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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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First COA Group Picnic: Danvers, MA, 6/12/18

Danvers, MA COA Group Picnic
Danvers, MA COA Group Picnic, 6/12/18
They loved it. 10 residents, 3 staff. All ambulated to the picnic table, some used canes or walkers. 9 of 13 ambulated around the 0.1mile Front Garden Loop and to the Caretaker’s Cottage. After the tour, they enjoyed a picnic at the Pear Tree Patio, and signed the guestbook.

Annie Townsend, group leader, is going to spread the word about our services, and have me speak at the COA soon. Yay! I have a beautiful introductory powerpoint presentation I can give to any group – please simply contact me to schedule to speak.

We need more volunteers. Please contact me if you can help with:
– Outreach / Marketing
– Administration/ back office
– Garden/ Weeding
– Hospitality/ Events

Right now it feels good (doable for me and Karl), to host 1 COA or Skilled Nursing Group Picnic per month. Topsfield COA will visit us in July.

Upcoming events:
6/21 Open Garden Day on the Longest Day, 10am-4pm

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

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Kiosk Flower Show Installed

'Flower Show' Tray Offers Portable Access & Education

'Flower Show' Tray Offers Portable Access & Education
‘Flower Show’ Tray Offers Portable Access & Education
Monday, May 21, 7am, I installed our “Kiosk Flower Show.” I aim to update the show daily with fresh flowers from our garden, and provide identification for public education. We have noticed bicyclists and walkers stopping by to read our kiosk, and this will be added fun and joy for them. Additionally, the flower tray allows me (and others) to bring the fresh flower show to anyone unable to visit our gardens.

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

Kiosk Flower Show
Kiosk Flower Show
Kiosk Offers Street-side Access & Eduction
Kiosk Offers Street-side Access & Education
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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

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Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn/Light is Returning!

Dan enjoys the chili.

Two dozen King Cake Cupcakes, Baby & Tiara
Two dozen King Cake Cupcakes, Baby & Tiara

On Saturday, Feb 3, 1pm – 4pm, we hosted a Mid-winter Mardi Gras Burn for all of our friends connected with our cause and programs. The 15′ by 10′ burn pile in the back of the cottage was burned, some toasted marshmallows were enjoyed, along with two types of chili and King Cake cupcakes. Amanda from the L’Arche group was our 6th guest (the same number as our wedding anniversary), so she got the cupcake with the baby and a tiara to wear for the party duration. She opted to give her tiara to Debbie. Other guests in the L’Arche group included Dan, Ryan, and Meghan. We met new neighbors, and Bonnie, from the morning Memory Café stopped by. Eight guests total. Enjoy some of the photos!

As of today, Feb 7, we have 21 more days in Feb, and 19 days to go in March – ’til Spring, March 20!

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

Dan enjoys the chili.
Dan enjoys the chili.
Amanda tries on a mask.
Amanda tries on a mask.
Debbie pets Miss Honey.
Debbie pets Miss Honey.
Miss Honey gives Debbie a kiss.
Miss Honey gives Debbie a kiss.
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An Inclusive Partner Yoga Memory Café: Take-aways

Small Group Names & Motion

Parallel Chair Set-up
Parallel Chair Set-up
Our Saturday Memory Café had 16 participants (8 partners) join us for Partner Yoga fun. The room was set-up with two parallel chair lines, and guests quickly found partners if they hadn’t arrived already with a partner (spouse or sibling). Memory Café Guests enjoyed fellowship and Valentine’s-themed snacks before and after the facilitated Partner Yoga program.

The structure of the facilitated Partner Yoga program began with a large group warm-up. Participants were invited to mingle using eye-contact and shaking hands with new friends to the song, “Getting to Know You” sung by Julie Andrews. We then moved into two smaller groups and repeated the same warm-up exercise (Names with a Feeling Motion: “I’m (name) and I’m feeling (motion); Group repeats, “(Name) is feeling (motion)!). Participants reported feeling safer and a sense of greater comfort in the smaller groups.

Small Group Names & Motion
Small Group Names & Motion

Participants were then invited to stay in the small grouping and sit across from their partner for a fun feather boa push and pull game to the song, “Getting to Know You” sung by Julie Andrews. Once finding a comfortable distance, the partners set the boa down and picked up sparkly pipe cleaners to further play around with levels of closeness and distance, to the song, “Brass in Pocket,” by the Pretenders. The prop was particularly helpful for friends who desired to be close, but not too close. Some participants also enjoyed the “glamour” of the props.

After, the partners were invited to find their “better side” (seeing and hearing), with the help of their friend humming on the left and right side of their head. When they each found their “better side” they matched up their chairs to sit better-side by better-side. Partners were invited to find one plastic heart bracelet under one of the chairs. The partner “with” the bracelet was invited to notice their feelings as they “offered their love (via the bracelet)” to their partner. The receiving partner was invited to notice their feelings as they “received the love (via the bracelet)”. The partners were invited to find a comfortable way of holding onto the bracelet together with their better-side hands. Many partners found a way to fit both wrists into the bracelet comfortably. Some found it comfortable to grab one side with a finger, and the other with the other partner’s finger. One partnership formed the tinsel pipe cleaners into canes, hooked the bracelet with the canes, and enjoyed a fun comfortable distance. The partners relaxed together, in their chosen positions with the heart bracelet, side-by-side, to the song, “If it’s Magic,” by Tuck & Patti. Finally, the partners were invited to choose their favorite prop(s) (feather boa, pipe cleaners, and/or bracelet) to dance side-by-side, to the song, “Side by Side” by Kay Starr.

Our next Inclusive Memory Café will be March 3 and will offer a fun horticultural therapy activity.

Moving forward with a listening heart,
vision, inquiry, and action,
Mary
Creative & Clinical Director,
Topsfield Memory Café
funded by MA DDS and Topsfield Cultural Council!

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Today! Memory Café and Mid-Winter Mardi-Gras Burn

2018 Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn Invite

Join us! All ages welcome.

TODAY: Feb 3, 10am – 12pm
Where: Trinity Church, 124 River Road, Topsfield, MA (Wheelchair-Accessible)
What (Title): Memory Café: Share the Love with Partner Yoga
What (Description): Learn & Experience Body-Based Non-Verbal Communication Skills (bring a friend or come alone) Funded in part by Topsfield Cultural Council and MA DDS.

TODAY: Feb 3, 1pm – 4pm
Where: Rest.Stop.Ranch, 202 Haverhill Road, Topsfield, MA (Not Yet Wheelchair-Accessible)
What (Title): Mid-Winter MardiGras Burn
What (Description): Enjoy fellowship and a bonfire at the Caretaker’s Cottage at our home, Rest.Stop.Ranch. We are celebrating spring arriving soon (see also: Mardi-Gras, Imbolc, Candlemas; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imbolc )

Bring your self as-you-are: your love, your laughs, your light. Below is a flyer for our Saturday events.

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

2018 Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn Invite
2018 Mid-Winter Mardi Gras Burn Invite