Page 18 - Scene Magazine November 2023 47-11
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Miles for Memories
  Miles for Memories volunteers have been working diligently for more than ten years to create solutions for those impact- ed by dementia. Programs range from movement and prevention to education and research, as well as lifestyle programs and safe return programs that seek to cre- ate peace of mind for everyone. Each year, we seek to create new programs that will benefit the whole family as well as contin- ue to fund local research to help focus on what we can do to reduce risk.
Each year as part of our fundraising efforts we contribute 20% of our dollars raised to a nearby research project. The dollars contributed to Michigan State Uni- versity’s prevention-related and early-stage research have led to Miles for Memories being credited in several national and international journals.
Several lifestyle programs are in various stages of development. The Vineyard of Memories art program provides an oppor- tunity for the person living with dementia and their caregiver, as well as community members to come together to experience the impact of touching the creative part
of the brain. Events are scheduled at area facilities and businesses. Those living with dementia participate at no charge. Care- givers are also invited to participate for a small fee. The full program takes 1-2 hours depending on art activities chosen.
The Melodious Memories music pro- gram is designed to be used in the home with existing technology. The program helps to support the caregiver by connect- ing to the person living with dementia through music, and in turn offers brief pe- riods of joy and respite for family. The pilot programs have had otherwise withdrawn individuals living with dementia singing to tunes. We will introduce to the public in 2024. Please reach out if you would like to be a part of our final phase.
We are currently developing multigen- erational programs with hands on learning as part of the Great Minds Pedagogy pro- gram. We will bring Miles, our room-sized inflatable brain to your event to help teach about conditions impacting the brain. Electricity is needed.
The Y.E.S. (Youth Educational Series)
targets students of all ages: Baby Grands for preschoolers; Learning with the Jones puppets series and coloring book for elementary aged students; the Pen Pal program for middle school students, Sweet Readers for high school students, and Elder Educators for pre-med students and mature adults.
A magical surprise of the puppet series has been the adult learning that is occur- ring as well. The video series is written at
The community can learn regularly by accessing the Miles for Memories Michi- gan YouTube channel. There, viewers can learn from our Creating Dementia Solu- tions podcast, research updates, T.E.C.H. trainings, Learning with the Jones videos, and more.
Those wanting to learn more about de- mentia can visit our website at www.miles- and download the Brief Guide for Understanding Dementia. This booklet also provides information about testing, solutions, and additional resources. We strongly recommend that individuals seek out a diagnosis when symptoms appear. It cannot be understated that there are many reasons why dementia-like symp- toms might be evident. As a result, health care providers will work to rule them out before a final diagnosis. Ultimately, this
means it is unlikely a positive diagnosis is made at a first visit.
While at the website visitors can learn about programs; discover fundraising events; find ways to volunteer and donate; and learn about safe return programs as well as order products.
The T.E.C.H. (To Ensure they Come Home) program includes a collection
of resources that are intended to create peace of mind for the caregiver as well as ensure the quick, safe return of a loved one. Options includes the Help Home data base; the Senior I.D. program for caregiv- ers; the Personal I.D. bracelet and Nugget program; a G.P.S. watch with personal I.D.; the Caregiver Connection key chain; and the MileTile for outings.
The T.E.C.H. program has resulted in returning hundreds of individuals back home safely without a trip on an ambu- lance or an unnecessary stay with tests
in the hospital. These programs were designed for Calhoun County but because
   an elementary aged level with a support- ing coloring book but it has touched care- givers in such a way as to help them know how to communicate with grand children in a new way. The video series includes learning about dementia, responding the name-caller, and the value of pets.
Educational programs include Mind Aerobics focused on prevention; Demen- tia Capable Care specialist certification focused on the professional caregiver; Dealing with Dementia primarily focused on the family caregiver; Dementia Friends focused on the community at large; and more. Dementia trainings have also been created to meet the needs of area law enforcement and emergency responders.
Miles for Memories volunteers will gladly bring a learning program to you. Programs will be tailored to your needs and are available in person or through
an online experience. Presentations have been developed for local agencies as well as national conferences.

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