Spotlight on Memory Cafe Brazil!

Spotlight on Memory Cafe Brazil

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Memory Cafe Brazil is off to a successful start amid a very difficult period of time.

São Paulo is the home of what is believed to be the first Memory Cafe in Brazil. That’s impressive all my itself. For that accomplishment alone, we offer a hearty congratulations to Cláudia Lopes and Jessyka Bram!

Being the first to open a Memory Cafe in one’s own country is quite an accomplishment. However, it is even more impressive given the global challenges being faced with the COVID-19 pandemic. What you’re about to learn is how these talented organizers got it done. You’ll also see just how flexible Memory Cafe Brazil has been in their short existence.

 Memory Cafe Directory posts and/or links to retailers can be advertising, sponsored, or affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from them. Thank you.

The First Outreach

Memory Cafe Brazil

Courtesy Memory Cafe Brasil

Here’s something to keep in mind. While this particular Spotlight story is about two trained professionals, anyone with the desire can start a Memory Cafe.

If you’re passionate about bringing together individuals living with dementia, along with their care partners, you can get in touch, too. There are many resources available to help anyone get started!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

It is helpful to set some context for how Brazil’s first Memory Cafe came to be. It all started with an inquiry submitted to Memory Cafe Directory. The best thing to do is to share that note here:

My name is Cláudia Lopes. I am a Speech Therapist and supervisor at the first Brazilian outpatient clinic for aging and Down Syndrome in the Laboratory of Neurosciences, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.

My work is to coordinate a multidisciplinary team, including physicians, speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and social workers. Our aim is early detection of dementia and Down syndrome. In addition, we work directly to support and spread social awareness about dementia.

I got to know about Memory Cafes over the Internet more than 3 years ago. Since then, I have fallen in love with this goal and dream of implementing it in Brazil. Therefore, I would like to know how to proceed to accredit me and what are the guidelines for setting up a memory coffee in Brazil in the city of São Paulo?

Awaiting your reply,

Cláudia Lopes

Thrilled and Honored

It would be an understatement to say I was honored to have a professional ask my advice. While I would not profess to have all the answers, I do have a few resources to share. Here’s what I provided Cláudia to get started:

Through these resources, Cláudia began planning. Fortunately for me, our communications have continued for many months as her efforts evolved.

First, The Vision

Many of those ongoing communications included Cláudia’s and Jessyka’s vision for their Memory Cafe. It is obvious they have a strong grasp of the global issues of an aging population. Specifically, they understand how those issues relate to chronic conditions like dementia and Down syndrome.

This is a message from both Jessyka Bram and Cláudia Lopes, talking about their inspiration and drive to start Memory Cafe Brazil. It is entirely in Portuguese, but the English translation is shown just below the video.

Founders talk about the Memory Café Brasil Project

Jessyka Bram

My name is Jessyka, I’m a gerontologist. Cláudia and I will talk today about the Memory Café Brasil project and why it exists here in our country.

If we consider the accelerated human aging process in some countries, mainly in Brazil, whose aging process has been taking place at an accelerated rate since the 1940s, we will see that Brazil lacks services that are able to supply the demand of this growing population. So, this is one of the reasons why we brought the Memory Cafe concept to Brazil.

Another reason concerns the fact that Brazil is considered the second country in prevalence of dementia. If we think, in terms of mental health, dementia is one of the diseases that most affect the elderly. This fact is worrying since in 2050 approximately 30% of the Brazilian population will be made up of elderly people.

Thus, we need to join forces and think of solutions and possible services that are able to embrace this population and demystify the issue of aging and old age itself, in addition to bringing these people into society and not marginalizing them. Considering all this, we can say that this is the reason for the existence of Memory Café Brasil.

Cláudia will talk about the project, what the objectives are, and how it works.

Cláudia Lopes

Hello, my name is Cláudia. I am a speech therapist and founder of Memory Café Brasil, together with Jessyka. And after all, what is Memory Café Brasil? Memory Café Brasil is a non-profit social project that performs cognitive stimulation and promotes the social inclusion of people with cognitive impairments.

The meetings at Memory Café Brasil are held in spaces such as coffee shops, bookstores and spaces that are provided by partners. The first meeting of Memory Café Brasil was held on December 14, 2019, at Cafeteria São Paulo Lovers Café. And since then, other cafeterias have been believing in the philosophy of the project and have been welcoming us.

Memory Café Brasil started its meetings in a face-to-face format. From April 2020, we started the meetings in online mode.

More About the Need

Brazil Dementia Statistics

Courtesy Memory Cafe Brasil

Brazil, like most of the rest of the world, sees it’s older population as the fastest growing segment. Cláudia and Jessyka have chosen to address these challenges, and to do what they can for the public good.

With their grasp of sobering statistics, and their knowledge of gerontology, Down syndrome, and dementia, they chose to bring the Memory Cafe philosophy to Brazil!

They started late in 2019 with a few in-person meetings, and then of course, had to pivot due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

More on that pivot later.

Next, the Reality

Starting something new is difficult. That difficulty is exponentially more intense when there isn’t any relevant examples on which to base planning. As you can see, Memory Cafe Brazil is the first of it’s kind in the country.

1st Memory Cafe in Brazil [chart]

Courtesy Memory Cafe Brasil

Early in 2020, I published a Memory Cafe Infographic showing an analysis and breakdown of Memory Cafe listings in the Directory from around the world. Since then, and coinciding with our continuing conversations, I have added a page for Brazil Memory Cafes.

