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Our Gift for Dementia Caregivers: Free Programs, Year-round

Year-Round Support, Our Gift for Family Caregivers
Year-Round Support, Our Gift for Family Caregivers
We’ve updated the information kiosk near our 202 Haverhill Rd. mailbox, to include a more direct message of love and hope: For Dementia Caregivers! Free-of-Charge Year-round Programs!

Our survivor’s mission is born of being dementia caregivers to my mom, Margaret, who lived with FrontoTemporal Degeneration (FTD) from age 60-67. It is still the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life to date. My spouse, Karl, was a life-saving presence during this most difficult time.

Tonight at 11:45pm, we remember my mom, Margaret. It is the 10th Anniversary of her death (d. 12/24/08). She passed away on Christmas Eve night…10-years ago. We’re also missing my Uncle Mal (d. 9/28/18) for the holidays this year.

Transitioning to “a new normal,” without certain loved ones at the table, is a reality we all face sooner or later. Let us hold close the ones now present.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

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Pavers and Peaches! Stop by & Say Hi, Today, 10am – 2pm!

Karl begins MargFMac Front Loop (0.1 mile) Pavers Project

Fuzzy Peaches Ripe for Picking
Fuzzy Peaches Ripe for Picking
Peaches are super ripe for picking. There are still several on the tree for our friends to pick – please stop by today, say hi, and pick peaches! Also ripe – raspberries – second batch!

Karl begins MargFMac Front Loop (0.1 mile) Pavers Project
Karl begins MargFMac Front Loop (0.1 mile) Pavers Project
Karl is on his second day of vacation. He started the MargFMac Front Loop (0.1 mile) Pavers Project yesterday afternoon, after finishing the Pear Tree Patio Espalier Trellis Project in the morning. As I write this post, I’m reaching to plug my ears as Karl uses a wet saw to cut the pavers to fit the trail.

Thanks again to you who have made a financial contribution to help us build accessible trails. 100% of your funds help to pay for materials right now as we do the work without professional landscaper help. Please learn more about our project and consider a contribution at our GoFundMe Page: Accessible Gardens North of Boston

We are making history here! Visit us today, anytime between 10am – 2pm, to say hi, to witness the actualization of our vision, and to pick peaches and raspberries free-of-charge! (Please bring your own containers for picking)

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry and action,
~ Mary

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Memory Café and Sunday Stroll this Weekend – 8/18-19!

White Water Lily with Yellow Center
White Water Lily with Yellow Center
Pack a picnic and plan to enjoy summer’s gifts in the garden this weekend: Saturday, 10am – 12pm, Memory Café in the Garden®
For people with memory loss and care-partners.
Sunday, 11a – 2pm, Sunday Stroll
For wheelchair-users (walker-, cane-users also welcome) and care-partners.

Harvest: Nectarines & Raspberries (while they last!)
Flora: Roses, Zinnias, Hydrangea, Phlox, Sunflowers
Fauna: Birds, Fish, Butterflies, Frogs, Dragonflies

These programs are free-of-charge. All are welcome. People needing assistance must bring a care-partner.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

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Wheelchair-Accessible Raspberries – U-Pick!

Raspberries are Ripe Now!

Raspberries are Ripe Now!
Raspberries are Ripe Now!
Independent wheelchair-users and wheelchair-users needing a care-partner’s assistance will delight in picking ripe raspberries in our accessible raspberry patch. Priority picking time for these groups is tomorrow, Saturday, 10am – 11am. From 11am – 12pm, additional guests and volunteers are welcome to pick and enjoy the raspberries.

Tomorrow, Saturday, from 10am – 12pm, is our Memory Café in the Garden®. This event will be wheelchair-accessible.

Sunday, 11am – 2pm, is our Sunday Stroll. We encourage our Sunday Stroll guests to come tomorrow, Saturday – as the weather will be better. However, Sunday, we will still host our event, even if raining, at the Caretaker’s Cottage.

