GEM’s Vision is to deliver effective and loving support for people with early to moderate memory loss by sharing our expertise with training, education and tangible support for community/church friends, family caregivers and the individuals living with Dementia in our community. This model will also address people living with dementia who do not have family in the area as we will seek to connect them with a community/church friend who will assist them.
GEM’s model is Harmony Café
First: Harmony Cafe will be open to all caregivers of people with dementia with the primary focus in on couples because they may lack a strong support system (Especially in Dare County because it is a retirement destination many couples that move here are isolated from the rest of their family. This puts them at high risk for isolation, which is only heightened when one of them ages into dementia. Identifying a community friend who is willing to provide transportation and a personal invitation to Harmony Cafe will address this problem. The role of the community friend would also address a person who might be at high risk because they are living independently with no family helping to connect them with community supports.
Second: Elderly couples especially the World War II generation are at the highest risk because they believe in “taking care of their own” and won’t readily reach out for formal help. Younger caregivers are still working and will benefit from three hours of relief from the caregiving role. Third: Dementia is a very stigmatizing disease and people cling to denial, and won’t seek help until they are in crisis, by then the relationship is destroyed and institutionalization is the only solution. In Dare County these “at risk” couples” are often identified at the hospital emergency room when the primary care partner has a health crisis. It has been estimated that 40% of care partners die before the person with dementia does. Fourth: “It takes more than love and good intentions to care for a person with dementia” commented Dr. Delana Phillips. (A family care physician) Effective strategies for understanding Dementia and providing targeted care are necessary to alleviate care partner distress. It has been documented that 70%-80% of people with dementia reside at home and are cared for by family members and community friends. Fifth: Harmony Cafe will reach the community friends who are already providing “Informal Care” and share/demonstrate tools enabling them to be more helpful in their care of their friends with dementia. Harmony Cafe provides a community of care for people living with dementia and expands their community support. Harmony Cafe will also act as a vehicle to raise awareness of the general public to the “Best Practices of Person Centered Care” for people living with dementia.
Individual Church, Civic Club or Community Organization Participation Plan
People helping people = a community of care for individuals living with memory loss
The program would include, a meal, an activity and live entertainment
The host organization will be responsible to provide a meal for the participants of Harmony Café at Kitty Hawk United Methodist Church. The meal would include a beverage, dinner and dessert.
GEM or the host organization will provide an art or craft project that is adult, meaningful and has a purpose, for example; we made healing quilt cards and shared them with our friends in the nursing home. We also made Tiny Easter Baskets and they were given to the folks who receive home delivered meals. *people living with dementia might want to give a gift to their friends and caregivers
Suggested Entertainment: Music, Theater, Dance
GEM will provide in advance of Harmony Cafe:
1. A 60 minute Orientation for Harmony Café Volunteers on the day at 10am or we will provide it at a time and place of your choosing.
2. A completed registration form for all participants
3. At least two trained GEM volunteers
4. An approximate number of individuals joining us
5. Entertainment (if the co-host would like us to provide this)
6. A craft of project (if the co-host would like us to provide this)
7. Educational programming for care partners
8. Suggestions and instructions for appropriate programming for people living with memory loss
9. Suggestions and instructions for appropriate programming for people living with memory loss
10. Advertising of the event and venue
Gail E. Sonnesso, MS, Executive Director
Geriatric Care Manager
Consultant, Engagement Leader
GEM DAY SERVICES, INC. 252-480-3354