By Rachel Scher McLean / Posted on March 11th, 2013
Maria Shriver is a national voice for Alzheimer’s Disease. Through her blog, she is able to reach people around the world to give this disease a human face. Recently a blog about The Green House model, shared how the small environment and deep-knowing relationships, helped to create a meaningful life for one family:
For the last six months, from the day [Joan] moved in [to White Oaks Cottages] on July 4th, Joan has gotten a letter from her kids. Each letter starts out, “Please print and three whole punch for Joan Hogan” followed by “Today is…”
The letters were signed at the end but Joan kept asking, “but who is writing these?” so a third line was added, “This letter is from your daughter, Kathleen.”
Then, in three to four paragraphs, Kathy and her siblings would write what was going on with the family. “We realized we could have sent her the same letter every day, but because we shared it with our extended family, we enjoyed keeping it up to date.”
Joan holds each day’s letter in her hand all day; the news fresh every time she reads it. She shares it with her friends and even reads the letter to Kathy when she calls. It gives them something to talk about.
“What she’s saying is accurate and interesting, it removes some of the frustration.” Kathy jokes, “I wouldn’t need to speak to siblings for a week because she would fill me in on everything!”
For five to six months, Joan was able to put the letters in order in the binder. She can no longer do that, so a bit of organization and assistance is required when they visit.
Kathy says having her mother at a Green House home has been a great change and a big relief.
Green House homes around the country provide a sense of peace to family members, that their loved ones are being treated with value and as an individual regardless of their cognitive or physical abilities. To read the entire blog and more on Maria Shriver’s site, click here