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The Memory Hub is a collaborative community center on Seattle’s First Hill for people with memory loss, their families, and all who support a dementia-friendly community.
Since the Grand Opening in March 2022, the Memory Hub space has come to life with the launch of a variety of programs offering resources, music, art, nature engagement, and joyful opportunities for connection and learning.
“It’s been so exciting to see the Memory Hub take off,” said Memory Hub Director Marigrace Becker. “With a team of amazing mission-aligned organizations under one roof, we’re discovering new ways to collaborate every day and are together becoming the vibrant community space we’d always envisioned!”
The Memory Hub brings together UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center (MBWC), the Frye Art Museum, the Alzheimer’s Association, Elderwise, and Full Life Care. Read on as our collaborators share updates and reflect on the growth at the Memory Hub.
MBWC’s Project ECHO Dementia builds an interdisciplinary educational resource for professionals and caregivers
The Memory Hub includes a permanent space dedicated to the Memory and Brain Wellness Center’s Project ECHO Dementia. ECHO Dementia is a learning model in which front-line care providers from around WA State meet in a web-based virtual conference room with an interdisciplinary panel of experts in memory loss and dementia.
“We are enormously grateful for the participants who continue to show up and engage in deep discussion around issues related to dementia detection, diagnosis, and support,’ says Allyson Schrier, program manager for ECHO Dementia. “It is not easy for frontline care providers to take the time to make this a priority. We are equally grateful to the amazing people who make up our Memory Hub team. The project’s success lies in large part to their continued dedication. And we are grateful for the amazing cast of speakers whose presentations raise the caliber of learning to such a high level.”
Over 55 recorded didactic lectures are available on the Project ECHO Dementia webpage. These lectures are a source of accessible information about the latest clinical knowledge about dementia, treatment, and available support and resources. Recent sessions include ‘Fall Prevention for People with Dementia’, ‘Assessing and Treating Pain in People Living with Dementia’, and ‘Diet: A Solution Focused Exploration about How to Help People Switch to Healthier Options.’ In 2022, a family care partner joined the ECHO Dementia Memory Hub team to lend a much needed and welcomed perspective to the discussions.
In 2022, ECHO Dementia leaders—Kristoffer Rhoads, PhD, UW neuropsychologist and associate professor of neurology and Nancy Isenberg, neurologist at Swedish Neuroscience Institute and UW clinical associate professor of neurology—co-led the Providence Alaska ECHO Dementia Clinic, a 10-session ECHO program in Alaska in conjunction with Mountain-Pacific Quality Health. Powered by the Providence Age Friendly Innovation $100,000 grant (awarded to Isenberg), this effort has led to continued community building in Alaska and potential for continued ECHO Dementia programming in Alaska in 2023 and beyond. In 2023, they will present about Project ECHO Dementia at the META ECHO conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The team aims to continue spreading their reach geographically to include healthcare providers from more rural and underserved populations.
MBWC launches Dementia Friends at the Memory Hub
Dementia Friends is a public awareness anti-stigma program that trains individuals on how to give an hour-long educational talk to their community about what is dementia and how to help their neighbors, friends, and family members with dementia.
In fall of 2022, the Memory and Brain Wellness Center launched Dementia Friends Washington at the Memory Hub, along with a website and social media. To date, Dementia Friends Washington has held two information sessions with 10 more planned.
“We are excited about the continued connections and opportunities to increase engagement and awareness about dementia through the Dementia Friends program in Washington State,” says Emily Meeks, program manager for Dementia Friends Washington. “As we share the model with more organizations, we are inspired by the interest and creativity that are taking off to help make communities more dementia friendly.”
Meeks works to partner with regional organizations to help them lead the roll out of Dementia Friends in their counties, expand awareness of the program, and be able to recruit and coordinate volunteers.
The Dementia Friends Washington team recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Southeast Aging and Long-Term Care, setting in motion the plan to expand Dementia Friends into eight new counties in Washington State—achieving their goal for 2023!
Free technology resources and demos for the memory loss community
A core resource of the Memory Hub, the Tech Lab features regular hands-on consumer technology demonstrations for people with memory loss and care partners, and trainings to learn how technology can promote social connection, emotional and physical wellness, and independent living.
“At the Tech Lab, we have had the privilege of working with on-site collaborators who share similar passion for improving the lives of people with dementia and their families, and also conducting intergenerational projects with UW graduate students to bolster cognitive and social engagement for people with dementia,” says Tech Lab leader Carolyn Parsey, neuropsychologist and UW assistant professor of neurology. “The Tech Lab continues to grow with on-site and virtual seminars, events, and our one-on-one consults, and we look forward to sharing more resources and connections with Memory Hub patrons and collaborators this year.”