All are welcome, free-of-charge.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~Mary

Wheelchair-Accessible Raspberry Patch is at least 3 feet wide.
Wheelchair-Accessible Raspberry Patch is at least 3 feet wide.
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6/21, 10am – 4pm, Open Garden Day on the Longest Day

Smell the Roses! 40 of 80 rose plants are wheelchair-accessible.

Smell the Roses! 40 of 80 rose plants are wheelchair-accessible.
Smell the Roses! 40 of 80 rose plants are wheelchair-accessible.
SPECIAL EVENT: 6/21, 10am – 4pm: Open Garden Day on the Longest Day.
Stop by anytime during this event to:

  1. Enjoy our Wheelchair-Accessible Gardens
  2. Experience our Memory Café in the Garden Program
  3. Learn more about our Free Programs for Dementia Care-Partners and People Living with Dementia
  4. Donate to Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH
  5. Donate to Grow our Accessible Gardens
"Mister Lincoln" Rose, MargFMac Front Garden Loop, 0.1 mile
“Mister Lincoln” Rose, MargFMac Front Garden Loop, 0.1 mile

ACCESSIBLE Rose Rodeo List
ACCESSIBLE Rose Rodeo List
The Rose Rodeo 2018 List features 78 plants – 40 are wheelchair-accessible. The four access categories are:

  1. Wheelchair-Accessible (green)
  2. Walker/Cane-Accessible (blue)
  3. Walk on Uneven Flat Grass (yellow)
  4. Walk up/down hill or steps (red)

We look forward to seeing you on Thursday, 6/21, 10am – 4pm.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

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Free Programs for Care-Partners! June Updates

Rose Rodeo Begins! Peonies Finishing...

Rose Rodeo Begins! Peonies Finishing...
Rose Rodeo Begins! Peonies Finishing…
GROUP SUPPORT: “I was dying for information and support when I found (and joined) this group…” a member from our dementia-caregiver support group emphatically expressed recently. Dementia Care-Partners: please know we have opened our support group (meeting twice monthly) to all ages of care-partners, dealing with all types of dementia. We continue to be specialists (survivors) of young-onset dementia (onset between ages 45-65), and the group will always have this specialty as long as I am the facilitator. We meet the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, 6pm – 7:30pm. Our groups are sponsored by Alzheimer’s Association and the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. Please contact me if you are interested in joining us.

INDIVIDUAL SUPPORT: Any care-partner, age 8-88+, may schedule with me, free-of-charge:

  1. A Spiritual-care visit (30 or 60 minutes)
  2. 2 Hour Respite Retreat
  3. 2 Hour Forest or Garden Therapy

MEMORY CAFE in the GARDEN®: Our next event is July 21, 10am – 12pm. We want more families living with dementia to join us at this monthly event!
Here’s a few highlights from this past weekend (Sat):
We served five people. Three residents and two staff from L’Arche Haverhill. Drums & Dancing was the favorite activity. One resident chose to not participate.

Opting Out, at the Welcome Area
Opting Out, at the Welcome Area

"Band of Hope" Drum Group
“Band of Hope” Drum Group

SUNDAY STROLL: Our next event is July 22, 11am – 2pm.
We want more families (with a member with wheels) to join us at this monthly event!
Here’s a few highlights from this past weekend (Sun):
We served five people. Two residents and two staff from MA DDS Topsfield House. One resident chose to not participate.

Our Topsfield Neighbors Enjoy Sitting under Norwegian Spruce Trees
Our Topsfield Neighbors Enjoy Sitting under Norwegian Spruce Trees

SPECIAL EVENT: 6/21, 10am – 4pm: Open Garden Day on the Longest Day.
Stop by anytime during this event to:

  1. Enjoy our Wheelchair-Accessible Gardens
  2. Experience our Memory Café in the Garden Program
  3. Learn more about our Free Programs for Dementia Care-Partners and People Living with Dementia
  4. Donate to Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH
  5. Donate to Grow our Accessible Gardens

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

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North Shore Alzheimer’s Partners Visit

North Shore Alzheimer's Partners Visit Rest.Stop.Ranch, 5/15/18

North Shore Alzheimer's Partners Visit Rest.Stop.Ranch, 5/15/18
North Shore Alzheimer’s Partners Visit Rest.Stop.Ranch, 5/15/18
Since 2010 I’ve been a member of the North Shore Alzheimer’s Partnership. Historically, it’s been a group of mostly business people involved in serving families dealing with dementia, who meet monthly to network, share updates about services, and plan educational events in the community. I remember in 2010 I introduced myself as a survivor of dementia-caregiving and passionately expressed through tears, “I’m making it my business to make a difference for families impacted by Alzheimer’s.

