Spanish-Language 'Memory Cafe' Opens in Elgin

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 14, 2018 | Go to article overview

Spanish-Language 'Memory Cafe' Opens in Elgin


Byline: Elena Ferrarin eferrarin@dailyherald.com

Within 15 minutes of meeting at the first Spanish- language "memory cafe" in Elgin, Carmen Lucio and Nena Vallejo were trading recipes for "mole," the traditional sauce used in Mexican cuisine.

"I put peanut butter in mine," Lucio said. "Yes! Peanut butter and also Mexican hot chocolate," Vallejo said.

The women, both from Elgin, were among about 20 people who attended the event Monday at Dream Hall in downtown Elgin. Memory cafes, held all over the suburbs and nationally, are social gatherings for people who suffer from memory loss -- stemming from Alzheimer's, dementia or other brain disorders -- as well as their caregivers.

The Elgin event was organized by Gail Borden Public Library, which launched memory cafes in English in August.

Lucio's daughter, Amanda Gutierrez, said she was glad to see her mother socialize. "I think the concept is good. It gets them out and gets them talkative."

The cafes are a way for people to meet others who share their experiences in a fun, stress-free environment, said Glenna Godinsky, life enrichment liaison for the library. "Icebreakers" encourages participants to talk to each other, and there are activities like arts and crafts, dancing or music.

Monday's event included a free mole tasting.

"There is no set agenda, but we always have a discussion topic. Tonight was mole," she said. "We take a poll about which one was the favorite (the mole poblano made by Cafe Revive) and we have a page of facts about mole. We always have facts, because it literally gets everyone on the same page."

Monday's event included a presentation by staff members from Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, who said Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer's than non-Latinos. That's due to a variety of factors, such as having a longer life expectancy and higher incidences of diseases like diabetes, said Yadira Montoya, senior community engagement coordinator. …

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