Ranch "Road Show" Visit Brings Joy To BACOA Memory Café

  • BACOA Memory Cafe group with Turnabout the Therapy Horse at the Ela Area Public LibraryWisdom Bridge Marketing

    BACOA Memory Cafe group with Turnabout the Therapy Horse at the Ela Area Public LibraryWisdom Bridge Marketing

Jack Macholl
Updated 9/25/2019 8:02 AM

Since 2013, numerous Memory Cafe programs have been launched throughout the nation. Designed to help boost confidence through an avenue of social engagement for people who are experiencing memory loss, along with their care partners or loved ones, these programs are increasing in popularity as the population ages.

A joint Memory Café partnership between the Barrington Area Council on Aging (BACOA) and the Ela Area Public Library was launched in May, and continues to gain momentum with group numbers increasing steadily.


"BACOA's goal is to reframe aging, making sure there is fun and activity for all older adults, said Terri Channer, BACOA's Executive Director. The Memory Café is permitting us to push traditional "norms" and help people facing difficult challenges remain socially active participants in the community."

One could say the envelope was pushed dramatically, when Jodie Diegel of the Soul Harbour Ranch in Barrington brought Turnabout, a miniature therapy horse to the Ela Library patio for a visit with the Café group. Also participating in the outdoor adventure was Lily the service dog from Therapy Dogs International, accompanied by her human Susan Kirshner. Jodie provided a quick overview of the work done at Soul Harbour Ranch, whose mission is enriching lives through the healing bond of human-animal interaction. She explained how to interact with a horse, and answered many impromptu questions from the group that quickly grew to include children, moms, dads and many library employees. Pretty much everyone wanted "selfies" with Lily and Turnabout.

The BACOA Memory Café meets the third Tuesday of every month at the Ela Public Library located at 275 Mohawk Trail in Lake Zurich. Every Café session will offer a new theme such as, Route 66, Family Vacations and America Our Home. Staff and trained volunteers incorporate a variety of activities such as art, movement, music and even pet therapy; all designed to stimulate conversation and connection with others.

For more information or to register for the Memory Café, please call BACOA Memory Programs Director Pam Pellizzari at 847 381-5010. Pam's email is: ppellizzari@bacoa.org

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