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.

Memory Bridge Friends of dementia

Regularly described by graduates of the experience as life changing, Memory Bridge’s “I Am a Bridge” training facilitates transformations in the understanding and practice of person-centered care. The training is designed to improve participants’ ability to attune to the emotions of a person with dementia and to establish with him or her a relationship of profound trust and mutual understanding, as both are foundational to all forms of person-centered care. In facilitated interactions with the other participants and with persons living with dementia, skills of attention and attunement are practiced continually throughout the training. And there are no teachers more qualified to teach carers the skills of person-centered care than actual, always unique persons with dementia. Hence, the unique design of the course and method of its facilitation.

 

In addition to the extensive hands-on learning, participants explore the unexamined cultural assumptions about people with dementia, as these assumptions predefine expectations that all-too-often become self-fulfilling: what we notice is what we have been conditioned to see. Combining encounter, reflection, and skill building in a multiple award-winning programme honed over 14 years of bridging more than 8,000 people with and without dementia on four continents, the “I Am a Bridge” training educates and encourages a new way of being with people with dementia—a way that can turn awkward to flow, isolation to intimacy, and loneliness to companionship.

 

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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