Memory Cafe 1

Paul and Deborah Greenblatt of Minneapolis work with the clay. There are typically 24 people in total who attend each Memory Cafe, which takes place the third Tuesday of each month.

MINNETONKA — “I always tell my students: These things take time,” said Ceramics Instructor Genevieve Chamberland to a crowd of students busy pressing clay into a bowl shape.

The lesson is being taught to a crowd of people who understand the need to be flexible and learning — a Memory Cafe — where seniors with cognitive impairment, such as dementia, and their caregivers have a morning creating art and unwinding together.

Memory Cafe 2

Ceramics Instructor Genevieve Chamberland led attendees through the process of shaping a bowl, adding decorations on the side and creating a base on the bottom.

Memory Cafe 3

After the arts activity, attendees were given the option to check out relevant books from the Hennepin County Library, including “The Dementia Caregiver” by Marc Agronin, “The End of Alzheimer’s” by Dale Bredesen and “Qigong for Wellbeing in Dementia and Aging” by Stephen Rath.

Memory Cafe 6

Chairs in the middle section are empty as caregivers step out for a support group. “It’s an active group and it’s been really encouraging to see how quickly they’ve gelled and are willing to share with each other,” said Lisa Engdahl, who leads the group. “And I think there’s a camaraderie in that group of realizing that this is a safe place and that others are walking along this journey as well.”

Memory Cafe 5

The Memory Cafes at Club Prior and the Shakopee Community Center started up this year and give an hour or two of camaraderie, support and shared experience and advice to families affected by the diseases.

Memory Cafe 4

Attendees were led through a stretch following their morning coffee.