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So, why did we start this? Community Cafe Canberra. 

The Community Cafe was started as a drive for change…  

Getting a diagnosis of dementia can be a lonely journey for the person and their family, and for several reasons, their community and support network can get smaller as the disease progresses.    

We knew these cafes were having a positive impact and improving the well-being of people with dementia and their loved ones nationally and worldwide. We also established that, at the time, they were not being offered in a permanent location in the ACT or its surrounding regions.     

We hope, that by running these cafes in permanent locations – we can create a peer support network and community that can be there for each other in the pre and post-diagnosis phase, supporting each other through the journey and reducing the stigma of the disease. 

 

We know that dementia is viewed as an illness, but why can’t we focus on dementia wellness? 

 

How often do we take for granted, the simple act of catching up for coffee with friends or family? Research is now showing the huge negative impacts that social isolation has on people’s quality of life including mortality, with this being especially prevalent in this cohort.  

We do not focus on the disease – we focus on connection

So, we thought – why not combine different generations in a safe, welcoming and social setting, bringing like-minded people wanting to contribute their time and skills. Offering a space where we can all come together and celebrate everyone’s individual uniqueness. To celebrate people who live with dementia and support their person-hood. We do not focus on the disease – we focus on connection.     

We are four months in and now offer fortnightly art sessions in between our monthly care and we are just about to launch our second location at a bookstore café. This Community Café will be a more relaxed version of our usual Community Café’s. Somewhere for people with early-onset dementia or who people who are recently diagnosed, to chat with others, listen to live music, drink coffee or wine, and just be with people who are on similar paths. All our events are free to attend. Individuals, couples, and families welcome and will be help on a Friday afternoon for people who are still working.    

Dementia is just one small aspect of what makes a person who they are. So often we get caught up in the disease, that we forget that they are people – people like you and me. We mourn for a person that is no longer there when they are clearly still with us. 

 

“We lament the millions of neurons lost to dementia and ignore the many millions that work perfectly well” Power, 2012. 

 

The Community Cafe also offers people living with a diagnosis of dementia and their loved one’s access to the latest information on dementia wellness, from a variety of health professionals and industry thought leaders, in an easy to read blog. We are always happy to take submissions and highlight anyone working in the field. Those who are committed to contributing to physical, mental and social well-being, or those empowering change.     

Being a self-funded enterprise, we curated an online store with carefully selected wellness products to support our little venture, items are evidence-based and explained in full. 100 percent of the profits go towards the running of this social initiative.     

We rely on our amazing volunteers to make this happen, and they come from all walks of life. Aged care staff, local business owners, musicians, yoga teachers, politicians, university students, researchers and families of people with dementia. This is what the heart of the community is. We have not had any issues with finding people who want to be involved.     

We want to partner with local businesses, policymakers, aged care facilities, government and not for profits to pave a new way forward and make projects like this sustainable. We are creating a new model of care.    

“We have a clear vision of what the future of dementia care looks like, and we are all in”

 

Change is Possible

Nicole – Founder of Community Cafe xox 

If you have dementia or are caring for someone please drop me a line anytime if you would like any information.   

If you are a business and would like to sponsor one of our upcoming events, please reach out. If you are wanting any information about attending our programs in the ACT, please contact me nicole@communitycafe.com.au or sign up on our Community Cafe Website 

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