Dubai launches 'memory cafe' for people with Alzheimer's
It will provide emotional, educational and social support to patients' families, too.
Every month for two hours, patients with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia — along with their families — can come together in a new 'cafe' introduced by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
Called the Memory Café, it's actually a support group that will now be meeting regularly at the Seniors’ Happiness Centre of the DHA.
“The Memory Café is an informal and relaxed setting and will encourage active participation and conversations. The initiative will help family members provide the best possible care, as well as help boost the morale of patients battling this disease," said Dr Salwa Al Suwaidi, geriatrician and director of the Seniors’ Happiness Centre.
Patients' families are encouraged to sign up for the initiative as the group also aims to provide emotional, educational and social support for the caregivers, too.
"Often, we find that as health professionals, we also get valuable information from caregivers, so the information exchange will be both ways. This kind of active learning, support and encouragement in a relaxed setting will benefit both patients and their caregivers," Dr Al Suwaidi added.
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementias suffer from memory and cognitive deterioration, abnormal behaviour, aggressiveness, suspiciousness, insomnia and incontinence. And the Memory Café provides an opportunity to discuss tips on how to deal with these issues.
“Caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is often very challenging and simple steps like discussing coping mechanisms, strategies and just being there for each other helps caregivers deal with the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis in caring for their loved ones," the official added.
Support groups are particularly important for this disease, the expert said, because there is still no curative therapy available. "Medications can only delay the progression of the illness; therefore, coping strategies and behavioural therapies are important in dealing with this disease."
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