Dear PMC Care Partners,
Do you remember the day you and your loved one learned about a dementia diagnosis? Whether the diagnosis the doctor delivered was mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, or another cognitive impairment, it’s always described as a scary moment for both the patient and the care partner.
As executive director of the Penn Memory Center (PMC), I have a background in social work that helped me develop, deliver and grow the robust support system we have been providing to families in our care since 2008. From counseling and coaching to classes for caregivers, support groups, memory cafes, Time Together, and the many other ways we support families living with dementia, our goal is to bridge the gaps in dementia care and help families cope with changes, navigate the complexities of managing these progressive illnesses, and tend to their social and emotional wellbeing.
I’m proud to announce that we are launching a new caregiver support program called The Caring Collective. The Caring Collective is a peer mentorship program designed to support new caregivers, early in their caregiving journey. Seasoned or former caregivers are trained as mentors to provide support to new caregivers. The preliminary data from the pilot showed that both the mentees and the mentors found participating in The Caring Collective to be worthwhile and rewarding.
“Being a mentor in the Caring Collective has reframed my experience as a caregiver, making all that I learned over the years of caring more meaningful, because that knowledge has found usefulness and purpose again by helping another person navigate that difficult path. I feel less empty.” — Caring Collective Participant
“Being a mentor is collaborative; a reflection of your caregiving journey, while understanding another’s journey. To provide reassurance that they are not alone and this is a safe space to share their personal concerns. It was satisfying to know that my experiences could be helpful and instill confidence that the new caregiver can get through the challenges and still have a quality of life for themselves and their loved one.” — Caring Collective Participant
We are currently enrolling mentors into our training and matching program, and I hope you will consider partnering with us in this way. We are facilitating a presentation about the mentorship opportunities through the Caring Collective on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom. The presentation will include a panel with two mentors who completed the training and the six-week pilot who will share their experiences and answer your questions about their experience. Please note that we are not currently enrolling mentees at this time. If you are a new caregiver interested in participating as a mentee, please stay tuned for future information.
If you are interested in attending the presentation on May 31, please complete the registration for the Zoom below:
If you have any questions about becoming a mentor, please reach out to Meg Kalafsky at firstname.lastname@example.org or 267-624-4282.
PMC Executive Director