One of the two main highlights of the A Commitment to Memory capital campaign for the Northwest Garden Building was to build a designated investment fund, where $2 million (of the $3 million campaign) would be invested, generating $100,000 of income annually (roughly 5 percent) to support our plans for Inspirational Programming and Educational Leadership. The Educational Leadership portion of this programming accounts for nearly $40,000 annually. It includes staff training, family support and one-on-one counseling, an annual lecture series, and community education, further explained below.

The staff training model uses the Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC), which has become a common phrase at Plymouth Harbor. Developed by Teepa Snow, PAC is the model of care that we have adopted for caring for persons with dementia. Since 2015, we have been training all levels of our staff on the various techniques offered related to PAC. These techniques include training for hands-on professional caregivers, staff who offer support services for residents with dementia, and family members. PAC teaches us how to recognize behaviors common in those with dementia, what kinds of behaviors to expect as the disease progresses, and how we can best interact and care for persons who are affected. Our care staff for the new program have undergone two weeks of in-depth PAC training, and are well-prepared to make quality of life the best it can be for our new residents in the Starr Memory Care Residence. In addition, PAC training updates and enhancements are an ongoing item in our mandatory all-staff meetings.

Support groups for our family members who are experiencing dementia with a loved one continue. We are planning even more one-on-one family support for those who wish to have additional counseling and learn some of the same techniques that our staff learn in providing care. These services will be offered after the Starr Memory Care Residence opens and residents are fully moved in.

Our annually offered lectures, named the Doyle Trust Lecture and supported by the Bernard and Mildred Doyle Charitable Trust, will bring experts from around the world to Plymouth Harbor to share their research and treatment breakthroughs on dementia. We are currently in the process of identifying our first Doyle Trust Lecture, to be offered in 2018. It is our plan for this lecture series to help bring us all hope that progress is being made throughout the world on the diseases that result in dementia.

Finally, we will eventually offer education to the community, beyond the walls of Plymouth Harbor, to help demystify and normalize behaviors associated with dementia-related diseases. It is our plan to offer different forms of education to civic groups, service organizations, faith-based organizations, and other community-run programs on some of the PAC techniques. We hope that by offering this training to the community, persons affected by diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease will continue to have social connections and family ties that will enhance their lives. Knowing about the disease and how it manifests itself is vital in understanding how we can continue to be close to those affected.

We encourage you to stay tuned for more information on our Educational Leadership programs as we open the Starr Memory Care Residence and begin to expand these offerings at Plymouth Harbor and beyond. With the expertise of our staff and the support of our community, the future will be brighter for those affected by dementia. You are not in this alone. We are here to help.