CLARKS SUMMIT, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — September is World Alzheimer’s Month. Hundreds of thousands of people, both with the disease and their caretakers, are affected by the problem. Eyewitness News reporter Anja Whitehead explains to us how the Memory Cafe in Clarks Summit is helping families affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.
In Pennsylvania alone, Alzheimer’s impacts hundreds of thousands of people’s lives.
“In 2017, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, 680,000 people are working as unpaid caregivers,” Anne Armezzani, Events Director at the Gathering Place said. “280,000 people are suffering with the disease.”
Due to the shocking statistics, The Gathering Place in Clarks Summit wanted to create a Memory Cafe. This is a safe place for patients with Alzheimer’s, memory loss, and their caregivers to let go of their struggles. It takes place every second and fourth Friday of the month.
“We just have such a good time with the people,” Armezzani said. “They come in and they get out of their homes. They interact. The pictures on the walls will bring back memories.”
During the meetings, they do activities ranging from journaling to coloring, puzzles and even yoga.
“You can just start to calm the mind, then calm the body,” Jaya Yoga Instructor, Peggy Voyce said. “Move from that fight and flight and more to that rest and digest.”
The program is not only to help those dealing with memory loss but to also help caregivers time to take care of themselves.
“You get to talk to other caretakers, you can discuss your common experiences and share ways of possibly handling problems you may encounter,” Paula Baillie, Memory Cafe volunteer.
The Memory Cafe has positive effects on those who come to visit.
“We’ve got one man who when he gets in the door, greets us with a ‘do I know you?’ and gives us all a big hug,” Baillie said. “His wife has told us that at home he tends to be sedentary and kind of quiet. He comes alive here.”
For those who would like to visit the Memory Cafe, it is every second and fourth Friday of the month from 10 am to 11:30 am.