Cranston welcomes new Memory Café

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On July 12, the Cranston Memory Café re-opened in a new location at the Cranston Enrichment Center.

The café’s new home is part of the Cranston Department of Senior Services “Dementia Friendly Cranston” initiative, which is supported by a grant from the Tufts Health Foundation’s Momentum Fund.

The plan is for people experiencing memory-loss issues and their caregivers to gather at the café on the second Friday of every month at 10 a.m. The program will afford participants a chance to socialize and connect with available resources.

Memory cafés aim to address one of the most difficult aspects of dementia and memory-loss related issues – the isolation that patients and their caregivers often experience. The memory café approach was developed by Dutch psychiatrist Dr. Bere Miesen in 1997, and it has since spread to other parts of Europe, Australia and the United States.

Rhode Island is home to more than 23,000 individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which is just one of scores of dementia-related conditions.

Laurie Gunter Mantz, an occupational therapist and owner of Dementia Training for Life LLC, organizes memory cafés throughout Rhode Island. Dementia Training for Life specializes in training health care professionals, first responders and family members regarding the special needs of those experiencing dementia.

Cafés are free and open to anyone with cognitive impairment and their care partners.

“On behalf of the staff here at the Enrichment Center, we are very excited to have collaborated with Laurie and look forward to working together,” Jeffrey Barone, director of the city’s Department of Senior Services, said during the July 12 gathering.

There are currently eight memory cafés in Rhode Island, with three more set to begin by the end of September. All the locations, dates and times can be found on the Dementia Training for Life website, dementiatraining4life.com/ri-memory-cafes.

Anyone interested in becoming a co-sponsor or host of a memory café, or who wishes to volunteer, is asked to email

laurie@dementiatraining4life.com or visit Dementia Training for Life’s website.

“We are thrilled to partner with Laurie Mantz, certified dementia practitioner and trainer, as well as Maxine Hutchins and Naomi Cotrone from Right at Home, to bring the Memory Café to the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center,” said Jennifer M. Kevorkian, social services director at the Cranston Enrichment Center. “Programs like this help us to better serve not only those people living with dementia, but their caregivers as well.”

The Cranston Enrichment Center is located at 1070 Cranston St. For more information, contact Kevorkian at 780-6254.

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