YMCA Southdale, Yorkshire of Edina Host Memory Cafes for People with Dementia

by | Apr 2020

A woman drinks tea at a Memory Cafe event


At the Memory Cafe, senior community members living with memory impairment and their caregivers can mingle with others in similar situations.

Due to the extenuating circumstances in our community during the creation of this issue, please note that some events/dates and even some business operations may have changed since these pages went to print. Please check the YMCA website for updates on this event.

This past March was the first in a three-month Memory Café series hosted by Senior Community Services (SCS) at the Southdale YMCA Center. On Friday the 24th of this month, senior community members living with memory impairment along with their caregivers will have another opportunity to attend this event.

“This program is a program for people who are caring for someone with dementia or another type of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Krystal Wiebusch LSW, a social worker with SCS. “It’s a place caregivers can find support and know that they can not only come and mingle with other people in a similar type of situation as them but participate in a meaningful activity with their care receiver.”

These activities run the gamut from cooking to crafting, gardening to stretching. While their loved ones are engaged in these activities, caregivers are invited to a 45-minute support group run by Wiebusch.

“There will be opportunity to problem-solve with other caregivers, to learn how they can do better with their own self-care, reduce signs of depression and hopefully gain some confidence to delay placement in an assisted nursing home for their loved one,” says Wiebusch.

The Memory Cafés run by her colleagues in other suburbs have seen plenty of success, and Wiebusch says a lot of this is due to community support. “We have such a good connection already between the Edina Southdale Y and SCS,” says Wiebusch.

The program also has sponsorship from the Yorkshire of Edina, a local assisted living facility. Aside from covering the costs of the support group and activities, the Yorkshire will also provide refreshments. “So it really will be a café,” Wiebusch says with a laugh. “With this collaboration of myself and our programs and our grants and the Y’s resources and this contribution from the Yorkshire we’re able to offer this at no cost to participants and I think that’s important.”

The goal is to change outlooks, Wiebusch says. “With the care receivers with memory loss, they might not remember exactly what activity they did. But if they had a good experience, feeling secure and doing a meaningful activity with others, they’ll remember that feeling of pride and accomplishment.”
Caregivers also will walk away with something. “Maybe they get to vent and it was listened to, or they gathered resources they can try,” Wiebusch says. “They’re definitely taking away something different, something very powerful.”

The spring series of the Memory Cafés runs through May on the fourth Friday of the month, from 1–2:30 p.m. The program will resume in September. Due to limited space, those interested are encouraged to register by calling the Southdale YMCA at 952.835.2567.

Southdale YMCA
7355 York Ave. S.


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