The Norwood Memory Cafe’ is always the third Thursday of the month from 1:30-2:30 at the Norwood senior center. The cost is FREE and each month the entertainment, activity, or guest varies. Each provide an interactive experience for all who attend. Suggestions are always welcomed.
The groundwork and networking necessary to formulate this cafe took at minimum, eight months and is ongoing. The extensive startup was due to the lack of awareness of an unfamiliar concept of memory cafes in MA at that time. There were only three cafes in MA when my outreach began. The fulltime effort to bring awareness initially extended to the surrounding communities. Then through continued networking and meeting attendance within MA, information sharing became far reaching.
Attending, observing, asking questions, and learning of the memory cafes’ history globally was how my quest began. Attending Westwood’s very first memory cafe, as advertised in the Boston Globe, started this journey. Since then other cafe hosts have attended Norwood’s Memory Cafe prior to their openings for similar reasons. Being a teammate at two other cafes locally, provides an opportunity to continue to learn, grow and share that experience with all participants.
The cafe is providing a safe and social gathering for people to connect and not feel alone. Many attendees have made new friends, shared ideas and caregivers have had a chance to relax and enjoy a mutual experience.
This independent memory cafe required extensive and time consuming ground work to spread the word, find a facility to host the cafe and recruit volunteers to help kick start this Memory Cafe.’
Identifying and meeting with sponsors to provide funding for the entertainment, refreshments, beverages and donations for paper products and flatware was the challenge. The cafe currently has many wonderful sponsors who have been there from the beginning. Their generous contributions have enabled this cafe to offer everything at no cost. Everyone is truly grateful for their ongoing support. Having community involvement has been a tremendous gift.
The volunteer staff is very welcoming and help participants however they can. They are truly the best group to have as teammates. Together we provide this niche offering too many who would otherwise become isolated.
Here is just one nice thing that one of our guests had to say about the Cafe he recently attended:
“The yoga, laughter, educational session and massage was absolutely wonderful. All of those in the circle truly enjoyed it. Thank you so very much! I consider it my first (and possibly best) Christmas present this year. I hope that your holidays are all that you wish them to be. You do so much for us all.”
Norwood’s Memory Cafe is part of the National Registry of Cafes and supports the Purple Angel’s organization spreading awareness globally.