Participants in our 3-day “I Am a Bridge” training learn from people with dementia how to be present with each other in emotionally profound ways.

The “I Am a Bridge” training teaches the three skills of presence that transform ordinary listening into transformational attention- the kind of relating to others that opens us both to new depths of possibility and meaningfulness. These skills are not “tools in a toolbox” nor techniques for managing behaviors. Skills of presence are movements of heart, mind, and consciousness. They are a way of being with others that risks vulnerability by letting go of our certainties, expectations, and the need to be in control. And we learn these skills from each other, in relationship. Many participants describe the experience as life-changing.

Most recently, Memory Bridge received LeadingAge Florida’s 2017 award for the Innovative Program of the Year out of 200 statewide programs.

The impact of the “I Am a Bridge” learning journeys is evident in the lives of those living in Water’s Edge, the first community in America to incorporate Memory Bridge into the center of its care ethos and practices, who have companions, Memory Bridge graduates, with whom they share their lives.

 

The impact is evident too in the now scores of people living on the Treasure Coast of Florida, Cupertino, California, and Melville, Australia who are companions, with and without dementia.

Memory Bridge graduates become bridges of human affection to people who are emotionally isolated.

In addition to this living evidence, Memory Bridge has been the subject of several studies, the most recent being conducted over two years and involving 27 participants.

From a participant…

Dear Michael,

This training has been the greatest experience ever in my life. I learned a lot that I can apply to my own life. During these days of training I learned to listen and that silence is very important.

 

Also this taught me to live everyday like it’s my last and to appreciate the small things in life no matter what. Through these past days I felt more loved than ever. I felt wanted, and that I finally realize who I am and who I want to be.

 

I love my Buddy, Bob. He was the best. At first it was not really communication, but he would smile at me and it would make me feel so good and happy inside. The second visit we sat outside and talked and he told me he remembered me. That made me feel so good and that body language is important and love is important.

 

So now that I had this training I feel like a new person, and I feel I can do anything, no matter what.

 

My life has been hard, but this experience made me realize that I am not the only one going through something. Others are too. And I want to attend to their need so they won’t feel the pain I felt. I met a lot of new people, and it was a great experience meeting them. I learned that there is nothing wrong with being odd and different. Deep down we are all the same.

 

So I want to thank you for this experience. I would not have gotten this language anywhere else.

 

~Briana Davis

Interested in a Memory Bridge Training?

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