CMNH recently won the "Leaders In Innovation" award
for the Alzheimer's Café program from the New England Museum
Association at its annual conference in Burlington, Vermont.
As part of a desire to serve a wider array of
community needs, the Children's Museum of New Hampshire has created a
new program that invites people living with Alzheimer's disease into the
Museum on a monthly basis. This is the first program of its kind on the
Alzheimer's Cafe will be held at the Children's Museum in Dover on the
third Thursday of each month from 2-4 pm.
People living with Alzheimer's disease are welcomed during this
time, along with their family members and care partners, to gather in a
supportive, non-clinical setting to chat, relax and socialize while
enjoying complimentary refreshments. Reservations are not needed and
there is no cost to attend, though donations will be accepted.
concept of offering a regular social gathering for people with Alzheimer’s
disease and dementia began in Europe,” explained Paula Rais, Director of
Community Engagement for the Children’s Museum of NH. “People often find
themselves feeling depressed and self-conscious after being diagnosed, and the
people in their support network may also feel in need of support. Having a
regular place to go and meet others in a purely social setting each month can
provide a welcome destination with an understanding community of people.”
Café programs are prevalent in a number of European countries and Canada’s
first program was launched in Nova Scotia this past February. In the United
States, there are now programs open in New Mexico, California, Oregon and
Washington. These programs are held in a variety of setting, including
theatres, historic buildings and restaurants. The Children’s Museum of NH is
modeling its program on the Alzheimer’s Café at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum,
which is held under the auspices of the New Mexico Dance Coalition.
that our Museum is an ideal place for an Alzheimer’s Café,” said Rais. “We know
that intergenerational experiences are beneficial for all ages, and we designed
our Museum to be engaging for adults as well as children. Many elders did not
have the experience of going to a children’s museum as a child, so these visits
give them the opportunity to see how we approach conceptual learning now
compared to what they might have experienced, and this always stimulates
Support provided by the Robert B. and Jean P. Field Charitable Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.