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,