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Bob Blancato Executive Director at NANASP, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs
Jay Newton-Small is a talented and accomplished journalist, and it is exciting to see her take her skills to a field in great need of innovation. Since 5.4 million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s disease, it is vital that we as a society find ways to capture the life stories of these older adults before they vanish entirely and that we find ways to make connections with these older adults through their personal histories. MemoryWell’s users’ ability to access content online, coupled with having journalists write and record these stories and media, creates a new take on the concept of family history collection. As someone who has been an aging advocate for years, I can state with confidence that this is a project that is long overdue.
I love MemoryWell.
Caregiving for dementia patients is frustrating. Each day every caregiver strives to make a connection, to trigger a bit of happiness, to make them laugh, to create a spark of good feeling for self. It’s hard enough when you know the person, so how do you manage when you don’t know the person? You need the person's story and the nuggets that make them tick and that's what MemoryWell captures. It's brilliant.
St. Paul's caregivers were quite excited to learn more about my sister Mary, especially her strong professional experience: that she was a doer, an organizer and very accomplished. This really helped them put Mary's day-to-day behavior in perspective. All the qualities/behaviors that had made her life so successful were still within her – and that understanding allowed respect for those same behaviors w/Alzheimers. Understanding that is everything.
MemoryWell is one of the very few important things I can do to improve Mary's care and I am grateful.
It is with great enthusiasm that I write this recommendation on behalf Jay Newton-Small and her Memory Well project. I had the privilege of working with Jay while her father was in assisted living care and I found Jay to be very gracious and committed not only to her father, but also to the plight of those living with dementia on the larger scale. Jay has a keen sense about what families go through as their loved ones experience progressive memory loss and decline as a result of neurocognitive illnesses. Her ability to communicate and create a story is well known. How lucky we are that she has chosen to invest her talents in preserving the memories of those living with dementia. Without a project like Memory Well, the memories and the footprints of our greatest resource for a window into the past would be lost to our future generations.
Jay, along with the rest of the team at Memory Well are an asset to all of us in the memory care field.
Kathleen Douglass, MA, NHA, LCPC