I’M STILL HERE PROGRAMS AND ACTIVITIES

I’m Still Here is dedicated to helping persons living with dementia to flourish by supporting nonpharmacological engagement programs. All awards are based on the effectiveness of utilizing I’m Still Here principles which underscore the importance of engaging persons living with dementia and their care partners in all aspects of community and family life.

I’m Still Here invites applications from individuals, community organizations, nonprofits and others for support. Grants may be awarded for up to $10,000 for programs that capture the I’m Still Here principles and which utilize the arts in any way to engage persons living with dementia and for other activities in communities. In 2022, I’m Still Here will provide seed funding for new innovative programs within two general categories:

The Arts

Based on its decades-long success creating innovative arts and cultural programs for persons living with dementia, I’m Still Here recognizes the value of all the arts in engaging persons living with dementia. As John Zeisel wrote in his ground-breaking book, I’m Still Here: A New Philosophy of Alzheimer’s Care,

“The arts can provide meaning in what to many is experienced as an every-increasingly meaningless life. It gives meaning to life and it is meaning the people living with Alzheimer’s so dearly crave.”

Zeisel added,

“Art touches and engages the brain in a more profound way than other activities. Music, painting, sculpture, comedy, drama, poetry, and the other arts link together separate brain locations in which memories and skills lie.”

Community Programs

A fundamental principle of I’m Still Here is engagement in life, in family, in community. Engagement in community provides meaning, dignity, and acceptance for persons living with dementia, their care partners and the community at large. I’m Still Here supports programs that embrace the local community as a way to help individuals facing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Book shops, theaters, parks, animal shelters, and other venues can be places for engaging activities that serve those living with dementia and help reduce fear of dementia and related stigmas.

Step 1: Submit Letter of Inquiry using the attached form.

Step 2: Submit a complete proposal upon invitation from I’m Still Here.

Timeline

February 28:   Deadline for Letters of Inquiry

March 10:        Invitations sent to organizations selected to submit full application.

April 1:             Deadline for complete applications.

For further information contact: Mary Anne Grant, Executive Director, grant@imstillhere.org

Tel: 781-816-5151 or 703-346-1563.

2021 Innovation Programs

  • Man’s Best Friend Program by Poydras Home in New Orleans, LA
    Poydras created a partnership with a local animal rescue organization through which persons living with dementia groom rescued dogs for adoption into their “forever homes.” The program touches each person’s hard-wired need to help others as well as being touched by animal companionship and enduring social, emotional, and tactile experiences.
  • Virtual Yoga Classes by the Town of Arlington, MA
    The I’m Still Here grant supported specialized dementia training for online yoga instructors, enabling them to engage persons living with dementia at home along with their care partners in weekly online yoga classes. Not only did the program help to overcome shut-ins during these COVID years, it has also been made available to neighboring towns and cities.
  • Community Social Connections Program by Martha’s Vineyard Center For Living, MA
    This program offers social events throughout the community for persons living with dementia—mostly living at home and getting out infrequently—and their care partners. The program reduces stigma through community awareness while promoting dignity, supporting independence, and fostering community engagement. Each monthly event includes live music in outdoor community venues including a riding stable, a local museum, and parks. Local news articles spread the positive word that these events represent.
  • Art Is…In Program by University of Chicago Medicine Memory Center and GoldMind Arts for curated art kits.
    This I’m Still Here grant supports the creation and national mailing of art kits to couples with a member living with dementia. The kits include paints, brushes, paintings from the public realm to inspire or copy, song lyrics, and of course instructions, A follow-up call is made to check on their use and help out. Four-hundred couples have received these art kits to help them engage in meaningful art projects in their own homes.

2020 Innovation Program

  • Equine Therapy Program at Windrush Farm, Andover, MA.
    Small groups of persons living with dementia make weekly visits to this friendly therapeutic horse farm to participate in a carefully designed equine engagement program. Over a series of weeks, participants are guided by a trained horseperson to get to know “their” horse by name and for the horse to get to know them. Under careful guidance, they groom, saddle, bridle and walk their horse until they turn over the horse to a person who is living with autism to ride around the indoor ring. This program creates relationships not only with the horses and the companions, but also with accompanying family members, adds to procedural memories, and draws on each person’s hard-wired need to help others.

Caulfield Legacy Programs

“Art has the ability to transcend the limitations of conventional communication and language, leading to rich emotional connections and enabling people with Alzheimer’s to break out of their shells, to become awakened.” – Sean Caulfield

Caulfield Legacy Programs serve as the foundation for our ongoing work. Sean Caulfield dedicated his life to improving the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s and their families throughout the world. We recognize Sean’s work through the four Caulfield Legacy programs he created: 

Artists for Alzheimer’s (ARTZ)

ARTZ enhances the cultural and creative life of people living with dementia, enables them to express their inner selves, and lessens the stigma that often accompanies a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. ARTZ established a network of amateur and professional artists who volunteer to work with or perform for people with dementia in care facilities or in day settings in the community. 

Meet Me at the Movies

Meet Me at the Movies is a participatory activity using short clips from classic films and TV shows followed by audience discussion and reminiscence guided by a trained moderator. The experience promotes meaningful interactions between those diagnosed with dementia, their care partners, family members and the communities in which they live.  

Meet Me at the Museum

Meet Me at the Museum draws on the support and collaboration of artists and cultural institutions as resources to share with, educate and inspire seniors with memory loss. Participants view and engage in discussions about works of art thus improving verbal expression, ability to focus attention, heighten mood and enjoy social interactions.

It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village embraces the local community as a powerful way to help individuals facing Alzheimer’s and dementia – both care partners and persons on the dementia journey. Attendees visit and utilize community venues, such as book shops, theaters and parks, are tapped for a variety of engaging activities particularly designed for persons living with dementia and help reduce fear of dementia and related stigmas. 

The Caulfield Legacy programs continue to serve thousands of persons with dementia in various locations in the United States and internationally. I’m Still Here offers guidance for organizations that wish to implement them. Inquiries may be submitted to: info@imstillhere.org 

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Feedback and Measurement

The ISH Foundation studies the impact of all I’m Still Here programs. Feedback and measurement provide information on how much the behavioral effects of memory loss – agitation, aggression, apathy, anxiety, social withdrawal, and depression – are reduced by programs based on the I’m Still Here principles. In addition, we measure improvements to the quality of life of participants.

All new programs supported by the Foundation are asked to collect and provide appropriate data to contribute to this essential research. The data will be collected throughout the program’s implementation and analyzed by professional researchers or by the organization in accordance with an approved data analysis plan. The Foundation provides advice and formats for data collection. Feedback from these analyses will be shared with the program operators, who will be invited to work with Dr. John Zeisel to devise recommendations for program improvements, if needed. No program-specific data will be made public without written permission of grantees.