On the Tech Lab’s docket for Spring 2023, Seattle Public Library will be joining Tech Lab for a February 21st presentation on technology resources through the library system (e.g., e-books, magazines, videos) alongside a demo of e-readers. On April 18th, the Tech Lab will hold a UW research spotlight on Technology for People with Dementia and their Care Partners, including presentations by UW Nursing and UW Social Work faculty. The event will include learning about current research projects and how to get involved in research opportunities in Technology and Aging. Registration information for these events will be available on the Memory Hub website and newsletter. Sign up for the Memory Hub newsletter
With the Alzheimer’s Café, the Frye brings music and arts engagement
Every second Tuesday afternoon, the Memory Hub fills with song and laughter. These sounds of people connecting are coming from the Alzheimer’s Café, a social and arts engagement program for people living with dementia and their care partners. Participants know it as an uplifting time of spirited art discussion, live music, and garden exploration.
“In 2016 the Frye launched the Alzheimer’s Café with UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center in the Frye galleries and café. Shifting the Alzheimer’s Café to the Memory Hub in August 2022 has brought an opportunity to rethink it,” says Mary Jane Knecht, manager of Creative Aging Programs at the Frye Art Museum. “We’re excited that the new location provides wider access to the art discussion component of the program by projecting images of works from the Frye Collection and special exhibitions onto a large screen. And the opportunity to add a stroll through Maude’s Garden, or weather-permitting, singing in the garden, has brought a new delight to participants’ experiences of the Alzheimer’s Café.”
Locating the Alzheimer’s Café in the Memory Hub space blends features of both organizations. “Offering the Alzheimer’s Café in-person at the Memory Hub brings depth to the experience of this program—a participant finds themselves next to great resources,” says Frye Creative Aging Coordinator Samantha Sanders. “They can visit the Memory Navigator, chat with a front desk volunteer, grab resources, or explore Maude’s Garden just outside.”
In 2022, the talents of Frye Creative Aging staff and volunteers brought joy and energy to the Alzheimer’s Café at the Memory Hub. Longtime Frye Gallery Guide Donna Dziak perfected her art of crafting the open-ended questions that guided the discussion of the renowned and intriguing artworks projected on a large screen in the Memory Hub Community Room. And the singalongs led by Frye Teaching Artist Carmen Ficarra and Memory Hub Director Marigrace Becker created a joyous and relaxed atmosphere, time after time.
Elderwise offers spirit-centered care with art and nature
The Elderwise Adult Day Program provides a structured program of arts, exercise, discussion and shared community for people with dementia, while providing respite for caregivers.
“It has been thrilling to offer our Elderwise Adult Day Program at the Memory Hub,” says Sandy Sabersky, director of Elderwise. The Elderwise philosophy of Spirit-Centered Care is in such great alignment with the deep respect for all persons that shines at the Memory Hub. In addition, to have such a beautiful activity room to use with its direct access to Maude’s Garden has been an incredible gift.”
The team has heard from participants and family members that they love coming to the Elderwise Adult Day Program. “I believe it has a lot to do with being an important part of a community,” says Sabersky, “and being nourished in body (exercise and food); mind (through artistic work, singing, taking in the world through the senses, discussion of important topics); and spirit (through quiet focus, reverence, helping one another).”
Several family members of participants report that they have noticed improvements in the mood and engagement of their loved ones. One person commented that his spouse seems “puffed up” when she emerges after the day.
Elderwise’s goals for 2023 include increasing diversity in the day program by working with social workers to provide two scholarship positions. They hope to offer more resources, especially a free online ‘Elderwise Philosophy in Your Home’ meet-up; launch their first educational module, an Overview of Spirit-Centered Care for Caregivers; and raise funds to create and market more online educational offerings.
Full Life Care creates caregiver training and respite opportunities
Full Life Care is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with chronic illness and disabilities and supporting caregivers. They offer a range of programs throughout the Puget Sound, from homecare to adult day health services. At the Memory Hub, Full Life Care provides a virtual caregiver education course that offers individualized coaching to help family members better support their loved ones.
The Memory Hub is also helping to create momentum around Full Life Care’s effort to provide an accessible caregiver respite program, funded by the Veterans, Seniors & Human Services Levy of King County. Led by Tegenu Negi, training and outreach specialist at Full Life Care, the Caregiver Respite program provides holistic respite services through a team model approach. Negi and his team train volunteers to support low-income seniors, veterans, and their caregivers. This volunteer care team makes home visits and works with both the caregiver and the person living with dementia, in any way help is needed. This program is offered at no cost and isn’t limited by functional need requirements that clients need to meet to qualify for long-term care.
The Full Life Care team reports that Caregiver Respite reached more people in 2022. They think of a caregiver who became socially isolated as she took on full-time caregiving duties during the pandemic. “But once we matched her with our volunteer care team, she had time to go back to her monthly social activity,” says Negi. “She trusted our team and got that much needed respite.”
“I’m grateful for the many relationships that we’ve gained in our work through the Memory Hub,” says Rena Ferretti, director of Community-Based Services at Full Life Care. Ferretti feels that the Memory Hub’s people and programming generate a “ripple effect” that reaches people living with dementia and their families, delivering resources and care in different and creative ways. Negi agrees, having seen how a recommendation to the Memory Hub by a Memory and Brain Wellness Center provider can lead to another person receiving help from the Caregiver Respite team.
