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Alzheimer's Patients Find Support at New Memory Cafe in Greendale

Marti Mikkelson

A new Memory Café is opening in southeastern Wisconsin. This one is located in downtown Greendale.

The cafes hold events for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and similar illnesses, and their caregivers.

Tom Hlavacekcalls the opening of a Memory Café in Greendale momentous. He’s executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Wisconsin.

“People with Alzheimer’s and their care partners are pulling this disease out of the shadows and they’re saying no more. No more are we going to live a life of stigma, no more are we going to live a life of stereotyping,” Hlavacek says.

The café is located at Ferch’s Malt Shoppe. It’ll host social events for people with dementia and their care givers, such as games and music. One person who plans to visit is Wayne Klopfer; his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s two years ago. He says, until now, they’ve been visiting the Brookfield location.

“There’s a fellow named Tim and he’s a good singer and he brings along sheets of Seeger. He gets going on a pitch pipe and we’ll sing Christmas carols and kids coming walking in and joining us,” Klopfer says.

Klopfer says he’s pleased the new Memory Café is closer to home.

Another person who’s come to the official opening is Bashir Easter of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging. His mother has been living with Alzheimer’s for 11 years. Easter says Memory Cafés support the caregivers too, so he’s happy for his sister and mom.

“I encourage my sister who is her caregiver to get out. The Memory Café is not just for the individual who has the disease, it’s also for the caregiver, to give them a break and we see that in these cafes,” Easter says.

Easter will oversee the opening of more Memory Cafés throughout Milwaukee County in coming months, including one in Shorewood in May.

Marti was a reporter with WUWM from 1999 to 2021.
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