How To Promote Your Memory Cafe

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When we first learned about Memory Cafes, we were immediately smitten with the concept! They provide immense value to those living with Dementia along with their care partners. If you’re new to the concept, you can learn more about Memory Cafes here. What we also found, is it is difficult to promote your Memory Cafe. More on that in a minute

While we found plenty of information online about their origins, variety of designs, and even a few websites listing a few Memory Cafes in their local areas, we couldn’t find an easy-to-use, comprehensive directory. The action we took was to create as a national (now international with Australia, Canada, and U.K. sections) directory to allow people to share their Memory Cafes and help others find Memory Cafes locally.

For many people – possibly you – creating your own Memory Cafe is your passion. If there isn’t one close to your local community, and there is a local need for this valuable resource, creating one makes perfect sense. Whether it’s specifically to help your loved one or if it is to fill a void in your local communtiy, it is a benefit to all!

Promote Your Memory Cafe

So you’ve decided to offer a Memory Cafe.

Now what?

The next challenge is of course spreading the word about this new valuable resource, but if you’re new to this kind of thing, where do you start?

Whether you’ve actually begun offering Memory Cafe sessions, or you’re still in the planning stages, the need is still the same. Unless those living with Dementia and their caregivers know about your Memory Cafe, they won’t be able to enjoy it!

Unless those living with Dementia and their caregivers know about your Memory Cafe, they won’t be able to enjoy it!

Most Frequent Request

Apart from adding new Memory Cafe entries or updating the information attached to existing entries, the most frequent request we receive at is “how do I get more participation?” or “how do I get more people to attend?

These questions all revolve around the need (but uncertainty about the how) to get the word out. There is a serious need for how to promote your Memory Cafe.

Build it and They Will Come

Available on Amazon

This attitude, adapted from the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” when Kevin Costner’s character hears a voice from the corn field, doesn’t work well with Memory Cafes. People need to know your Memory Cafe exists and what value it holds for them.

First Things First

Listing your Memory Cafe on the Contact Us page is your best first step. In fact, even if you haven’t yet launched, but have a confirmed start date, we’ll list your Memory Cafe with a “Starts [start date]!” entry. After that date passes, we’ll remove that notation.

That way, you can use Memory Cafe Directory as part of your promotional campaign, pointing potential attendees to your listing for the latest updates on schedule, location, etc.

Memory Cafe Directory gets hundreds of visitors per day from around the world – and potentially from your local community as well. You may be seen by a neighbor down the street who simply hasn’t heard about you yet.

While this is a good start, it is only the beginning.

Reach Out Strategically to Promote Your Memory Cafe

Assistance does exist for helping you get the word our about your Memory Cafe. There are a number of channels you can use for promotion. However, each one is unique in their own right. That makes things a bit more complicated, but can work in your favor by getting your Memory Cafe exposed to a wide range of varying groups.

The challenge is to address each channel in terms that relate to them. Look for ways to make it valuable to them to share your information and help you promote your Memory Cafe. In addition to sharing your details, you may actually find opportunities for them to be helpful in the operation of your Memory Cafe.

Memory Cafe Promotion Resources

Promote Your Memory Cafe

Learn how to start a Memory Cafe in your community

Although we’ll get to more specific strategies in a moment, let’s start with a round-up we published recently called “How to Start a Memory Cafe.”

This pulls together a number of resources we’ve found that are focused more on starting a Memory Cafe. However, as part of those discussions, there are nuggets of valuable information in each one regarding how to go about promoting your start-up.

Now let’s look at specific cross-sections of our communities that offer varying types of opportunities to help you in promoting your Memory Cafe.

Social Services

Anyone in the Social Services community would welcome your Memory Cafe as another type of resource they can make available to their families. Resources come in many types of packages and a Memory Cafe is a very special one!

Support Groups

Find a local support group that would allow you to speak at one of their sessions. (Or just provide flyers if that is more appropriate.) While a Support Group is similar to a Memory Cafe, there are very different as well. Memory Cafes welcome both the person living with dementia and their care partner to enjoy together.

