A Dementia Cafe for Ipoh

Turn the stigmatised topic of dementia into a welcoming conversation of change.

Like it or not, dementia is still a subject that is often shunned. People are ashamed of the condition and it is equally challenging for those caring for them as most of us have little to no clue what they really need. Pak Peter, who is a care-partner to his wife, Irene has realised the urgency of the situation, which brings about the need to ratchet up awareness on dementia.

Known as Madame Kanga, Irene’s art exhibitions and workshops have revealed the need for regular, informal dementia education. To answer the call for change and make dementia talk more accessible, Peter is determined to embark on a project of setting up a dementia cafe in Ipoh.

Irene (left) and Pak Peter (right)

What crosses your mind when you hear the word ‘cafe’? 

A place to sit back and relax, while indulging in the soothing, quiet ambience.

So what is a dementia cafe all about?

Dementia cafe was first initiated by a group of people affected with dementia for people with dementia (PWD) in Europe, some 30 years ago. And gradually received widespread recognition. Dementia cafes are run by local voluntary steering committees and provide a complimentary space for PWD to share experiences and thoughts.

Bougainvilla Dementia Cafe, the name Peter came up with, will be the first grassroots community project to bring people with dementia (PWD) and their care-partners together.

Being the first of its kind in Malaysia, the cafe welcomes people living with dementia, their care-partners, health professionals and people who are keen to learn and support a dementia inclusive community.

The plan is to run it on a monthly basis in the afternoon from 2pm to 5pm, where members can enjoy the activities organised by the group. For the time being, however, Pak Peter is in the midst of preparing the project as he is still scouting for a suitable venue. Activities include sessions of art and music, as well as songs and dance in addition to educational talks by health professionals.

Expectations and needs to start the cafe.

Pak Peter is seeking the public’s generosity in providing a safe and convenient venue to run Bougainvilla cafe. He is looking for a place that evokes a sense of nostalgia.

In conjunction with International Dementia Month, he hopes to start the cafe by the first week of September.

Anyone who would like to share their idea or sponsor a space for the cause, may contact Care-partner and Dementia Advocate Pak Peter at 019-5743572 via WhatsApp or email him at

Gisele Soo

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