Our collective hopes – Cláudia’s, Jessyka’s, and mine – are that this story of really “starting from scratch” will help others as well.

 Memory Cafe Directory posts and/or links to retailers can be advertising, sponsored, or affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from them. Thank you.

The Support

Memory Cafe Brasil Sponsors

Courtesy Memory Cafe Brasil

One of the early strategies they followed was to get broad support from those who could help them get started. This began with a clear focus on the locations: coffee shops and cafes.

By enlisting involvement and support of local cafes, they were quickly able to formalize their plans – they had locations! Now the events could be planned!

Planning Leads to Execution

Late in 2019 and early in 2020, Memory Cafe Brazil enjoyed three wonderful outings in the various coffee shops they had identified. Each event had a different topic or theme. For example:

  1. Your Face, Your Brand
  2. Get into the Routine
  3. Attention: Be Calm at this Time

To help all participants be as comfortable as possible, they used a consistent 3-part structure of:

  1. Social interaction
  2. Cognitive stimulation
  3. Wrap-up and plan for next meeting

Aligning with that consistent structure, the cognitive stimulation activity was tailored to the theme for that meeting:

  1. Face-Name Association
  2. Categorization: Focus on Activities of Daily Living
  3. The 4 Types of Attention

See how the As, Bs, and Cs line up? Brilliant!

Enjoy the photos Cláudia and Jessyka have shared from their first few events. Click the arrow on the left or right side of each photo to browse through the collection.

[su_image_carousel source=”media: 9204,9203,9202,9201,9185,9184,9182,9181,9180,9179,9178,9177″ slides_style=”photo” align=”center” autoplay=”0″]

The Pivot. See? I Told You it was Coming!

The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused pivots in many industries. Even Memory Cafe Directory did a quick pivot to accommodate the move to online “Virtual Memory Cafes” by creating the Cafe Connect calendar.

Memory Cafe Brazil was equally as nimble.

In April, their Memory Cafes began meeting via Zoom. Although the “platform” changed (from in-person to online) the structure and overall experience did not. By keeping things as consistent as was possible, it helped comfort the participants.

  • Session 1 Theme: Re-signify. In this session, we will stimulate the cognitive function of planning and organization.
  • Session 2 Theme: If the clothes spoke. In this session, we will stimulate episodic memory.
  • Session 3 Theme: Focus on development. In this session, we will stimulate the capacity for inhibition and working memory.
  • Session 4 Theme: Reach me if you can! In this session, we will stimulate the speed of information processing.

Each Zoom session followed the same pattern of social interaction, cognitive stimulation, and a wrap-up and plan for the next meeting. Like the in-person events that came before Zoom, each session continued to have a different theme. You may be able to craft some online activities from these topics.

There of course is time devoted to helping participants know what is needed to navigate the online platform and provide guidance in using it. Learning something new is good of all of us, right?

Momentum is Building

memory cafe directory cafe connect virtual online telephone

Visit Cafe Connect for Virtual Memory Cafes

Memory Cafe Brazil continues to bring benefits to many during these challenging times. Their Zoom meetings continue to take place about two times per month.

Scheduling is still a bit sporadic as they work toward a regular schedule, but you can of course watch out for them on the Cafe Connect calendar.

Virtual Memory Cafes Knows No Borders

It is exciting for Memory Cafe Directory to be a part of the very first Memory Cafe in Brazil. I hope to help in any way I can as Cláudia and Jessyka continue to evolve the Brazilian Memory Cafe experience.

4000 miles from Massachusetts to Brazil

Courtesy Google

Equally exciting is the prospect of people all over the world enjoying a Memory Cafe from the comfort and safety of their own home. Whether the hosts are down the street, or 6 time zones away, the human connection is made.

One such human connection Memory Cafe Brazil has already made is with a woman in Massachusetts, on the eastern coast of the United States. Her native language is Portuguese, so you can imagine her delight when she participated with the team in Brazil!

Although that was about 4,000 miles away, it was only one time zone!

This experience motivated me to now include languages other than English spoken during the online Virtual Memory Cafes. If your Memory Cafe involves languages other than English, let me know! I’d be happy to add it to your Cafe Connect entry.

More About Memory Cafe Brazil

Memory Cafe Brazil

Courtesy Memory Cafe Brasil

Below, you will find the results of considerable research and planning for Memory Cafe Brasil. Cláudia and Jessyka have provided many of these resources in both English and Portuguese. But first, here’s more about the creators:

Cláudia Lopes

Claudia Lopes Memory Cafe Brazil

Claudia Lopes

Contact Cláudia

WhatsApp: @claudialopescarvalho
Instagram: @fonoclaudialopes
LinkedIn: Cláudia Lopes Carvalho

Jessyka Bram

Jessyka Bram Memory Cafe Brazil

Jessyka Bram

Contact Jessyka

WhatsApp: @JessykaBram
Instagram: @GerontoJessyBram
LinkedIn: Jessyka Bram

Memory Cafe Brazil Resources (PDFs)

Memory Cafe Directory wishes much future success to Memory Cafe Brazil!


Are you a Memory Cafe operator? Would you like to share your Memory Cafe Best Practices? Get in touch! We’d love to showcase your efforts!

 Memory Cafe Directory posts and/or links to retailers can be advertising, sponsored, or affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from them. Thank you.

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