Forget-Me-Not: Memory cafe expands to Mandurah to raise awareness of dementia

Photo: Forget-Me-Not website.
Photo: Forget-Me-Not website.

Mandurah will be home to a new initiative aimed at bringing together dementia carers in a safe and supportive environment from next week.

The Forget-Me-Not Memory Cafes aim to raise awareness and education of the condition and provide a place for carers and loved ones with dementia to share their fight together, without feeling anxious or isolated.

Now, the regular social catch ups will be available to locals in the Peel region on every third Wednesday of the month at Sunbreakers Restaurant, starting on January 15.

The idea was developed in Roleystone by Angi McCluskey after her husband Michael was diagnosed with dementia at 65.

Mrs McCluskey said she felt there was a lack of community-led groups allowing those with dementia and their carers to enjoy a "quiet cuppa together" with others in the same situation.

"It began when we first discovered a lack of awareness and facilities for people living with dementia after an initial diagnosis," she said.

"There were workshops, carers groups and information sessions for myself and other carers to attend and details of respite for my husband Michael, but precious little we could do together.

"We were looking for somewhere to enjoy a coffee and a chat in a warm and friendly, non-judgemental environment and decided to start a Forget-Me-Not Cafe."

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In just three short years the cafes have expanded all across Western Australia, with Mandurah the next town to benefit from the dementia-friendly social group.

The monthly meet-ups provide a place for carers and their loved ones with dementia to share stories with others who are going through the same experience.

"Forget-Me-Not Cafes encourage carers and their partners to socialise in a welcoming atmosphere, without embarrassment, misapprehension or judgement," Mrs McCluskey said.

"It's an opportunity to share a morning with others who are travelling a similar life path."

In 2016, there were almost 40,000 people living with dementia in Western Australia with one person diagnosed every hour throughout the state.

A recent survey released in 2018, Inclusion and Isolation: The contrasting community attitudes to dementia, revealed there were more than 3000 people living with dementia in the Canning region.

This is projected to increase to 4,518 by 2028.

The Mandurah Forget-Me-Not Memory Cafe will meet on the third Wednesday of the month from 10am at Sunbreakers Restaurant, starting on Wednesday, January 15.

For more information about the Forget-Me-Not Memory Cafe, or to join the team, visit the website.