Our Founder Emily-Jane Stapley, established the Dementia Cafe charity in 2015 after her Mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Read her personal story below:
In 2013 my Mother, Joan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. I went to the doctor’s office to talk about her ‘forgetful memory’. After being told that my Mother had Alzheimer’s
and that it would kill her, I couldn’t quite grasp how something in the brain could affect the whole body. I had heard of Alz of course, in my mind, it was a part of getting old
and made the memory a bit fluffy. What I didn’t realise was that it would be the cause of Mum taking her very last breath. It was two years before I realised in 2015 that there was
a gap in the care system for those living with dementia. I thought about the unsuitability of Mum’s own home, of cafes and social environments for those with dementia. How being
confined to your house shouldn’t be the social norm and how upsetting it must be to sit in your own home, surrounded by the growing frustration of things not working properly
anymore and not understanding why. Having a cup of tea and a chat, in the right space, where daily challenges were removed, could make a difference.
Emily-Jane Stapley. -Founder of Dementia Cafe
The Dementia Cafe
Dementia is not ‘something old people just get’. Dementias are terminal brain diseases. Early stage dementia may see one forgetting their glasses. In late stages, the brain
may forget to tell the body to breathe. In the UK 1 in 3 people will develop the disease, dementia.Last year, cancer received more than $5.3 Billion in funding from the US National
Institutes of Health (NIH). In comparison, Alzheimer’s only received $562 Million.Dementia is isolating. As the brain slowly shuts down, gradually those with brain diseases will
find they cannot do some of the things they used to be able to do, they may not understand why. This is worrying. Over time, speech may be affected, mobility and memory.
Our memories are all that we have and all that we know. They make us who we are, they help us through our day, they create our character, they allow us to connect to
others, to find our way home and they comfort us in times of isolation and worry. What if you didn’t have that? What if you had very few memories of your life? What’s your
Dementia Café Meetups focus on breaking down barriers, feeling ok, joining other’s socially without worry and without judgement, being able to be happy for a couple of hours. The
café meetups remove difficult ‘everyday tasks’ and focus on being present in the moment. As we build on the meetups, memory of it is moved from the short term to the long term
memory. Charities do currently host dementia café meetups in existing spaces such as old churches or village halls; because of this, the meetups are often cancelled, if the
organistaion needs their space back. This poses several problems: The meetup being cancelled can leave attendees confused and feeling let down, especially if it’s the highlight of
their week socially. Additionally renting spaces costs money and these resources could be used to benefit the users and go back into dementia care/research rather than to other
sources. Finally, existing spaces, typically used for Dementia Cafes are not always suitable because they are not purpose built for those with dementia. This highlights the need
for a private space.We intend to provide a purpose built cafe that accommodates everyone.The cafe will be free to use and non-profit. We support healthy, plant based options and as
such, are dairy free. The cafe is for those with dementia and their friends and families.