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.

Drumming Café

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A café featuring a drum circle. Click here for full details.

Drumming Café— A café featuring a drum circle 

Name of 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

Gale Lyman, RN, BSN, HNB-BC. Well-being expert, writer, drum circle leader, and workshop leader.
http://www.lymancenter.com/

Supplies

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.

We 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 had drum music to use with the drum circle. There is music available with the drum book.

Participation

All participants were handed drums and mallets.

Structure


Coffee, snacks and socializing. During this time mix cd’s of old favorites used in our “Music Speaks” program played in the background.

Then, all participants were handed drums and mallets.

Drum Circle. Guests were invited to find a seat in the circle. The drums varied in shape and size. Gale matched drums appropriately to the participants and described the different parts of the drum to the group. She then went into a simple rhythm with a call and response type instruction. As the group practiced on, Gale introduced new techniques with slow and simple instruction. All participants were engaged, and Gale helped reduce anxiety by telling participants that it is also okay if they lose the beat or go off on their own creative expression.

She did some further exploration of the drums by changing the speed and intensity at which we played them. The group seemed to really like playing the drums as quickly as they could. The mallets we used had large soft tips to control sound and decrease potential for injury.

Gale explained to caregivers how one could make their own drum and mallet out of house-hold items. We drummed for about 45 minutes, but it is important to gauge the interest and energy of your group and stop whenever it seems that the group is ready to break.

After drumming we reconvened at our tables. Guests spent the remainder of the café socializing and refreshing their drinks and snacks. Our tables are always covered in brown craft paper and colored pencils are found in cups on the table. Guests are encouraged to draw or doodle on the table if they would like to.

Pictures and Video

People sitting around a circle with hand drums

Drum circle participants holding drums and mallets

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