Medical Community

The medial community is always in need of good resource information. Knowing a Memory Cafe takes place nearby will help them help their patients. Primary care physicians and neurologists in your local area would be great candidates for a visit to drop off a flyer, or just drop one in the mail.

Home Care Agencies

Every home care agency would be an excellent resource to share your Memory Cafe. They of course interact with many people who could benefit from your offering.

Legal Community

Elder Care attorneys or anyone in the legal profession who supports seniors could be an avenue. Some of their clients may be the very people who would enjoy your Memory Cafe!


Promote Your Memory CafeThe religious community is as close-knit as it gets. They come together on a regular basis, families have often known each other for generations, and they actively support each other when adversity strikes.

Through this close relationship, members often have a keen understanding of unique and often serious needs. What better community to embrace for what could be a mutually-beneficial relationship?

If you are a member yourself, start with your own church, temple, synagogue, or mosque. You likely know some of the leaders. Share your vision of creating a Memory Cafe, and if already started, let them know about the need to expand visibility. Ask for they help to promote your Memory Cafe.

Ask them for advice on how your Memory Cafe can help them. The best way to endear someone to your cause is to make it about them – not you. They must know about members who are living with various stages of memory loss and through that knowledge, will align with your cause.

Remember, you offer a wonderful service through your Memory Cafe – these leaders will want to connect their members who can benefit. In addition, they may see the value in holding the Memory Cafe on-site in a community hall or similar venue. You get a location to hold your Memory Cafe (if you need it) and they get a way to offer a convenient location to their congregation for a valuable resource.

Nonprofit Community

Promote Your Memory CafeAs a related strategy, the nonprofit community is another entity looking for opportunities to help others. You actually may be, or are a member of, a nonprofit organization and looking to start or promote a Memory Cafe. If that is the case, you are already fully familiar with the need to marshal maximum benefits with minimum resources.

By partnering with nonprofits who focus on various aspects of senior care, your offer of a Memory Cafe could fit nicely with their operations. They can facilitate a connection to a complementary service without any direct investment. When they are able to do something like that, they likely will become interested very quickly.

More For Less

Organizations working with the dementia community often look for ways to deliver more resources for less. If they see you as someone who wants to lead the charge, they may be willing to support you financially in a small way, leveraging their impact. Work with a variety of organizations, and small, individual bits of financial support can add up fast!

They may be interested in contributing a small amount to help defray costs. (Every little bit helps!) The rationale: if they can be a part of promoting your Memory Cafe (with or without it being branded with their name) and only contribute a small amount, it is of course a huge benefit to them.

Finally, if you can partner with a number of groups who are willing to defray some of your costs, you could potentially get all your costs covered.


Community Centers

Promote Your Memory CafeAround the world, community centers are where community members get together for activities, social and emotional support, acquiring information, and generally, enjoy time with each other.

Sounds like the ultimate Memory Cafe to me!

In the United States, community centers are often a product of county governmental services. You’ll also find community centers operated by specialized groups which can be religious or secular in nature.

They are a wealth of information for county residents. Distributing information about your Memory Cafe through a Community Center could be a good source of visibility, but they may want to help you financially. The benefit for them is they have someone like you to do the legwork and chipping in for expenses is an easy way for them to provide support. They, too, could be a good location for the Cafe.

Regardless, community centers offer great opportunities for Memory Cafes. Here’s why:

  • Proximity

Community Centers are usually located exactly where they should be – within the community. In the U.S., they are often a part of the overall services delivered by local county governments. This focus on local citizens enables Community Centers to be the backdrop for the delivery of a wide array of services – both from the county, as well as local organizations.

  • Facility

To support a wide range of activities, groups, services, and other events, Community Centers are often “multi-purpose.” This can result from a building designed specifically to be flexible, with rooms that easily convert for different purposes. Although, they could be older buildings that are simply basic in nature, that naturally work for many purposes since they aren’t designed specifically for any of them.

