arts because these draw upon aspects of cognitive functioning that are affected last and least by most conditions causing dementia.  Therefore, guests can engage in these activities despite their cognitive abilities.  The café will be held at Adath Israel Congregation in Lawrenceville, NJ.

The concept of a memory café began in Holland in 1997 and Friends Circle is the first memory café in Central NJ.  Today, there are over 300 memory cafés in the United States.  Friends Circle welcomes guests with all levels of memory concerns along with their care partners who may include a spouse, adult child, friend, or professional caregiver.

According to dementia experts, memory cafés provide a break from disease and disability. They offer social connectivity, inclusion and a time to step out of the daily routine.  People living with dementia can become isolated due to increasing difficulty of engaging in everyday activities.  There’s also the stigma that makes people feel unwelcome or embarrassed in public situations.  Isolation can increase the effects of dementia and often leads to depression and other medical conditions.  Memory cafés provide normalcy, a welcoming environment and a fun social outlet for shared enjoyment.

While information about resources will be available, guests will not be asked about their diagnosis. There is no open discussion about illness or memory.  This way everyone, including those who haven’t been diagnosed, feel welcome.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, between 2019 and 2025 the projected number of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to increase by 17%.  In addition, out of the total U.S. population 1 in 10 people (10%) age 65 & older have Alzheimer’s dementia.

Memory cafés are a first step towards creating “Dementia Friendly” communities.  They spread awareness and participation from multiple sectors throughout the community.  For example, businesses can become sponsors, local artists or musicians can facilitate activities, and community members can volunteer.

Greenwood House has been committed to total health and well-being since 1939. “As Greenwood House’s vision for the future evolves, Friends Circle affirms our continued focus on preventive care and wellness and supports the growing needs of the community,” says Richard Goldstein, Executive Director of Greenwood House. “A tradition of care, comfort and support in an atmosphere of compassion and dignity – while providing opportunities for social, emotional and spiritual engagement is what it’s all about”,  he adds.

Friends Circle is co-sponsored by Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County and funded through sponsorships, donations, and a grant from the Lawrence Township Community Foundation. Friends Circle is endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s New Jersey, and the Mercer County Office on Aging.

Date and time:  The second Tuesday each month beginning July 9, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Location: Adath Israel Congregation, 1958 Lawrenceville Road (US-206), Lawrenceville, NJ

Cost:  Free & Open to the Public; Refreshments will be served

Registration Required:  Please contact Donna Sobel, DSobel@Greenwoodhouse.org or 609-883-5391, ext. 388