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[caption id="attachment_2276" align="alignleft" width="132"]carin Carin Mack[/caption] You probably think of Seattle as a national leader in tech, bio tech, aviation, and, of course the standardized cup of coffee...but did you know Seattle leads the nation in comprehensive, innovative dementia programming? Pockets of programming have been available in the city since the late 90's but recent expansions in services complement one another and form an outstanding network of support for all stages of memory loss. Seattle social worker Carin Mack stewards and develops Early Stage Memory Loss (ESML) programs for people in the early to mid stages of dementia.  I spoke with Mack about her ESML programs and Seattle's progressive dementia services. "It takes money, time and structure to build programming," Carin Mack explained. Leveraging her experience and vision gleaned from nearly 40 years of social work  Mack gradually built the structure for her nationally unparalled hub of ESML services at Greenwood Senior Center with steadfast support from Phinney Neighborhood Association. At the core are: the Gathering Place, a wholistically designed weekly program of cognitive and cultural enrichment components with exercise, Piano and Music Making sessions, support groups for ESML care partners and spouses, the professionally facilitated song circle "All Present," and a book group at the local library. While medicine searches for solutions to memory loss, programs such as these are crucial in keeping minds engaged, improving self esteem, and lifting awareness in the community. "Alzheimer's is nothing to fear. I am a loving person; I am a happy person. I have fun, friends, and family, and that gives me joy," group pic gatheringCeCe, a Gathering Place attendee writes in an awareness handout created by members of the program.
nh2Northaven Senior Living, located in the Northgate neighborhood across from the Post Office, is a friendly place. The all glass entrance to Northaven Independent Living opens into a modest and comfortable common space. Northaven Assisted Living is tucked safely behind the main building. It too opens into a comfortable common space where I found two ladies dozing and one anxious to engage me as I waited to talk with Assisted Living Director, Mary Quarterman, and Foundation Director, Bill Dorn. I enjoyed sitting in the safe, unpretentious and welcoming atmosphere.  I never imagined it was on the front lines of Seattle's "quiet crisis."
MemoryCare_emailbanner_w-taplogo The MemoryCare Plays, three award winning one act plays focusing on the challenges of dementia, come to Seattle for the first time in May. The plays, "Steering Into the Skid," "In the Garden," and "Riding The Waves," are directed by Taproot Theatre's Artistic Director, Scott Nolte and will run two nights, May 8 and 9. All proceeds support arts programs serving individuals with memory loss and their caregivers. Arts and music are unique in their ability to promote healing, connection and purpose through all stages of dementia.
[caption id="attachment_2129" align="alignleft" width="179"]Kathleen Kathleen[/caption] Behind every successful business is a hard working Administrative Professional. Thank you Kathleen D'Amelio for your 5 years of support at With A Little Help. With your kind, wise, efficient, and mellow style you make all you do look easy.  Your essential behind the scenes contributions ensure that With A Little Help runs smoothly and eases the jobs of staff members. Whether you're supporting payroll, scheduling, or helping to organize and produce community events, Kathleen, you always keep in mind what's important to your co-workers. Whether you're ordering supplies, keeping our work on track, or assisting with caregiver trainings you offer constructive feedback and give compliments where deserved. When you come early because it's needed or stay late out of necessity you work hard to reach our goals.
Something amazing happened this year....Seattle became the first city in the nation to launch dementia friendly programming through Parks and Recreation.  Marigrace Becker, who advocated for and conceptualized the program, explained to The Seattle Channel, "Seattle itself is very progressive when it comes to thinking about dementia. I just figured...it must be everywhere throughout the nation...I'm hoping to inspire other Parks and Recreation departments." Based on the early success of dementia friendly recreation programming other cities are sure to be impressed.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="111"]Gale-pic-3-cropped-and-edited1 Gale Wald[/caption] Boarding a flight today is complex-- long security lines and two hour check-ins. It’s a challenging atmosphere for people with early stage dementia or major health problems, explained Senior Transitions owner, Gale Wald. Wald, an RN and practicing flight attendant, provides travel companionship and trip coordination services to seniors and their families. “You don’t have to do this alone,” she says with confident assurance. Her company, Senior Transitions, is based in the Pacific Northwest.  Her services provide door to door flight companionship which may also include aspects of trip planning: ticket purchase,  food, transportation, health clearance, luggage check-in, or travel insurance. Travel companions are skilled at managing in-air emergencies or troubleshooting flight delays and cancellations.  Air Travel companions arrange quick trips through TSA security and know how to bypass pat downs.  Awaiting families or friends receive trip updates as desired. "With detailed sensitivity to personal needs such as frequent toileting, help through confusing customs and security checks, lunch at the favourite spot, always mindful of his physical stamina and comfort, Gale has facilitated the ‘quality of life choice to travel’ for my father," writes one of Senior Transition's satisfied clients.

With A Little Help is proud to present the return of advocate and educator Teepa Snow. Snow's workshops, "The ABC's and D's of Dementia,"  integrate up to date knowledge about dementia with strategies and tools for building personal connections with people experiencing the condition. Entertaining...

In February we celebrate our hearts and sweethearts! We all know Valentines day and, increasingly, word is getting out about National Wear Red Day for Women on the 6th. In fact the whole month is devoted to lifting awareness about our hearts. Our discussions about: heart health, heart-felt feelings, heart healthy foods, and heart risks this month are all about the actions we need to take in life to balance the needs of our hearts with the demands of our day. Whether it's remembering the roses or picking up heart healthy foods for dinner February reminds us to nurture everything that makes our heart beat. Why is an entire month devoted to lifting awareness about heart health and heart risks? Because stroke and heart attack is the number one killer of American men and women. More people are dying of heart disease today than of all types of cancer. 1 in 4 people die from heart disease every year and over half a million will experience their first heart attack by year's end.  That's why the Million Hearts Initiative was launched in 2011 with a goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. But the fact is that neither government initiatives nor your doctor can prevent heart disease. Your heart and your life choices are yours. In the video below a 55 year old woman explains how she realized the connection between her life problems and the care of her heart and decided to make a change.
[caption id="attachment_1906" align="aligncenter" width="437"]The Twelfies! The Twelfies---office staff at With A Little Help. Go Seniors! Go Hawks![/caption] At With A Little Help (WALH) we're 12th men for our clients and families all year round.  Thank you for trusting our home care agency to support your loved ones.  Seahawks, thanks for bringing this city together and taking us on a fabulous ride...two Super Bowls back to back and thrilling plays. You've energized this city and taught our somewhat reserved culture how to experience unabashed civic pride. You've taught us to believe in sports miracles. Steve Raible's : "Oh My Word" call on the one yard line expressed the shock fans felt at the sudden turn of events that, this time, meant a stunning loss. Fans and the sports world are in disbelief today but we know that ends eventually lead to new beginnings and we're hopeful for growth in the new season.
awareness_logoWhen your insurance lacks vision care it's not unusual to skip regular eye exams but, if you're over 40,--please think twice.  Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, is diagnosed in and prevented through routine eye exams. Outside of an exam, early warning symptoms are generally unnoticeable. Estimates suggest that 2.7 million Americans have glaucoma but only half realize it!  Do you know if you have glaucoma?