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Social Programs

Renewal Care supports social programs in which individuals with memory loss can come together in an affirming environment.

In Chicago, visit a Memory Café

Memory Cafés are a free social gatherings for individuals with early-stage memory loss, usually meeting monthly on predetermined dates. Family, friends, and care partners are welcome to attend.

Chicago Memory Café

Location: Loyola University
For information call Darby Morhardt at (312) 908-9432 or email.

North Shore Memory Café

Location: Evanston
For information call Allison Pastene at (312) 273-9000 ext.8 or email.

In New York, join “Beginnings”

“Beginnings” is a social gathering for older adults with early or mid-­stage Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other neurocognitive disorders. Each meeting offers social, intellectual, and physical engagement in an uplifting and safe environment. Our goal is for each of our members to experience authentic joy and connection with others whenever they join us.

Who is eligible to participate in the “Beginnings” program?

To join “Beginnings,” potential members must be:

  • Living with early or mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or a related neurocognitive disorder
  • Independent in activities of daily living
  • 60 years of age or older

Our team meets with potential members before their admission to the “Beginnings” program. During this initial meeting, potential members and their families have the opportunity to discuss “Beginnings” with group leaders to ensure the program will be a mutual fit.

What are the benefits of joining?

You will experience what makes “Beginnings” special the moment you enter our meeting space and see our group in action. The benefits of participation in “Beginnings” include:

  • Enhanced Well-Being: Social engagement can improve one’s cognitive functioning while reducing symptoms of clinical depression and other mental health challenges. More than an affirming social experience, “Beginnings” includes group meditation, yoga, and healthful food for members.
  • Creative Programming: The interests of our members determine what we do together. Guest lecturers from leading cultural organizations frequently join us. Past guests have included a flautist from Lincoln Center, a docent of Friends of the High Line, and a salsa dance teacher.
  • Welcoming Community: Our diverse members include retired professionals, artists, homemakers, and teachers. We all share a lifelong passion for learning and a commitment to accepting people as they are. Together, we rise above the challenges of neurocognitive disorders and continue to enjoy everything life has to offer.
  • Intimate Gathering:
    We limit our membership so that each person is able to connect with others without getting lost in the crowd. Our small size also ensures that each of our members receives individualized attention.

“Beginnings” is especially beneficial for people who prefer to remain in their homes and age in place, but still desire to be part of an active and welcoming community. Our program also provides respite and support to family caregivers, who can recharge with peace of mind while their loved one benefits from our unique program.

What is the program schedule?

The “Beginnings” program meets each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The program begins promptly at 11am and ends at 2pm.

Where do “Beginnings” participants meet?

The meeting space for the “Beginnings” program is provided through a partnership between Renewal Care Foundation and SNI, a not-for-profit organization located at 247 East 53rd Street in New York City. The center is located between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue.

Who leads “Beginnings”?

Part of what makes the “Beginnings” program so special is the people who lead it. With backgrounds in physical therapy and mental health counseling, Randi Schwartz and Tracey Maya have over thirty years of combined experience working in long-term care.

To learn more about the “Beginnings” program or apply for membership, we invite you to contact us.