Memory Café

First in the U.S.A. ~ Our Program ~ Memory Café in the GardenSM

Peter & Mary, Marlene takes their photo

Peter & Mary, Marlene takes their photo at our October Pumpkin Parade

We host The Memory Café in the GardenSM, April – October, most Saturdays, 10am – 12pm, rain or shine.
Check our online calendar for event dates >

The Memory Café in the GardenSM, is the first outdoor Memory Café in the U.S.A., offered since 2015. We learned this from the author Jyette Lokvig PhD, who included our Memory Café as one of many examples in her book, “The Alzheimer’s and Memory Café: How to Start and Succeed with Your Own Café,” 2016.

Where: Rest.Stop.Ranch, the home of Karl R. Ackerman and Mary E. MacDonald, 202 Haverhill Road (Rt. 97), Topsfield, MA, 01983. On sunny days, meet in the garden; rainy days, meet at the Caretaker’s Cottage.

2016-2019, we are one of thirteen Memory Cafés to receive seed-funding from the MA State Department of Developmental Services.

Who We Serve at our Memory Café in the GardenSM:

  1. People with dementia, with care-partners
  2. Dementia-caregivers may join others for fellowship and networking
  3. Survivors of a dementia-care experience may find the gardens restorative or helpful towards personal healing, recovery & renewal

Our Memory Café in the GardenSM Program offers:
1. soothing activities for care-giver and care-receiver duos to enjoy together, such as gardens, picnicking, bird and fish watching, music and movement, and flower arranging.

2. opportunity for socialization and networking with others going through a similar experience.

3. opportunity for psycho-spiritual healing via 15 Stations and conversations with dementia-care veterans (volunteers and hosts) who have walked the walk.

4. opportunity for photos and memory-making.

Our Memory Café in the GardenSM Mission is to:

  • support informal/family dementia-care-partners who are beginning a dementia-care journey, are providing 24/7 dementia-care at-home, or are experiencing stages of grief, loss, recovery and renewal, during or after dementia-care.
  • provide dignity, beauty, respite, and recreation to independent wheelchair-users, people who consider themselves home-bound, and people affected by degenerative disease, developmental disability with dementia, or terminal illness.

Our passion and survivor’s mission is to serve family care-giver/care-receiver duos (1:1 care-giver/care-receiver relationships), especially those who are caring for loved ones at home, 24/7. We are aware that eighty percent of dementia-care is provided by family members at home, and over sixty percent of people living with developmental disabilities are also cared-for at home. Our goal is to offer much-needed respite and recreation to these family caregivers and care-receivers.

Hosting Small Groups with Special Needs since 2011
We welcome small groups coming from group homes (i.e. our friends from the NE-ARC), dementia-care assisted living programs, and long-term-care (skilled nursing) facilities. We require an RSVP from small group leaders prior to a group visit. We recommend an on-site visit prior to bringing a group.

Small Group Leaders: Please View/Download: Recommendations for Small Group Leaders @ Topsfield Memory Café

Join Our Volunteer Team!
If you live North of Boston, are age 14+, and are interested in joining us as a Memory Café volunteer, please visit the Volunteer Page or e-mail

Memory Café Volunteers: Welcome Committee

Memory Café Volunteers: Welcome Committee

Directory of Memory Cafés in Greater Boston
Unable to make our Memory Café because of time, date, or location?
Visit the Directory of Memory Cafés in Greater Boston to see additional options!

Voices from Our Community:

Darcy and her Dad, Pedro Enjoy Respite and Recreation on 10/11/15

Darcy and her Dad, Pedro, Enjoy Respite and Recreation on 10/11/15

My Dad and I are completely at peace and engulfed by the beauty of these gardens. This café is special. It’s different. You are a family. It’s offered outdoors, in a beautiful garden… and you’ve reserved this experience for us. Thank you. – Darcy Morales-Zullo, of West Newton, MA

One Comment

  1. Hi there –
    My name is Amy and I am an OT with Fox Rehab. I am planning on attending the Memory Cafe in the Garden tomorrow with one of my clients and was wondering if there is anything specific I should know? Thank you so much for your assistance and we are looking forward to tomorrow!

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