GSC Memory Loss Program creates vital connections. “We have found community”

By Carin Mack, GSC Memory Loss Program Director

Our Memory Loss Program at the Greenwood Senior Center is an award-winning program in its twelfth year. It offers support for Early Stage Memory Loss (ESML), opportunities to socialize safely for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and cultural and social events specifically tailored to the needs of those living with memory loss.

The support groups, events, and activities that we offer through the Memory Loss Program create vital connections for neighbors and their families. They show the Power of Community.

The Gathering Place is a weekly enrichment program for people living with an ESML diagnosis and is the flagship of our Memory Loss Program. I sat down with Jim Felber and Judith Freeman to talk a little about their involvement in our Memory Loss Program. Jim participates in the Gathering Place and our ESML Participant Support Group. Judith goes to our ESML Spouse Support Group.

GSC Program Manager Ariel Burnett at the Museum of Flight’s recent “The Walt Disney Studios and World War II” exhibition.
Gathering Place participants enjoy an exercise class at the Greenwood Senior Center.

Judith – how did you find out about the Memory Loss Program?

“When Jim was diagnosed, no help or resources were given. We have a young friend who works for the Parkinson’s Association. We asked her if she knew of any resources and she said, ‘do I ever. If you don’t do anything else, call Carin Mack.’”

Jim – You have been coming now in person to the Gathering Place. Has it been helpful?

“I look forward to it. We have grown to be friends. We share how different things come up in our lives. Interchange and things that have helped since the diagnosis. I really like the group. I like the guidance that we get from you. Appreciate the humor. It builds trust. We can make fun of this or that. Not a put down….part of the experience.”

Jim – Was the virtual helpful when we could not meet in person?

“Yes! We got involved during the pandemic. Online was great. Enough personality came through even online. Humor mixed with valuable information.”

Judith – You have been coming to the support group?

“Yes. In the support group I know I am not alone. All our stories are a little different but, at the core, it is the same. We, Jim and I, seem to be making friends. We are seeing some people outside of our groups. It is such a nice group of people. Our group has even started meeting another second time of the month on own.

Jim’s diagnosis was 1.5 years before we found this program. It has been like day and night. We have tools. We can understand what is going on, succeed, and have a goal.”

Jim – “It is exceedingly important to have the support person (Judith) get support. Also, both groups support each other. For example, we both talked in our support groups about driving…it made the talk about my not driving easier to accept.”

Judith – “We have found community for both of us. We also learned about the Village movement and this program has been an avenue with the dementia friendly programming in Seattle. We sometimes can have something to look forward to 3-4 times per week.”

“We are so grateful.”

Greenwood Senior Center program participants enjoy a tour of the Henry Art Gallery.
Power of Community graphic

Support the Greenwood Senior Center and celebrate the Power of Community with a tax-deductible gift to our campaign today. Our goal is to raise $60,000 for all of our senior programs, including our events, lectures, and classes. Help us spread the word!

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