United Way of Southwest Minnesota recently awarded a $1,000 grant to the Heart2Heart Memory Cafe program in Granite Falls. According to Senior Advocate Steph Fry, “Heart2Heart is a place where people gather with memory loss and their care companion can come together in a safe, supportive environment. Many people share stories, or just converse over a cup of coffee and treats. There is sometimes guest speakers and live music.”

The cafe first got going with the help of a grant from ACT on Alzheimer’s written by Mark Roisen from the Living At Home Block Nurse Program (LAH/BNP). ACT on Alzheimer's is a Minnesota-based association that works with nonprofit, governmental, and private organizations to leverage funds and develop programs aimed at helping those impacted by Alzheimer's. The LAHBNP also worked closely with the Senior Advocacy Program to help get the cafe going.

According to Fry, the cafe is a great resource for individuals impacted by Alzheimer’s, dementia, TBI’s, massive heart attacks, and strokes. “This café allows these people to come together, form friendships and bonds, and learn of resources that can help them along with this new journey,” she explained.

Fry has received a great deal of positive feedback, saying that it “is wonderful to hear of so many people talking about Heart2Heart and the positive impact it is having around the community, and on individuals.”

With so many exciting opportunities on the future, Fry also has a lot of people to thank. “I want to thank everyone who has kept this program in their thoughts, all of the committee members who have worked so hard to make sure that this a good experience, LAHBNP for transportation, and Mark who wrote the grant for it. Without everyone’s help it could not [have] been possible!”

The cafe is available every fourth Tuesday of every month at 9-10:30, at the Granite Falls Senior Center.