The Waxahachie Senior Center is joining with the Alzheimer’s Association to bring the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Cafe experience to the residents of Ellis County. The event will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Senior Center.

Waxahachie Senior Center Director Jeanee Smiles this event is for any family member, caregiver or friend of someone who has or is being touched by Alzheimer’s.

“Anyone who has been affected by this disease is invited to come to this event,” Smiles said. “This is for anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, mild cognitive impairment, or someone who is concerned about possible memory loss. Family members, friends and caregivers of people with dementia are encouraged to attend.”

Smiles said she would like to stress that anyone in the community is invited to attend.

“This is not a senior center member only event,” she said. “This is a way for people to come together in a friendly and safe environment and learn more about this disease.”

In addition to providing activities for those in attendance, the Senior Center will provide live entertainment. Smiles said events like this promote a special camaraderie among people, and the environment is one where everyone will have a place.

“This is so important to me and we must raise community awareness about this disease,” she said. “Alzheimer’s knows no age limit. It affects any age group and race.”

Kimberly Knight is the assistant director of family services for the Alzheimer’s Association in Dallas. She overseas the southwest region of the organization, which includes six counties (Navarro, Kaufman, Henderson, Rockwall, Van Zandt and Ellis).

“One of my primary responsibilities is to make sure we have a presence in those counties through the programs and services that we offer,” Knight said. “The memory cafe is a new service that we are offering. It has been around for many years, but our organization is launching it for the first time.”

Knight said after hearing families express the desire for this type of interaction is what led them to integrate the program.

She said they want to not only use the cafe as a social gathering, but to impress upon those battling the disease the importance of continuing to live.

“We want people with this disease to realize there is still a lot of life to live,” Knight said. “Due to the stigma associated with this disease people have a tendency to stay home and not interact with others.

We are encouraging everyone involved to break out of the social isolation and meet new people.”

Knight said the state of Texas ranks third for those diagnosed with alzheimer’s and it ranks second in alzheimer’s related deaths.

“Every 68 seconds someone new is diagnosed with the disease,” she said. “Of those diagnosed, the majority of them are in the 30-60 age bracket. This disease affects all of us in some way and the more people who know about it, the greater the impact we can have on the community in raising awareness.”

Smiles said everyone in the community is encouraged to come out and learn more about the effects of Alzheimer’s She added that they are looking for volunteers to assist them in their efforts

After the initial event, the memory cafe will continue to be held at the site from 1-2:30 p.m. on the last Friday of every month.

For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association, contact Kimberly Knight at 214-540-2408 or visit alz.org/greaterdallas.

For more information about the memory cafe event or the Senior Center, call Jeanee Smiles at 469-309-4280 or email jsmiles@waxahachie.com.

Follow Melissa on Facebook.com/MelissaCadeWDL. Contact her at 469-517-1450 or melissa.cade@waxahachietx.com.