As many of you know, I have been writing this blog for over 6 years. It began as a home for my thoughts and ideas on Alzheimer’s and dementia, an extension of my identity as “The Dementia Queen” – as I am affectionately known in local circles. And although I do think that discussing tips and tricks of caring for people with dementia has been helpful, I couldn’t help feeling that just applying a bandaid to a gushing wound was really making much of an impact.
And I am a tireless advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association who is doing amazing work in funding research and caregiver programs. But on a tangible, actionable level, there is still such a long list of needs.
The game changer…
About three years ago, I was working with two patients in the same home- a husband and wife- who each were in different stages of Alzheimer’s disease. They lived with their daughter, a single mother of two, who was stressed, exhausted, and hopeless. As soon as she and the kids got home from school everyday, hoping that neither of her parents had wandered off, she locked them all in the house for the night. One or both of her parents “sundowned” in the late afternoon, becoming steadily more anxious and active as the day wore on. Because she couldn’t leave her parents alone with their escalating confusion, her kids were stuck inside as well. She was desperate for help, for freedom, for rest, and for a place to take her family just to get them out of the house.
I left her home one day determined to help. I thought about how I’d spend my lottery winnings, if that blessed day ever came- on a space where older adults could exercise, socialize, and wander around exploring the environment. This place would allow caregivers to rest. It would get families outside and back to nature. It would allow for continued self-rehab following hospitalization. It would provide opportunities for fitness- the kind of activities that engage balance and proprioception- which are key functions for older adults. It would be multigenerational and inclusive of all abilities. It would be a fun gathering place for friends and families. It would be free. I wondered why there wasn’t government funding for such a space.
I passed by a local park where a group of moms sat on park benches and watched their children play. A light bulb went off…
We have dog parks, and skate parks, and ball parks, and toddler parks… but where are the parks for older adults? Where are the public spaces for the largest tax-paying demographic in the country?
We all know that if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. Seniors need equipment that promote function- stairs, balance, walking on various surfaces, getting up and down. They need features that promote movement on multiple planes- rotation, reaching, lifting. They need cognitive stimulation, sensory integration, and problem solving. They need socialization and a safe place to move and explore.
SeniorScapes, Inc is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating landscapes where older adults can thrive. We are committed to designing and building spaces that cater to the needs of healthy and impaired seniors. SeniorScapes, Inc is brand-spanking new… and we need your help.
As with any start-up, SeniorScapes, Inc is in need some funding. I have been bootstrapping this labor of love for three years, but I need your help. Here are the nothing-is-too-small donation levels that will help us get off the ground:
Paperclip Fund: $5.oo
Printer Ink Fund: $25.00
Marketing Supplies Fund: $50.00
IT/Web/Media Fund: $100.00
Help Us Grow Fund: $250.00
We are also applying for grants and pursuing partnerships for various projects. Your generous donation is tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much!