People living with dementia and their care-givers often experience ‘shrinkage’ of and ‘being dropped’ by their circle of friends, and being misunderstood by their friends and family. Carers also experience a decrease in the emotional support from the person they are caring for as the disease progresses. The stigma associated with dementia can sometimes lead to loneliness for both the person living with dementia and their carers and they can feel they are no longer welcome in the community.
Memory cafés provide an opportunity for people with dementia, carers and the community to interact, laugh, and talk together. These destination events can make a major difference to the wellbeing and quality of life of people with dementia. Regular social connection and social support are also important for carers with emotional support being critical in reducing the psychological vulnerability of carers.
The Connect Café project has been supported by a Liveable Communities Program grant from the Department of Premier & Cabinet’s Sport, Recreation and Communities Division. Funding enabled the Dementia-Friendly Central Coast project team to develop and implement a creative arts program and weekly memory (type) café called the ‘Connect Café’ in the first half of 2018.
This first program of the Connect Café facilitated a space for people to come together and share in social activities and refreshments in the Gnomon Room at the Ulverstone Wharf Precinct. The Connect Café program was well received in the community and two more programs followed in the same format throughout 2018. The continued enthusiasm and interest in the Dementia-Friendly Central Coast Connect Café project reflects the community spirit in Central Coast.
The Dementia-Friendly Central Coast project received grant funding by the Tasmanian Community Fund in January 2019 to enable extension of the innovative Connect Cafe initiative, which has operated weekly since mid-2018. This grant funding opportunity will enable people to continue to come together in a supportive environment, share in pet therapy, enjoy entertainment and activities such as circus performances that provide a sense of connection, belonging and fun that can make people feel free and affirm that they are still welcome in the community. All this while enjoying a cuppa and light refreshments.
We would like to share this video in celebration of the Connect Café.
We would like to thank café patrons and volunteer Café Attendants whose enthusiasm and dedication has made the Connect Café such a success from week to week. We would also like to thank members of Working Group, whose collective vision in bringing the Connect Café concept to the community was seminal to the Connect Café creating a positive difference to those in our community living with dementia and their carers. Also, thank you to those who have contributed funding for the initiative, including Council, a Liveable Community Grant from the Sport and Recreation Division of Premier and Cabinet and a grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund.
Once again, thank you for your support and we hope to see you all at the Connect Café soon.
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