Memory Bridge’s work bridging students and elders with dementia brought us into sustained contact with thousands of people living with dementia in many ethnic, social and economic demographics, residing in both public supported and private pay residential communities. We soon realized that the most common denominator of people with dementia, irrespective of their cultural and economic background, was emotional isolation. We also learned that young people delighted in befriending people with dementia. The relationships offered the teens an opportunity to shed their everyday school personae and find a new sense of purpose in caring for those who are vulnerable.
Both lessons—the isolation of elders and the enthusiasm of young people—decisively influenced Memory Bridge’s growth. An urgent human need had been disclosed. We would invite, educate, and enable a kind of communication that is intrinsically healing and for which there is no medicinal or technological shortcut.
Barn’s burnt down— Now I can see the moon.
“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two, my life flows.”
“We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.”
“I think something happens to us when we give. There’s a better self in us that comes to the surface, gasping for air, glad to be let out.”
“All real living is meeting.”
“To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.”