The Memory Café is a free music concert and lunch for caregivers and their loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Linda and Ricardo Gonzalez are Memory Café regulars. Linda says they just make you feel good and they really know how to touch the heart.
Carolyn Panzica, West Falls Center for the Arts co-owner says traditionally Respite is sort a drop-off and you go get some shopping done or some chores. This is something you experience together.
Linda says she thinks Doug is the heart of this West Falls Center for the Arts because he really just has a heart for people and knows how to touch your core.
Mel asked Doug Yeomans, musician and Buffalo Music Hall of Fame inductee what he thinks is the magic of music that helps people when they are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. He says it is the feel, it’s the rhythm and says he thinks they feel the rhythm which brings the words back because they are all connected. Doug says the lyrics have a rhythm to them, a cadence and the rhythm of the guitar or whatever the instrument is going on, they just remember; it’s in them and he thinks it’s really special.
Ron Garra, Memory Café regular says he came here with his wife for many months and his wife got involved in a new program and she goes to day care now five days a week from 10am – 3pm so he says he made a choice not to disrupt her week. Ron goes on to say that Bill and Carolyn were nice enough say just come yourself when you are available, and says he still does because this just such a fabulous place and Bill and Carolyn are probably two of the nicest people I’ve met in his life.
Ron says they are six years into his wife’s dementia diagnosis which is called FTD so it is cognitive and not so much memory, so she knows all the songs still and we still sing all the oldies together in the car so this was a real outlet for us and a chance to kind of like live almost normal for that hour.
The Memory Café has locations in West Falls and Amherst. The music takes place on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at the West Falls Center for the Arts and the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at the Amherst Center for Senior Services.