Alzheimer’s Association expands reach of resources
“We at the Alzheimer’s Association are grateful to be part of the vibrant community space of the Memory Hub where people come for information, resources, and support, and to convene and connect,” says Erica Farrell, senior clinical manager at the Alzheimer’s Association, Washington State Chapter. “I’m hopeful that we can continue to raise awareness and expand our reach to more people in our communities who can benefit from our programs. It’s a hard thing to hear that “I wish I knew about this support sooner” and it happens more often than folks might guess.”
For the Alzheimer’s Association, this first year at the Memory Hub was all about implementing a new model for people to engage with their local Washington State Chapter’s staff and resources: the Memory Navigator program housed onsite at the Memory Hub.
“I really like how accessible it is for people to book an in-person appointment with Em Brulotte, our Memory Navigator,” says Farrell. “We’ve received glowing feedback from people who have visited for one-on-one or family appointments. People have let us know they are so appreciative for the information and resources shared and have felt very supported by Em’s warmth and care.”
Though this partnership, both organizations are better positioned to reach the communities they serve. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association and the UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center hosted the 2022 King County Community Forum: Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, and Memory Loss. This community-focused listening session featured informational presentations and invited people to share their thoughts about how the Alzheimer’s Association can help the community.
“I always think it’s important to hear what people in the community identify as barriers to receive resources and support,” says Em Brulotte, helpline coordinator/care consultant for the Alzheimer’s Association. “When we listen to what they feel is lacking, that can give us ideas for what our group here at the Memory Hub can do that might be beneficial for others in terms of support services.”
Maude’s Garden welcomes a second season of the Garden Discovery Program, assembles a volunteer crew
Maude’s Garden, Washington State’s first public memory garden, is now open to the public during Memory Hub open hours on Tues – Thurs from 9 am to 3pm. This spring, Maude’s Garden team and volunteers will work to maintain and develop this beautiful place for Memory Hub visitors and program participants, who enjoy exploring and being together in Maude’s Garden.
“The Memory Hub is now providing folks who love to be out in nature, along with their caregivers, with a permanent memory garden,” says Peach Jack, MA, HT, Maude’s Garden horticultural therapist and gardener. “A place for experiencing the changes in seasons, sparking memories, and providing a safe supportive social environment. I look forward to seeing the garden as it matures, interacting with the space in all seasons, and enjoying creative social activities with our community.”
The big news is the dazzling addition of large ceramic pots to hold eye-catching, entertaining plantings. This garden element is made possible by the help of Maude’s Garden Volunteer Dawn Robinson, who owns Sunrise Container Garden Design.
As 2023 begins, the Memory Hub’s Maude’s Garden looks forward to hosting a second round of the Garden Discovery program, a collaboration between Seattle Parks and Recreation and UW MBWC. This program has long been made possible by generous support from Family Resource Home Care. “Being out in nature is naturally therapeutic,” says Jack, “and with the addition of sensory programming, participants and visitors are invited to enjoy what’s in bloom while engaged in both structured and independent activities. Maude’s Garden is truly a healing space for all of us!”
Maude’s Garden Project Lead, Genevieve Wanucha, communications specialist for the UW MBWC, is excited to see participants and visitors delight at the perennial plants poking up through the soil, interact with fragrant herbs and spring blooming foliage, and play with the acoustic sculpture. “It’s thrilling that Maude’s Garden is providing a home-base for our Garden Discovery program, she says. “This garden—complete with a gorgeous, one-of-kind stone garden bed, benches, and a sign—is becoming the enchanting gathering place we dreamed it would be. I’m just really thankful to philanthropic donors, Richard and Maude Ferry, the Frye Art Museum, UW Medicine, Dr. Carl Westphal, and Stone Soup Gardens for making this dream come true at the Memory Hub—and for Peach Jack, Laura Rumpf, Dawn Robinson and our community members who will help to nurture and protect this special space.” •
(Current as of Jan. 31, 2023)
The Richard and Maude Ferry Foundation
Charlotte H. Merritt
Mr. Paul R. and Ms. Phyllis A. Seegers
The Frederick Foundation
M. Jean Fisher Revocable Trust
Dr. Carl Westphal
Angela J. Hanson, MD
Mr. Aaron J. Colwell and Ms. Gwen Colwell
Mr. Richard A. Ferry and Ms. Marylou J. Ferry
Mr. Gene Kim
Deborah Van Olst
Mr. Dann V. Angeloff
Mr. James L. Tully and Ms. Toni A. Tully
Ms. Nancy J. Olsen and Friends of Out and About
Ms. Elizabeth Kathryn Figel
Ms. Karen I. Millward
Mr. Steven Baldwin
Mrs. Susan E. Custer
Mr. William E. Finkbeiner and Ms. Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner
Ms. Mary Hunstad and Mr. Michael W. Hunstad
Kevin M. Kvarda
Visit the Memory Hub webpage!