The Irish Dementia Cafe Network is a network of dementia cafes around Ireland each of which is run according to a set of shared principles and guidelines. The network brings dementia cafes together and supports the launch of new dementia cafes.
The project was launched by Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler and Miriam O’Callaghan on 17th September, 2020. The project is managed by Engaging Dementia, commissioned by the National Dementia Office – HSE. The National Dementia Office (NDO) commissioned Engaging Dementia to establish an Irish Dementia Cafe Network in 2019, as part of the NDO’s Post-Diagnostic Support Pathway Project.
Technical details & Operations
The Irish Dementia Cafe Network is a network of dementia cafes around Ireland each of which is run according to a set of shared principles and guidelines. The network brings dementia cafes together and supports the start-up of new dementia cafes. A dementia cafe is a safe and welcoming meeting place for those living with dementia and their loved ones.
A dementia café:
- Welcomes people with dementia, their families and friends, health and social care professionals and members of the local community who are interested and involved in dementia activities in their community.
- Is free of charge.
- Meets once a month (or more regularly), at the same time and in the same place.
- Has four pillars (Atmosphere, Information, Support, Community), with corresponding principles (outlined below).
- Communication and language used at the cafe is accessible and supports personhood for people with dementia.
- Has a speaker/talk at most cafe meetings (at least 7 a year). The talk features an invited speaker(s) or involves the use of a network resource.
- Is part of the fabric of community-oriented care and connectivity pathways.
- Is run by a voluntary steering committee, which manages all aspects of the operation of the cafe and conducts a brief annual review of the cafe activities.
- When a cafe steering committee signs up to join the Irish Dementia Cafe Network, it commits to upholding the network’s shared cafe ethos and principles
The website shows a list of cafes and the co-ordinators around the country www.dementiacafe.ie/cafe-finder/
Deployment & Impact
There are currently about 64,000 people living with dementia in Ireland. This figure is expected to double to 150,000 by 2045. Over 60% of these people are living in the heart of our communities either alone or being cared for in their homes by family members and other loved ones. A dementia cafe offers a wonderful outlet for those living with dementia and their carers to share a sense of community and support. Research has shown that the cafes can help to ease the loneliness and social isolation that those living with dementia and their carers can often experience.
Research carried out by the Centre for Economic and Social Research in Dementia identified guiding principles and the pillars the cafes should be built around. The four pillars are Atmosphere, Information, Support and Community. Each cafe aims to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere which is inclusive, support is given to those who need it and the meeting creates a sense of belonging and community for those who attend. There is a fun element to the cafes but relevant speakers also talk at each event and impart useful information.
The Dementia Café Network supports those who wish to set up a local café. A 80 page toolkit “How to Set Up a Dementia Café” is available which contains detailed guidelines to support start-up dementia cafes , information and resources. Information and networking workshops are also run by Engaging Dementia to deliver online sessions to those interested or who may have questions.
The cafes can take place in an actual cafe or in any kind of community centre or other suitable venue. It is run once a month usually for 2 hours and takes place in the same place and at the same time. Attendance is free and everyone is welcome to attend. The dementia cafes take place in towns and villages all over Ireland and are run by local voluntary groups.