At our Anthem Memory Care communities, giving back is part of our daily lives. Our residents and staff are always seeking ways to channel their energies and creativity to help those in need and to give thanks to those who provide needed services within the greater community.
Recently, in an effort to help stem food insecurity in local shelters, residents, staff and families of Grace Point Place Memory Care initiated a project to put together special “blessing boxes” filled with non-perishable goods. The boxes were gifted to First United Methodist Church in Oak Lawn for their mini-pantry program. Everybody chipped in to help. And everyone benefitted from the project.
The process of engaging in a purposeful activity that helps others has a therapeutic power all its own. You may be familiar with the Rush University study back in 1997, still considered the hallmark in connecting purposeful activities with better brain health.
The study monitored the activities of over one thousand older individuals. They found that there was a 30% less cognitive decline among the seniors engaging in more purposeful activities and who exhibited a higher sense of well-being than others.
So, helping others really is a great way to help oneself!
The Grace Point Place “blessing box” project even caught the attention of The Chicago Tribune. A reporter asked Shannon Dahlman, community relations director for Grace Point Place how engaging in the project impacted residents. “Our seniors felt a great sense of purpose while filling these boxes for those in need,” she told the Tribune reporter. “Having dementia doesn’t mean they can’t help others and give back to the community,” she added.
If you are caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia, think about some purposeful activities you can do together. It may be as simple as planting a flower bed or knitting a scarf for a loved one. You might also look into local programs that benefit those in need. Working together on a project that benefits others will help bring a greater sense of value to both your loved one and yourself!