seniors talking over coffee

Dementia cafes are emerging as a way to help provide better care and services for people with dementia, according to a Japanese study appearing in JAMDA.

These settings combine support for people living with dementia, loved ones and other stakeholders in a managed setting. Activities may include education, music, dancing and arts. All offer socialization.

There were fewer than 50 dementia cafés in Japan in 2012, but the number soared to 4,267 by 2017, the study found. Each café operates independently.

The authors discovered that most of the Japanese cafes were public institutions (43.9%), followed by those operated by long-term care providers (42.8%). About a third (36.1%) of the venues were community spaces provided by day-service institutions and community-based care service providers; 18.3% were in public spaces such as community centers, and 13.2% were in restaurants and cafés.

Some credit the concept’s development to psychiatrist Bere Miesen in the Netherlands. But some claim the first memory cafe was formed in Santa Fe, NM, in 2008. Currently, more than 700 are spread across the United States, according to the Memory Care Directory.

States with the most cafes are Wisconsin (137), Massachusetts (119), Illinois (38), Washington (35), Minnesota (33) and Texas (31).