Yesterday was our first time to host this group at our home and gardens. Group members (11 total guests) appreciated the change of meeting environment (most meetings are held at long-term-care and dementia-care residential centers), and enjoyed a tour of the Caretaker’s Cottage and Accessible Gardens.

Current Co-Chairs of the group are: Donna Sordello of Spano & Dawicki Law Firm, and Karen Halloran of Care One LLC. Christine Bunnell is the new Alzheimer’s Association Regional Manager (Greater Boston & Northeastern MA), and presented updates from the Association. We discussed and began planning for a fall community education event.

On the tour, I was asked when the idea for our Accessible Gardens came to us… I shared it was Mother’s Day, 2008, when we took my mom Margaret to Tower Hill Botanical in Boylston, MA, and we were disappointed that there wasn’t more available for wheelchair-users and care-partners to interact with (we didn’t smell the roses, or anything else, that day). By 2011, we had designed and implemented a highly interactive and therapeutic experience where people of all abilities may see, smell, touch, pick, and taste many different flowers and fruits. Each year, the interactive and therapeutic experiences available in our Accessible Gardens grow.

Group members enjoyed the visit and plan to return soon with small groups from their dementia-care residential care locations (assisted living and long-term-care).

Our next Memory Café in the Garden® is this coming Saturday, 10am – 12pm. Highlights will include smelling the lilacs and playing with goats! All are welcome, free-of-charge.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

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Happy Spring! Stations + March-April Flyers

Narcissus Bulbs Weather Storms

Narcissus Bulbs Weather Storms
Narcissus Bulbs Weather Storms
Our fourth Nor’easter is amounting to four additional inches here at our home. I include a few fun photos from this morning, as well as one from yesterday showing Dave’s Septic Accessible Port-a-Potty has been delivered! As of yesterday, we had significant spring melt, and with 50 degree weather coming soon, the snow shouldn’t be staying long at all.

For a first time, I’m inviting friends tomorrow, 3/23, and next Friday, 3/30, 5pm – 7pm, for “Stations & Chowda.” Experience the contemplative practice of walking or sitting 15 Stations: 6 Ways (inclusive for people of any spiritual tradition), based on the Catholic tradition of praying the Stations of the Passion and Resurrection. The hour-long practice (may be experienced outside or inside), will be followed by fellowship inside over a simple fish chowder meal. If interested, please e-mail or call me. All are welcome, free-of-charge.

Please join us for these events, starting tomorrow (Two flyers are attached – please share with friends):
March 23: 5pm – 7pm, Stations & Chowda
March 25: 7am – 7pm, Spring Cleanup Day – We need your help!
March 30: 5pm – 7pm, Stations & Chowda
April 1: 11am – 2pm, Sunday Stroll, Bulb Parade (Opening Day, Easter)
April 7: 10am – 4pm, EXPO, Topsfield Common
April 21: 10am – 12pm, Memory Café in the Garden®
April 22: 11am – 2pm, Sunday Stroll, Bulb Parade
April 28: 9am – 1pm, EXPO, Peabody Council on Aging

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
~ Mary

Miss Honey Loves the Snow
Miss Honey Loves the Snow
Spring Melt Coming Soon!
Spring Melt Coming Soon!
Dave's Septic Accessible Port-a-Potty Delivered
Dave’s Septic Accessible Port-a-Potty Delivered

2018 Stations & Chowda Flyer

2018 Spring Programs Flyer