“What’s Your Story?” – Ila’s Story Introducing ECCA’s Giving Day Theme

Every person has a tale to tell, a rich narrative woven from the threads of experiences, relationships, and moments that define who they are. At the heart of our upcoming Giving Day, we’ve chosen the profound and universally relatable theme: “What’s Your Story.” This theme reflects our belief that everyone’s story, particularly those involving older adults, caregivers, and those experiencing Alzheimer’s or dementia, is important.

Our theme’s origin story is as unexpected as it is meaningful. It emerged from our Ila’s (ECCA Director) weekend dining experience at Famous Anthony’s in Salem. Her waitress wore a shirt with the prompt “What’s Your Story?” across the back, which struck a chord. This theme resonates deeply with our philosophy of person-centered care—this year we want to use storytelling to share our individual and collective “why” we do this work or why we are involved with ECCA. This theme aligns seamlessly with our project in developing a campaign that underscores how storytelling can be used to not only foster community but also to show how meaningful the work we do at ECCA is.

Our work goes beyond a mere job; it’s fueled by purpose, compassion, and dedication to the individuals we serve. Hearing others’ narratives of resilience and kindness reaffirms the unique and valuable nature of the work we do—it’s not just about being “a special kind of person,” but about the meaningful connections and the stories we share and create each day.

In line with this powerful theme, we share with you Ila’s story,

Ila’s Story — A Story of Bonds and Biscuits

A Connection Forged in the Kitchen

Imagine a matriarch named Ila, the cornerstone of a prodigious family, leaving her mark through something as humble yet divine as homemade biscuits.

“I’ve always loved my name. I was named after my great-grandmother, Ila Amos. As a child, I would peek into the pantry and watch great-grandma Ila in her element, crafting biscuits for the family – a memory etched deep within my heart. Because we shared a name, I felt a special connection to her. Great-Grandma Ila was not only a great-grandmother but an emblem of family, leadership, and connection. She inspired me to embody some of the qualities I admired in her. It is because of her that I desired a large family. I want to continue a legacy of uniting loved ones around tables filled with food and conversation.”

A Path Unveiled

Though initially aspiring to work with children, fate steered our Director, Ila Schepisi, towards serving in a nursing home. Thereupon, she discovered she was better suited to serve older adults. The need for compassion and dignity in senior care was clear, sparking in her a mission to bring joy and connection to every individual’s day.

After gaining experience and becoming disheartened by the shortcomings of long-term care, her journey led her to Adult Day Services at Virginia Tech. The atmosphere there was different: one where seniors smiled freely and stayed actively engaged. She knew this was where she belonged.

Reflections on Personal Loss and Purpose

Two decades later, the narrative circles back to caregiving as she shares the sorrow and insight from her grandmother’s (Nancy) battle with dementia. Witnessing a loved one navigate the challenges of dementia has not only provided her with a deeper understanding but also fueled a stronger commitment to creating a supportive, joyful, and relational environment for those affected.

This is the crux of her story. Despite the shadows cast by dementia, the potential for joy remains intact. She aims to spread the message that even amid the hardships of dementia, a life of connectivity and joy is possible.

Your Story Matters — Become a Beacon of Hope

In sharing Ila’s narrative, we want to kindle a flame within you. If Ila’s story resonates, if you have been touched by the dedication of a caregiver, or if you dream of a world where every individual affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia can live joyously, we invite you to participate in Giving Day.

Tell your story. Whether you reminisce about a loved one, share your journey as a caregiver, or express your support for dementia awareness, your narrative has the power to enlighten, to inspire change, and to bring comfort to countless others.

Consider contributing your voice and any support possible to an organization that cherishes and nurtures the invaluable stories of people just like you. Help us continue our mission to provide care, respect, and joy to those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

As we anticipate Giving Day, we eagerly await your contribution, be it through sharing your story or supporting our cause. Remember, every story holds the promise of hope, every donation pledges care, and together, we can forge a future that honors every chapter of life, especially those tinged by the trials of memory care.

Let’s celebrate the Engagement Center for Creative Aging, let’s honor your journey, and let’s shape an enduring legacy that transcends the shadows of dementia.

2024-02-14T23:14:32+00:00 February 14, 2024|ADS News|