Community Spotlight: Memory Makers, Memories Worth Making
Whether they bring joy, laughter, or even sadness, memories are an important aspect of everyone's life. As humans, it's only natural and important to create many memories.
Memory Makers is a day program for older adults dealing with memory loss due to Alzheimer's disease or other dementia disorders. This organization is designed to provide safe, affordable socialization for anyone in the community who has dementia and provides a break for the caregiver.
Alzheimer's is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, thinking skills, and event the ability to carry out the simplest of tasks. Some of the warning signs of Alzheimer's consist of memory loss that disrupts the daily life, challengeins in planning or problem-solving, difficulty completing familiar task and confusion with time or place. Day programs are considered the best type of treatment for individuals living with Alzheimer's and their families, so Memory Makers was formed to help those in the Oxford-Lafayette-University community coping with the disease.
“Memory Makers opened in October 2010 and is now open three days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursdays,” said Emily Fox, program coordinator. “I started out as a volunteer with Memory Makers in December 2010 and became the program coordinator in April 2011.”
Memory Makers' group size is limited to 12 participants, plus the volunteers. The program is based on a social model that provides a structured setting where participants enjoy group activities such as exercise, socialization and craft-making. They also benefit from reminiscing, story-telling, music therapy and art therapy.
“We are a great place to volunteer,” said Fox. “Many volunteers start off with the idea for volunteering for a few hours and are still with us after a year. Volunteers can serve as a ‘best friend’ to one or more participants and help them throughout the day.”
Participants pay a small daily fee to cover the cost of snacks, drinks and supplies; participants and volunteers also bring a sandwich for lunch. Snacks, desserts and beverages are provided.
“Because we eat a lot we need people to help with set-up, serving and cleaning up,” said Fox. “Volunteers can stay as long as they need and can lead activities like exercise, art or cooking activities.”
Before a person becomes a participant in the Memory Makers program, an assessment is done to determine if the person could benefit from the group activities. Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s can be challenging and at times overwhelming. Caregivers often need a break from their day-to-day duties so they can maintain their own well-being.
“Memory Makers is a place where friendships are made and treasured,” said Fox. “People of all ages come together for coffee and conversation, reminiscing about the good old days, exercise, flower arranging, art, and brain-stretching activities. We share good food, laugh, sing and dance.”
Memory Makers is always open to new and repeat volunteers. With many opportunities volunteers will be able to help in a variety of ways.
“There are many ways to volunteer at Memory Makers,” said Fox. “We encourage people to share their gifts and join our day.”
For more information visit www.volunteeroxford.com and click on “Find Agencies” to search for Memory Makers or call