“What’s Your Story?” – Lauryn’s Story

“What’s Your Story?” – Lauryn’s Story

In the realm of elder care and dementia support, personal testimonies hold a particular weight. 

Lauryn, an Engagement Center for Creative Aging field study student, spent her early years witnessing a loved one journey through dementia. Her great-grandmother’s battle with the disease marked a turning point, guiding Lauryn to a path of compassion and commitment toward transforming elder care. Lauryn’s story will ignite the hearts of those who, like her, seek to champion support for individuals with dementia through the Engagement Center for Creative Aging (ECCA).

A Pivotal Beginning: Mimi’s Journey and the Catalyst for Change

“When I was really little, my great-grandma Mimi was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. She was very close with my mom, and my mom ended up living with her for a significant period. So, even though she was my great-grandma, she felt more like my grandma because of how much time we spent together,” Lauryn reflects. “She would take me out to tea, make arts and crafts with me, and we would always do little activities together. Then, when she was diagnosed, our relationship changed rapidly. She didn’t always remember who I was, but she did remember that she loved me.”

Although she could see the love her Mimi still had for her, watching her struggle with memory loss and cognitive decline was a large struggle for eight-year-old Lauryn. She confides, “I didn’t understand what was going on, but I did know that seeing her in that state was difficult, and seeing the impact her state had on my mom made it even more difficult to visit the nursing home.”

An Unexpected Return: Reconciliation and a Renewed Commitment

“For a long time after she passed, I stayed away from work with older adults because it brought up hard memories of what I experienced with my Mimi,” Lauryn recounts. “It wasn’t until I was presented with the opportunity to do fieldwork at the Engagement Center for Creative Aging that I realized that I was so young when everything happened with my Mimi, and I had stayed away for long enough.”

With an unwavering focus on her pursuit to become an Occupational Therapist, she returned to the field with an understanding of the importance of intergenerational socialization and care. The field study at ECCA became an outlet for her to rekindle her love of caring for older adults in a program that approaches dementia care in a way that is centered around discovering joy in the presence of dementia.

“It was the first time I’d ever seen a day program where participants were able to live at home with their loved ones and come in every day to engage in activities they were actually interested in,” she enthuses. “Not only was the program different, but so were the participants. I truly fell in love with each new participant I met. Every relationship I built became more than just going to work and seeing them there; they became some of the most important people in my life.”

The Heart of the Mission: Extending Compassion and Care through ECCA

The essence of Lauryn’s story stems from her firm belief in the impact of ECCA’s programs on the lives of its participants. She amplifies the profound role that ECCA plays in fostering a sense of well-being, not just for individuals with dementia but for their caregivers. Her experiences at ECCA underscore a model of care that transcends the norm, focusing on holistic enrichment and inclusive community building.

“Programs like ECCA’s deserve to grow and become bigger. My hope is that access and awareness of programs like ours will increase,” Lauryn affirms. “However, we can’t do this without support. Supporting ECCA allows us to instate added socialization opportunities for participants, empower caregivers to maintain their independence, and provide program scholarships to ensure that excellence in care is accessible to more individuals.”

She concludes, “Just imagine how many more lives we could touch by investing in and growing this amazing program.”

2024-02-20T00:08:28+00:00 February 20, 2024|ADS News|