Hello, my name is Belva. About three years ago, my father informed me that he had dementia and he wanted some help making decisions regarding his finances and health. Since I was still working full-time and had three elderly family members from my husband’s side of the family to assist, I have been very appreciative of my youngest brother, Danny, who moved back to Canada to help.
Shortly after learning about my father’s illness, I learned through the Central Miramichi Health Clinic that the Alzheimer’s Society of New Brunswick was hoping to start a monthly Memory Café in our area.
Realizing how important this program would be to our small community and being in the position of the Doaktown Community Library Manager, I was able to offer a space in the library to the Alzheimer Society to hold the monthly program. We now have several community members that make up the Doaktown Memory Café Committee and together with the Alzheimer Society staff, we plan monthly cafes where people who are living with dementia can come receive information and socialize with others in a safe, non- judgemental environment.
My father rarely misses the Memory Café! He loves to socialize and escape from his home—a place that he now describes as a prison. He used to work long hours as an electrician and worked on his woodlot until he was 83 years old, so he likes to keep busy and looks forward to the Café. He always joins in when everyone is singing and enjoys when everyone shares stories from their past. The Memory Café has been good for him.
Last year, the Doaktown Memory Cafe Committee partnered with the local nursing home and held our first Walk for Alzheimer’s. Another small Walk was planned with the Doaktown Elementary School children to help raise awareness with the youth in the community. Our next step is to create a Caregiver Support Network in February 2018. We are always looking for volunteers to help us out. Contact the Alzheimer Society of NB Miramichi Resource Centre at 773-7093 or [email protected] for more information or to find out how you can help!