Memory Cafe Activities for People with Dementia or Alzheimer's

Taylor Lamberta, creator of the Memory Cafe activities, riding an elephantBelow are complete Memory Cafe activities that were designed by Taylor Lamberta, LICSW (in MA and NY), and Caregiver Support Specialist. Besides starting a Memory Cafe, she also has ridden on an elephant in Thailand, ridden behind a dog sled in Alaska, swum with dolphins in Jamaica, and climbed Machu Picchu in Peru.

Feel free to use these activities at a Memory Cafe or at a family gathering. Click on each picture to reveal the contents of that particular activity. Once in an activity, click the back button to see all of the activities again. Some Memory Cafe's have free downloadable Bingo boards like the Garden and Luau Cafe's. Sign up for your newsletter to be notified when new content is online, and make sure you check back every month for new ideas and activities.

We do ask that you also share the Caregivers Matter app with your caregivers as well. The app helps build patience, perseverance, and peace in the caregiver. Instructions for downloading and using the app are available at this link.

St. Patty’s Day Café

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An Irish-themed café in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Click here for full details.

St. Patty’s Day Café —An Irish-themed café in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patty's Day Cafe contains activities for a large or small group of people with dementia or Alzheimer's at a memory cafe, in an instutional setting, or at home with a small or large family consisting of people of all ages. 

Special Guest

Special guests included Grace Finnegan, a world-renowned Irish step dancer, and Michelle Syed, a GLSS staff member from Ireland who sang traditional songs and played the tin whistle. For your special guests, you can contact Irish Dance schools in your area, or hire a local musician.

Supplies

General:

  • Books on Ireland
  • Green plastic hats

 

Activity: Irish Step Dancing

  • If you can't get a real Irish dancer from, for example, from an Irish Step Dancing school, you could watch River Dance on the big screen. (On Amazon:The Best of Riverdance )
  • If you want to have fun having people trying a step or just seeing how hard it is and you have Internet access, you can watch this video:

 

Activity: Irish Singing

  • If you can't get a live Irish singer, a Mitch Miller sing along CD which comes with lyrics might be appropriate. (On Amazon:Favorite Irish Sing Alongs)

 

Other supplies:

About Supplies:

Shopping links are provided by Amazon, which makes it easy to see the type of product that we are talking about. Clicking any of the links will take you to Amazon. Please note that the Caregiver Program collects fees from Amazon for referring users if they purchase there. We use 100% of these fees to fund our Caregiver Program, including this website and our caregiver apps. You also can purchase any of these products at local shops as well.

Snacks

We usually incorporate a themed snack whenever it is possible or if it applies.

This month featured:

  • St. Patrick’s Day decorated cookies
  • Irish Soda Bread

We also had our regular spread which consists of:

  • Coffee, tea and water
  • Crackers, cheese, fruit, pastry

Consider the time of your café, and any safety and dietary restrictions that may apply to your particular group.

Music Playlists

This month we featured live Irish music played on a tin whistle and sing along Irish songs. 

Participation

Guests mostly observed the program we presented with our special guests, but were asked to participate in singing along to Irish songs with the lyrics provided. At the end we also invited the guests to try a few easy Irish step dance steps alongside the dancer.

Structure

Coffee, snacks and socializing. Guests were greeted with traditional music playing in the background. Staff handed out St. Patrick’s Day hats to our guests.


The program began as we introduced our special guests for the day and provided some information on why they connect to Irish culture and what they would be sharing with us for the day. Our own GLSS nurse, Michelle Syed, played guitar and sang traditional Irish songs while inviting the guests to sing along. She also played the Tin Whistle for us and concluded by singing the Irish National Anthem.

After some songs, we had the pleasure of watching high school competitive dancer Grace Finnegan, who has traveled all over to compete in Irish Step Dance. Grace explained to the guests the different steps and techniques she used for certain songs and why. She also talked about the heritage behind some of the traditions used in the dance. At the end, Grace gave a simple and detailed instruction of an easy step for the guests to try. Many joined in a circle and followed Grace’s lead. The program wrapped up and we thanked and applauded our performer.

 

Pictures

A woman playing the Irish Tin Whistle and another woman in tradiational Irish dress

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