From: MaryGretchen Zale (This article is provided to Chelsea Guardian by a collaboration between the Silver Solutions Network and the Chelsea Senior Center.)
In June 2022 Chelsea Senior Center (CSC) was awarded a grant from the 5-Healthy Towns Foundation for a collaborative program to provide special services and activities for eligible Chelsea seniors. The program will expand in the next two years to seniors participating in the Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester, and Stockbridge Centers.
The expansion of this exciting new program in support of individuals experiencing cognitive change and memory loss will increase needed services to more seniors in Chelsea, as well as ultimately to those in neighboring communities. Its mission is to create, “Dementia Friendly Communities” providing activities, education, and support for both individuals suffering from memory loss, as well as their caregivers.
Individuals living with significant cognitive changes and serious or increasing memory loss often suffer from isolation. They lose friendships, stop exercising and participating in previous social interactions—while dealing with confusion, fear, and changing memory functions.
Caregivers (generally unpaid family members) also share in the isolation while struggling to understand the scope and ramifications of the cognitive changes they are witnessing—as well as focusing on providing quality care for their loved ones. Significant lifestyle changes for the caregivers, including sacrificing time with family members, friendships, and social or work activities critical to their own mental health.
'Remain engaged and active' tops the Alzheimer's Association’s list of strategies for people coping or caring for someone dealing with dementia. Formed in 1980, the Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support, and research.
Working together is a winning formula for everyone. Dementia Friendly Communities don’t let individuals or their caregivers struggle alone.
To learn what Dementia Friendly Communities provide, watch for more details in the coming months regarding the components of this new area program, including:
Connections Memory Cafe-a fun time out and about, enjoying time together away from the stresses at home. For individuals living with cognitive changes and mild memory loss PLUS their caregivers. Lunch, games, and activities for all to enjoy. Now underway at the Chelsea Senior Center.
Chat to Heal: A Caregiver Group Support Program-a group for caregivers to talk, support, and share resources with people who are living with the same struggles. Now underway at the Chelsea Senior Center.
Brain & Body Wellness Workshop-a way for people living with cognitive changes and mild memory loss to connect with others, have fun, and learn strategies to strengthen body and mind, and improve quality of life. Lunch is included. Starting in September and through October, this eight-week course will resume in January 2023.
All Memory Support Programs are open to anyone in the community. However, space is limited. To register, call or email CSC.