On November 10, 2015, Michelle Niedens, L.S.C.S.W. Director of Education, Programs and Public Policy, at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Heart of America Chapter, gave a beautiful talk, inviting all of us to contribute to a compassionate, inclusive, and dementia-friendly community. Her ideas are both simple and profound and offer a challenge and an invitation for all of us. Over the next two weeks, I’m going to share some of Michelle’s visionary “what if” thinking.
What would it take for all of us to be memory aware and to act on that?
What if restaurants had finger food menus? What if restaurants had specials from the finger food menu in the middle of the afternoon, when there were fewer people in the restaurant and things were quieter?
What if theatres had showings designed “memory aware”?
What if theatres had showings of old movies monthly with the “memory aware” icon on the website, so families could still enjoy getting out and having the cinema experience?
What if radio stations played songs related to memory issues in November (Alzheimer’s month) or April (Caregiver month)?
What if retail stores had designated days when the staff wore “memory aware” name badges and could provide more support to shoppers?
What if technology-based stores had annual displays of products that support memory, safety, or organization?
What if faith communities identified in bulletins/newsletters those activities that were “memory aware?”
Deborah Shouse is the author of Love in the Land of Dementia: Finding Hope in the Caregiver’s Journey.