Funding supports Memory Café for seniors with dementia, caregivers

Originally posted on the Toronto Star

Drumheller seniors living with dementia and their caregivers will soon have a new program available due to a $5,000 grant received by the Drumheller Community Seniors Coalition (DCSC).

DCSC, formerly the Drumheller Dementia Coalition, received grant funding from the Rural Development Network to establish a monthly Memory Café program through the Awareness Builds Connection in Dementia (ABCD) communities project.

“Inspiration (for the Memory Cafe) came by working through the wellbeing guide with the Primary Health Care Integrated Geriatric Service Initiative (PHC IGSI) team and generating a better understanding of the needs of the person living with dementia and their care partners, and what was missing in the Drumheller community,” the coalition shared with the Mail.

The coalition originally formed in 2017 and established a weekly day-program supported by the Drumheller and District Seniors Foundation (DDSF). This provided socialization, education, and respite for caregivers; however, a lack of funding and support staff limited further programming and services that were much needed in the community.

The coalition underwent a name change in 2021 when community recreation therapists Kim Larsen and Lisa Orton joined, and the group began looking at grant opportunities to develop new community programs.

Drumheller’s Memory Cafe takes inspiration from other communities in the Central Zone with successfully established programming, and these programs will guide the coalition as they continue establishing the program locally.

The ABCD grant funding will allow the Memory Cafe to operate once a month-on the second Wednesday of the month beginning June 8-and will support various activities and entertainment to help participants reminisce, socialize, enjoy some entertainment or community outings.

DCSC hopes to bring the program to various local attractions, and have so far partnered with the Homestead Antique Museum to host three sessions over the summer.

They are currently looking for volunteers to help facilitate the program, and participants. Anyone interested is encouraged to contact Kim and Lisa at 403-820-7297 for more information.


Holly Udall