New support gathering offered for Alzheimer’s/dementia patients

The Aloha Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is teaming up with the county Office on Aging and local community service organizations to host the first Memory Cafe Hui, a monthly gathering place for those living with memory challenges, such as mild cognitive impairment, early stage Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and their caregivers, whose lives can be overwhelmed by the demands of the disease.

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 22, Memory Cafe Hui will meet from 4:30-6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month in the conference room at the Aging and Disability Resource Center at 1055 Kinoole St. in Hilo.

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“We are excited about this new program,” said Patrick Toal, Hawaii Island regional coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association. “It’s been very successful in other locations in the U.S. and we believe it will be a huge help to those dealing with dementia on our island.”

Studies show people who stay socially active maintain their brain vitality longer. Sports, cultural activities, emotional support and close personal relationships appear to have a protective and preventive effect against dementia. For those already living with dementia, social activities can help reduce stress, agitation and restlessness.

Nationally, Memory Cafes provide a social break from the disease, a time to step out of daily routines in a welcoming environment with others who share a difficult lifestyle. Hawaii Island’s Memory Cafe Hui will also provide different educational opportunities each month.

The person with memory challenges can learn something new and participate in memory-stimulating activities with a Hawaiian influence, such as special arts and crafts, crossword puzzles and word recognition. For the caregiver, much needed personal support and a few hours of relaxation make the program especially helpful.

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No reservation necessary

For more information, contact Toal at 518-6649 or by email at patoal@alz.org.

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