My grandmother spent several years in a memory care facility at the end of her life, and I have seen how isolating that experience can be. Two students from Carle Illinois College of Medicine are leading an outreach effort to connect with patients experiencing this cognitive decline with programming that will hopefully help slow the effects.
They’ve gathered a group of students to spend time at Amber Glen Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbana. From the CI Med website:
Medical student volunteers organize and manage a variety of activities for Amber Glen residents, including coffee and chat time, playing games like bingo or finish-the-phrase, morning exercise, coloring/drawing, watching movies, dancing/listening to music, or reading to them.
While these activities don’t change the patients’ diagnoses, they provide a way of connecting for patients whose ability to communicate is severely compromised
Both student leaders have seen the effects of dementia up close, and were inspired to pursue this volunteer endeavor. Mihir Patil became interested after his time as a CNA at a nursing home. Shrey Patel has a grandmother with Alzheimer’s.
You can read more about the initiative at the CI Med website.