Dementia Cafe held at 1 Lasam Greentown

by KT Leong

Bougainvillea City Dementia Café held their inaugural meeting at 1 Lasam Greentown yesterday and will continue to hold them every third Tuesday of each month.

Based on a framework provided by the Irish Dementia Café Network, it is the first Dementia Café of this sort in Malaysia. The Dementia Café’s core values is that it is by and for people living with dementia, their care partners and those around them. This differs from “normal” gatherings on the topic of dementia, as it offers personal and real world perspectives. It isn’t just an academic talking about the theories of dementia care, but people who actually have to deal with it directly, as well as the fallout that is the result of the disease.

The café follows four principles, which is to provide a warm and welcoming ATMOSPHERE where everyone is treated equally. To provide INFORMATION, by sharing experiences with one another, guest speakers and informal chats with health and social care professionals. To SUPPORT each other, as each guest to the café are weighed down by the same issue. And to create a COMMUNITY that fosters social connections and counters the isolation that results from dementia. This is to combat the stigma of dementia, which is worse than the disease.

This first meeting had a comfortable turnout of volunteers and people who have some sort of connection with dementia. It wasn’t just people afflicted with the disease and their caretakers either. One visitor came to learn more about the disease, as they were worried they were beginning to develop symptoms. A couple whereby the husband has dementia, came to learn more and shared with Ipoh Echo, about the challenges they faced. They used to travel a lot and had settled down in Ipoh for its beauty and leisurely pace. But the wife is working and is forced to leave her husband at a home as her work prevents her from having the time to take care of him herself. They had tried hiring a caretaker but it was inadequate and the home was necessary.

A physiotherapist spoke about her patients having dementia, as well as her own mother-in-law, and came to learn more so that she could improve the treatment she provides for her patients.

A former lawyer also spoke about noticing that there was something “off” about her father a couple years ago. She realised that he was possibly afflicted by dementia and they went to have tests done, which was obstructed by the MCO at the time. In the meanwhile, she talked about having frank discussions with her parents, to get the legal aspects in order while her father was still of sound mind. Such as providing power of attorney to a trusted person and to get his will in order.

Aside from that, it was a buzzing affair in-between sharing sessions as everyone chatted with one another over tea and coffee. As everyone was facing similar issues and there are very few avenues to discuss the topic of dementia in a meaningful way, the participants took the rare opportunity to do so.

Future gatherings of the Bougainvillea City Dementia Café are planned to feature talks from medical professionals who deal with the disease and as well as other related speakers. The Café Coordinator, Pak Peter, can be WhatsApped at 019-5743572 or emailed at

Their Facebook is Dementia Café Ipoh

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