  • Familiarity

Because Community Centers support the many varied needs local organizations have, a large number of local residents are familiar with the facility. Someone, somewhere, somehow has likely been to an event at a Community Center. This is more likely true for our older population since many services directed to them, use the Community Center as a venue for activities.

Assisted Living Communities

What is more often these days called “Continuing Care Communities” carry wonderful potential for Memory Cafe promotion. While we’ve explored the “look for ways to make it valuable to them” strategy in all the above examples, it is the Assisted Living / Continuing Care Communities where the value to them might be the most significant.

With respect to having a supportive location to hold your Memory Cafe, what better place than an operation that is focused on supporting older individuals? The building is designed to be safe, comfortable, and welcoming. Naturally, the staff have very appropriate training and experience.

Assisted Living / Continuing Care Communities often have meeting and event space. In a way, that’s what they do. Enrichment activities for residents are a key component of the care they offer. In many cases, they should welcome the opportunity to expose their community to future potential residents by attending a Memory Cafe held there. Many Memory Cafe participants simply won’t be able to live in their own home for their entire lifetime.

With respect to “getting the word out,” an Assisted Living / Continuing Care Community already has a “promotion engine” in place. They regularly market and advertise their community and through their outreach staff, may be able to incorporate your Memory Cafe details in some of their messaging that aligns well – possibly at no charge to you.

Working Together

In fact, depending on the level at which they feel having your Memory Cafe operate at their location benefits them, they may be willing to help defray some costs. That might include providing refreshments from their dining operation, offering their office supplies if appropriate for some craft or other activities, or maybe even contributing cash to help you buy specific supplies.

It would be appropriate to offer a bit of warning at this time. There is a belief in the Memory Cafe community that not everyone enjoys visiting an Assisted Living / Continuing Care Community. While they may be quite nice and welcoming, some are simply tripped up over the stigma of visiting “the home.” You and I both know that is a very misplaced sentiment, but to some people, it is very real to them. Just be aware.


Libraries are a WEALTH of local resource information in the community. Ask if they have a place for flyers or maybe one of those “card boards” where there are many business card (or larger) boards with various types of resource information contacts.

Free Publications

From Craig’s List to a local community publication – and everything in between is a possible avenue to promote your Memory Cafe. The price is right, so why not make the information available through these channels?

Alzheimer’s Association

As a leading health organization focusing on Alzheimer’s care, support and research, aligning in some manner with the Alzheimer’s Association could be mutually beneficial.

Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease. We all would agree that’s a tall order, but they push the levers on many fronts. From promoting research advancement, improved brain health as a way to reduce the risk in the first place, and working to enhance overall care and support, they are active on many fronts.

That last one (enhancing overall care and support) is where promoting a Memory Cafe comes in.

Help Them Help You

Sharing your Memory Cafe with your state or regional Alzheimer’s Association office could be a great way to first get interest, then be listed as a free resource.

Contact their community engagement professional or someone in a similar capacity. Let them know you wish to share your Memory Cafe as far and wide as possible to open it as an opportunity to as many people as possible.

Strategies will likely vary based on the unique needs of each chapter. You may have the opportunity to make a presentation at a caregiver support group or simply provide brochures for them to distribute. They may have the ability to add you to a resource list, either online or through phone referrals.

Be creative – find a strategy that benefits you both.

You’re Ready to Promote Your Memory Cafe!

Promote Your Memory CafeStarting a Memory Cafe is tough. As you’re learning, the work to promote your Memory Cafe can be even tougher. Congratulations for embarking on an effort that will prove valuable to you and your loved one, as well as those who will attend.

Remember, your first step is to list your Memory Cafe on Memory Cafe Directory. We’ll do everything we can to help your visibility.

We wish you the very best in the pursuit of establishing (and promoting) your Memory Cafe!

More Ideas in the Comments

If you have had success promoting a Memory Cafe, and we haven’t touched on those techniques, please add your comments below. We would love to expand on this resource with as many winning strategies as possible.

What to Read Next:

Here’s where to go next on Memory Cafe Directory to get more information.

Check back often in our “START HERE” section as we add more valuable information.

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