Innovative healthcare design

Memory Cafés: A space to reminisce & relax

14th July 2015 | by Christine Smith | posted in Guides & Articles

What are Memory Cafés?

The original idea of a Memory café came from the Netherlands back in 1997 and was pioneered by Dr. Bere Mieson, a Dutch psychologist. Through her initial success the idea spread rapidly throughout Europe and eventually reached us here in the UK. The basic idea was to encourage memories of the past by visual stimulates of how home used to look, filling the space with memorabilia of bygone ages and creating a safe haven from the outside hustle and bustle that no longer makes any sense. Memory cafés were created to help stimulate the mind and relieve the stress for both the person with dementia and the carer by creating a pleasant environment with multiple stimulates and activities. 

The brain is very adaptable and when one part of it goes into decline it finds new ways to explore and expand other senses.  Memory cafés help in the resurrection of old memories, not just by the visual ambiance and decoration, but in the associated activities. It is a fitting place for socialising, mental activity and most importantly reminiscing. The NHS has recognised the importance of providing these cafes to encourage these benefits, they have been launched country wide and are gaining more respect from the private sector but as day units and incorporated within the care home environment. They provide games and crafts to stimulate passed experiences and bring them back into the fore of memory to open up dialogue 

What can Hill Cross do for your Memory Café.

You have arrived at the stage where you have a comfortable light and airy space and you have selected the “theme” you wish to go with, now let us help. Many schemes involve retro or fifties styled furniture, even old country farmhouse with tables having mother and father chairs at either end furthering memories of when we were younger. We can offer our expertise in this environment, providing comfortable chairs and sofas to relax in and practical tables and chairs to enjoy any activities, mentally stimulating games or a plain old cup of tea and a biscuit. The tables provided an easily cleaned surface with great scratch resistance and can come in a wood finish or a solid colour to fit in with your “Reminiscence Theme” The chairs, armchairs and sofas can all blend to the theme through shape and design, the fabric’s are all contract grade, waterproof and highly durable, long gone are those hospital vinyl’s we all remember. 

Need help? One of our team of experts in healthcare furniture will gladly assist you to visualise your project, within budget, with themed items, to bring everything together ready for you to open your Memory café and bring those memories flooding back.

Please also view our memory cafe interiors board on pinterest for inspiration.


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