Thursday, November 15, 2018

Marshall Health, School of Medicine to launch Dementia Café for patients, caregivers

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall Health and the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will launch a new experience to help individuals with dementia and their caregivers. Made possible through a $15,000 grant from the Bernard McDonough Foundation, the Dementia Café will offer refreshments and creative activities in a supportive setting.

As dementia progresses, it often becomes difficult for persons with dementia to be around people, places or events they previously enjoyed,” said Shirley M. Neitch, M.D., a geriatrician at Marshall Health, professor, and director of the Maier Institute for Excellence in Prescribing for Elders with Dementia at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “In addition to concern about their forgetfulness, persons with dementia may also worry about being too messy or slow.”

The dementia café concept originated in the Netherlands in 1997 and came to the United States in 2008. Marshall plans to offer Dementia Café sessions in Huntington beginning in 2019:

Participants may drop in briefly or stay the entire time. Caregivers will be able to engage with other caregivers without having to plan activities or clean up anything.  Persons with dementia will interact with others who understand the challenges and concerns they face. Refreshments will be offered and cultural activities will include background music and featured performances, gallery-type art displays, art creation and crafting opportunities, and other literary activities such as poetry writing and journaling. 

“The Dementia Café will not only help those with dementia symptoms,” Neitch said.  “Adult, college and high school volunteers can experience the joy of helping others by sharing their music or art or helping with greeting and cleanup.”  

Reservations are not required, but interested individuals may call Marshall Internal Medicine at 304-691-1681 to assist refreshment and seating plans. 

Marshall Health’s Dementia Café is another component of its comprehensive approach to patient care. The Susan Edwards Drake dementia clinic already integrates physicians, pharmacists, social workers and caregivers into a patient’s care and communication. 

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