What is a dementia cafe and can it help my loved one

What is a dementia cafe and can it help my loved one?

5 min read |
Alistair Clay Author

Author 05.01.2024

Alistair Clay

Are you thinking about visiting your local dementia cafe?

These dedicated, friendly spaces are a great place for people living with dementia and their loved ones to meet others.

Plus they provide activities that cater to the cognitive and sensory needs of people living with the condition.

This article will cover everything you need to know about dementia cafes and how they can benefit your loved one.

Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover:

  • A dementia cafe is a safe and supportive environment for people living with dementia.
  • The purpose of a dementia cafe is to create an inclusive and supportive space for its visitors.
  • Dementia cafes offer fun activities and are valuable places for those living with dementia and their caregivers.
  • As well as making friends, you can chat with dementia care professionals for support and information.
caring for someone with dementia

What is a dementia cafe?

A dementia cafe is a dedicated event, often held in a community space, for people living with dementia.

Some organisers also refer to them as a memory cafe. 

They are often held by a health and social care team or a charity with trained volunteers. 

The organisers provide information, support, companionship and opportunities to socialise for people living with dementia and their caregivers.

What happens at a dementia cafe?

While visiting a dementia cafe, you and your loved one can meet other people who are living with the condition. 

It’s also a chance to get professional support and information in a friendly, sociable setting. 

There will likely be a selection of refreshments and snacks which you can enjoy while attending the event.

And a range of dementia-friendly activities and opportunities to chat with others and get professional support.

Dementia cafe activities

There are a host of activities and events your local dementia cafe may offer such as:

  • Art and crafts 
  • Group activities 
  • Bingo 
  • Quizzes and game nights 
  • Help and advice
  • Cognitive and social building

Will a dementia cafe be suitable for my loved one?

Organisers of dementia cafes are well aware of the health and social care needs of people living with dementia. 

So they are designed to cater to as many of those needs as possible, in order to be accessible and inclusive spaces. 

Early stage dementia

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with dementia, a dementia cafe can be a good place to start. 

While you’re coming to terms with the diagnosis and creating a care plan, a memory cafe can provide a support network.

This can prevent individuals becoming isolated and developing symptoms of loneliness as they worry about the future.

They’ll also benefit from practical and fun activities that boost confidence and self-esteem while engaging the brain.

How to help a loved one living with dementia?

How to support someone living with dementia

Mid stage dementia

If your loved one is in the middle stages of dementia, they can still benefit from the activities available at a dementia cafe. 

It’s also a safe environment for a person living with dementia, to discuss their experience and how to handle daily life. 

Plus attending a dementia cafe is a great addition to the weekly routine for caregivers and their loved ones. 

This gives everyone something to look forward to, especially on the more difficult days. 

Late stage dementia

Generally speaking, attending a dementia cafe will not be suitable for people in the late stages of dementia. 

This is due to the complex nature of symptoms that may be hard to manage away from home and require constant attention.

Carers can still find ways to introduce sensory stimulation and dementia friendly activities into the care routine. 

With care aids such as a dementia fiddle blanket or dementia TV and radio stations.

Dementia cafe

What are the benefits of a dementia cafe?

Dementia is a life changing illness, so it can come as a huge shock for the individual and their family alike. 

And it may take a long time to come to terms with the diagnosis and get used to being around new people.

Being social

Dementia cafes offer a safety net, as everyone is in a similar situation and experiences a range of symptoms and challenges.

This means that attendees can hopefully feel more relaxed when meeting people who have had similar experiences.

How can a dementia cafe help with care

Meaningful interactions

Attendees and carers alike may find they bond with people who are experiencing the same ups and downs.

Conversations and other interactions are also more dementia friendly, meaning that everyone can feel included. 

This can have promising effects on building confidence encouraging positive emotions, which help boost brain function.

Plus, activities that make the attendees feel good can have a positive effect for caregivers too.

Cognitive stimulation

It’s important to find ways to engage the brain for people living with dementia to manage their symptoms. 

Regularly taking part in activities that challenge the brain can have a positive impact on slowing down the disease. 

All the activities hosted at a dementia cafe work towards this, whether that’s completing a puzzle or doing a group task. 

Plus, activities that revolve around memories can be a valuable form of reminiscence therapy.  

What are the benefits of a dementia cafe

Finding Information

At a dementia cafe, you will be able to get information and support about dementia from professionals.

And you can connect with people who are going through a similar experience, as someone with dementia or a caregiver. 

While they won’t be able to give medical support, you can get relevant information about dementia sundowning or other symptoms.

Plus information on how to access the right care for your loved one or find other support groups in the local area. 

How can a dementia cafe help with care?

Attending a dementia cafe can be a great addition to an existing care plan. 

If you’re wondering ‘what is a care plan?’ read our article to find out more. 

Making it part of the weekly or monthly routine can have a positive impact on the mental health of both caregivers and loved ones.

And trusted family members and friends can also get more insight about caring for someone with dementia.

Why do carers need respite care? 

Respite care

You may not have thought it, but dementia cafes can offer a form of respite care to family carers.

While this doesn’t necessarily mean you can ‘drop off’ your loved one, caregivers can enjoy doing something different. 

And the structure of a dementia cafe event means that individuals are supported by the group, which can provide some respite for carers.

Are you worried about a loved one?

Early signs of dementia free guide

How to find a dementia cafe?

Dementia cafes can be found by searching online, or through your local surgery or community groups.

It’s also worth finding out whether your local Age UK branch or other dementia charity hosts one.

If you can’t find a specific dementia cafe in the area where your loved one lives, there are other options. 

A community cafe is a close alternative, and most likely have attendees who are living with dementia.

rapid onset dementia planning

If you found this guide useful then you might like to check out these guides on:


Struggling to find care near you?

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You can find professional local care for your loved one by providing just a few details. 

Whether you’re looking for domestic support or dementia care, start your search today.

Just click below.

Alistair Clay Author

Author 05.01.2024

Alistair Clay

Alistair is a founding Director of Sweet Pea Care and the Managing Director of social care communications agency Arc Seven where he advises some of the UK’s biggest care providers.