Social stigma or other barriers often prevent people living with dementia from remaining involved and connected to their communities. That’s where efforts like Don and Donni Reddington’s Ride4Alzheimer’s – and other initiatives promoting dementia-friendly communities – can make such a difference.
As we weave what we learned in Seattle into the script for Disrupt Dementia 2017, we hit the road with the goal to inspire the creation of inclusive and kind communities by sharing what is possible when we learn from elders.
Imagine a community where people living with dementia mentor others, feel love, compassion and are comfortable coming out of the ‘dementia closet’. Those were some of the themes we explored in day one of our Disrupt Dementia retreat in Seattle.
This week PBS will air Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts, a documentary framed as “an urgent wake-up call about the national public health threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease.” While it’s true Alzheimer’s disease poses a public health challenge, much of the suffering experienced by people living with dementia is socially imposed on them by the tragedy-only narrative exemplified in films such as this.
Formed as a coalition of “community partners,” Momentia’s purpose is to empower people with memory loss and their care partners to remain connected and active in the community. Central to the movement’s philosophy is its positive perspective on dementia and a collective determination “to transform what it means to live with dementia in the community—thus changing the story from one of despair to one of hope.”
On a sunny August morning in Seattle, a group of kids took a few hours out of day camp to meet with older adults for a day of music and conversation. The event was designed by people living with memory loss to show the kids that despite cognitive difficulties, they have different things to offer, can get out and have fun, pursue new hobbies, and enjoy time with friends and family.
People living with various forms of dementia often exhibit certain signs of emotional upset, which may include anger, sadness, fear, frustration, or anxiety. Have any of you ever experienced these feelings? Maybe you too have dementia!
Yesterday I had a conversation with the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) in my home state of Montana about how to change dementia caregiving practices in the state’s nursing homes. I offered three ideas and would like suggestions from readers.