Aging Better: BACOA’s Memory Café Offers Critical Socialization for Those with Mild Cognitive Difficulties

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The Barrington Area Council on Aging is offering an innovative way to address the socialization needs of those with mild cognitive impairment issues along with their care companions. The new Memory Café provides critical socialization opportunities for those with mild memory issues along with their caregivers. BACOA is hosting meetings locally every third Wednesday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The program is free but registration is required.

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“Studies have demonstrated that a healthy social life is critical to aging well,” said Joyce Palmquist, executive director of BACOA. “But when older adults begin to show signs of cognitive impairment, many begin to isolate and sever social connections at a time when those connections are important to one’s overall wellbeing.”

The Memory Café provides a safe, nonjudgmental environment where participants can enjoy playing board or card games as they chat about everything from local history to current events. Trips to local attractions also keep participants engaged.

“Community engagement is so important to aging well,” said Palmquist. “The program seeks to ensure community connection for not only those struggling with cognitive issues, but their caregivers as well.”

Palmquist said caregivers require as much assistance as those with cognitive-related diseases.

“BACOA has a whole series of programs for caregivers,” said Palmquist. “Caregivers need as much support as those with memory-related issues.”

The Memory Café was introduced as a pilot program in October, but by November, attendance doubled.

“We’re excited to be able to offer a program that’s clearly needed in the community,” said Palmquist.

Those interested can register by calling BACOA at 847.381.5030.

Founded thirty years ago, The Barrington Area Council on Aging exists to promote #AgingBetter, or vibrant, healthy aging through activities, education, and support to adults and caregivers. BACOA serves approximately 1,200 individuals a year and assists the community in the following ways:

Information on housing options or in-home care services * Meals-with-Wheels * Enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid * Counseling on insurance, benefits and Medicare Part D * Support and education groups for seniors and caregivers * Activities and programs for active seniors * A day respite program for older adults * Educational programs and services for the community on issues related to aging

To see how BACOA embraces their mission daily, search #AgingBetter for their social media updates via Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest and find more information about their programs at

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