Participants in the Memory Bridge Training Retreats from 2013 to 2017 had this to say about their experiences:
Joshua Crane, West Hatfield, Massachusetts
Sometimes I feel like my decision to work in an assisted living facility for people with dementia isolates me from a certain "normal" world that is going on without me. The retreat, however, allowed me to feel like I am right where I need to be, in terms of mattering as an important part of society.
Maegan Pollard, Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
My experience with the 2016 Memory Bridge Training Retreat was a completely unforgettable and life changing experience.My hope is that as I see more and more patients (currently I'm a medical school student) and find myself zeroing in on what it is that might be "wrong" with them, that I can bring to mind the faces of those I met at Memory Bridge who taught me that love is listening- and REALLY listen.
Greg Farrell, Brooklyn, New York
It deepened my resolve to continue and sustain my efforts to connect with my wife Cathy, to touch and be with her. I'm paying more attention to paying attention.
Emily Cousins, Nottingham, England
The sense of community and understanding that was built collectively during the week was overwhelming. A very real and genuine connection developed among the group in such a short space of time. It was incredible to see and feel the bond of trust that emerged due to the mutuality of sharing, the authenticity of contribution, and the tangible commitment of everyone to the space and the work.
Carol Krancic, Utica, Illinois
The application was a learning experience in itself because it challenged potential participants to dig deep in their philosophy base and share their thoughts. The receiving of the DVD, There Is a Bridge, was the highlight of the application process. I found the documentary to be absolutely true, deeply relevant, and incredibly beautiful.
Meghan Kenny, Ottawa, Ontario
The administration and organization of details were phenomenal.Jane was incredible in her organization and ability to address the needs of each individual who attended the retreat.
Beth Reinert, Mobile, Alabama
I enjoyed the entire process, from beginning to end. You've designed an excellent program that I hope will sweep across this country with positive effects.
Rev. Sue Ann Yarbrough, San Leandro, California
The look of joy on an elder's face as she or he believes they are finally in communication cannot be topped. Thank you so much.
Kathleen LeRoux, Toronto, Ontario
Michael's presentations were, for me, utterly inspiring and irreplaceable. The way he articulates his ideas and makes them accessible to others was a great gift for me. I enjoyed every one of his talks and I was always excited by the depth and vitality of his thinking and expression.
Magdalena Schamberger, Edinburgh, Scotland
The Memory Bridge experience was enhanced by the beauty and serenity of the location (The Tibetan Mongolian Cultural Center), presentations of and guidance by Michael Verde and the presence of like-minded people from across many different ages, backgrounds, and extensive and varied professional and personal experiences. Though the most important insights and learning came via the engagement with my Buddy, a lady living with dementia at Autumn Hills. She became my teacher, my mentor, my compass and my guiding light.
Natalie Sell, Queensland, Australia
I now have a renewed commitment to being with people with dementia and making sure that people with dementia have access to people who genuinely have open hearts and minds to see and hear them.
Angela Christie, Clinton, Connecticut
This once in a lifetime experience was beyond anything I could have imagined; I arrived with an open heart and mind, hoping to learn, to grow, and to expose myself to new opportunities and challenges. The treasure I left with was a bounty so rich I was both fulfilled and overwhelmed.
Nancy Dubuar, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
I often feel alone at work as I try to change the culture of the places where I work to recognize the humanness, the person who remains with the dis-ease of dementia. Having been at the Memory Bridge Retreat I now feel that I have hands and hearts holding me in my work. The experience has changed me as an OT [occupational therapist].
Rev. Mark Lodico, Burlingame, California
How has this learning lived in my daily work as a hospice chaplain? I noticed afterward that I was willing to spend more time with my patients with dementia and, more importantly, to enter into their time, "slowed down and attuned."
Jane Sherman, Asheville, North Carolina
I think Memory Bridge is a vitally important entity in our time - and Michael is a visionary leader who has already and will certainly continue to make a big difference in this work.
Brenda Gurung, Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Such a beautiful boot camp for the revolution to be with our elders on a journey with dementia!