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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fox Valley Memory Project

Susan McFadden told how in December 2010, the Basic Needs Giving Partnership noted that they were not getting many applications for programs serving older adults.  The Aging Initiatives Task Force was formed to look at various needs in the Valley such as the End of Life Care Coalition and programs/services with people living with dementia.  John and Susan McFadden began a study of Memory Café’s inspired by Rotary Clubs in England.  In 2011, they flew to England and drove 860 miles visiting Memory Café’s.  They requested Planning Grants from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership and the Helen Bader Foundation.  These funds were used to have a Community Breakfast and Think Tank that was held in October 2011.  Together participants identified what needs were in our region to serve people that live with memory loss and other cognitive problems.  The Fox Valley Memory Project was then formed.  They applied and received a grant from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership as well as funds from the Helen Bader Foundation, the Rotary Club of Appleton and in-kind support from Goodwill Industries, Family Medicine Residency, U. W. Oshkosh, Lutheran Social Services, Thompson Community Center, Alzheimer’s Association and the Aging and Disability Resource Center.  Currently there are two Memory Café’s in Appleton – Atlas Coffee Mill and the Thompson Community Center.  One will begin the end of the month at the Neenah Public Library and in June at St. Paul Elder Services in Kaukauna.  Memory Cafe's are for those with early stage dementia, mild memory loss or cognitive impairment, and for the family and friends of those affected.  Betty Lefebvre-Hill, Program Coordinator, told that the mission of the Fox Valley Memory Café is to make our community more dementia friendly.  About 75% of those who care for people with dementia do so in their homes.  Over time these people can experience loss of friendships and socialization.  Memory Café’s give people an opportunity for lively discussions, information gathering, drama, music, dancing, singing, games, art, playacting, refreshments and camaraderie.  The Care Partners Welcome Center, a program of the Fox Valley Memory Project, will open on March 25, 2013 at the Thompson Community Center which will be place to find information and support, for creative expressions and meaningful activities and to share and learn.  On Thursday, April 4 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at The Grand Meridian, Dr. Marc Agronin and Dr. Ab Desai will talk about Resilience:  Aging in a Dementia-Friendly Community.  

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