Success Stories

Discover how we’re making an impact on those living with dementia.

Success Stories

Discover how we’re making an impact on those living with dementia.

Stories

Arlington Council on Aging

I’m Still Here is supporting a virtual exercise class offered by the Arlington Council on Aging.

One caregiver writes:

I am a caregiver for my dad on Friday mornings and we are always looking for things to do as a way that we can stay engaged and do fun things together. The virtual fitness class that the Council on Aging offers for seniors living with dementia is a fun way that we can be active and do something together that benefits us both. My dad likes the class and since it’s virtual, we don’t have to worry about getting out of the house or dealing with parking or bad weather. It’s a nice way for us to start our Fridays together.

The teacher for the Council on Aging Dementia Friendly Fitness class is fun, energetic and captivating! It’s not like any other fitness class we have taken before and we look forward to signing on weekly for some healthy movement. All though we miss seeing people in person, the virtual connection is a nice and safe way that we can participate in a fitness class.

Kristine Shah
Executive Director
Arlington Council on Aging
27 Maple Street
Arlington, MA 02476

A story from Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living

People singing for music therapy.Our Social Connections program brings our clients living with dementia into the community as well as invites those living with dementia and others in the community to join. Our work reduces stigma and really shows our community that people with dementia still follow their passions and are available contributors to the life of the island.

June* has joined the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living Supportive Day Program for many years. Younger than many other clients, June has developmental disabilities as well as memory loss. A very well-known member of our community, June was raised “On Island”, as we say. Enthusiastic about all we do, June calls 3 – 4 times a day to report on various life items—when the lift will pick her up, what she is eating for dinner, or to tell us details about her day. June also often brings her stuffed animals and interacts with them at the center. Not all clients appreciate her enthusiasm.

At our July I’m Still Here Ice Cream Community Social, on a super-hot mid-summer day, probably hot enough to cancel (but we happily didn’t) June decided to enthusiastically sign DO RE ME with our music therapist, Heidi Carter, on guitar. Uncharacteristically she took the proverbial “stage” while the attending staff was flagging under the heat and the other clients feeling the weight of the very hot day. June inspired us all to continue to sing that one last song and to join her in signing for the hard of hearing, even though many of us were unsure of what she was exactly signing. After putting us all in the spirit of community and song, she sat down happy to have been accepted for her unique signing skill and enthusiasm.

It is a great blessing to be able to welcome the community to our events and be able to spill the good cheer and enthusiasm we experience every day.

*name changed to protect privacy

Mary Holmes
Supervisor
Supportive Day Program
MV Center for Living
PO Box 1729
Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

Windrush Farms, Andover MA

A senior man petting a horse.Eric and Mary* were living in a memory care facility when they took part in the Windrush Farm hippotherapy program funded by the Foundation in 2020. After choosing their horse and being introduced, over several weeks they learned the fist-first “horse handshake,”, recognized their horse, remembered its name, walked their horse a few steps, and eventually each were handed a stiff brush and were taught to groom their horse. Eric had been in a wheelchair each time he arrived at the farm. Mary walked with the aid of a walker.

The fifth week, as they approached their horses with their grooming brush, each had a new view of themselves. Eric stood up out if his wheelchair to brush the horse’s mane. He felt totally comfortable—him and his horse. Mary was taking steps without her walker. When an aid standing nearby reached out to steady her, Mary testily turned and said: “Do you really think I need your help?!”

Later Eric, who generally spoke very little and never about his past, sitting back in his wheelchair, beckoned to one of the farm volunteers and asked: “Is there a restaurant at the farm?” She answered that there was not, and asked him why he was asking? In his strong Irish brogue, yet softly he almost whispered: “Well in our farm in Ireland, after riding we all went to our restaurant for lunch.”

*names changed to protect privacy