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March 8, 2024

HERstory: Honoring the Journey of Individuals Living with Dementia

Category: Memory Care

Author: Ashleigh Koenig, Memory Care Director

Women’s History Month

HERstory serves as a tribute to the unique journey, experiences, and contributions of an individual living with dementia. Each HERstory carries a rich past of memories, relationships, and accomplishments that define their identity. As dementia progresses, memories begin to fade. Preserving and sharing these narratives become invaluable in honoring the person affected and maintaining their dignity. At Vitalia North Olmsted, we believe in acknowledging and celebrating each individual’s life story. Through this approach, we affirm the inherent worth and complexity of those living with dementia. It allows us to transcend the limitations imposed by their condition.

Through storytelling, we bridge the gap between the past and the present. This fosters meaningful interactions and cultivates a sense of belonging for individuals living with dementia. By embracing their narratives with empathy and compassion, we counteract stigma, dispel misconceptions, and promote a culture of inclusivity and respect for individuals affected by dementia.

Below is a HERstory about one of the residents living in our Memory Care Neighborhood.

Carol C. was born in April 1941. Her 82+ years have been on an incredible adventure. Attending a private girl’s school in Cleveland, she excelled in her studies, skipping high school grades to graduate early.   She met her husband, Don, at a dance in Cleveland. They were married for over 50 years and had two daughters.

Carol had many professions, including being a secretary skilled in shorthand, a florist in a greenhouse, a banker, and a paper supply company buyer. She always wanted to attend college, so she attended night school and graduated with her BA in 1981 from Lake Erie College.

A lovely couple, Carol and Don, in their wedding attire, smiling and posing for a photo on their special day.

In her free time, Carol was a Girl Scout leader, a Sunday school teacher, a lector at mass, and a Eucharistic minister. Carol decided she wanted to make some extra money, so she went to cake decorating school on top of working full-time and all her other commitments. Her creations were in demand throughout the neighborhood for birthdays, graduations, and weddings. People still talk about how delicious and beautiful her decorated cakes were. She has always been a gifted artist and continues to love to do crafts and anything creative.

This is a current photo of Carol in her glasses with a black stripped top standing in a garden.

Once retired, travel became a priority for her and Don. They traveled throughout the United States from Maine to Alaska, South America, and Canada. Carol frequently recalls fond memories from her past adventures.

Sharing the life story of someone living with dementia is not just an act of preserving memories; it’s an embodiment of compassion, understanding, and respect. By embracing their past, we honor their journey and provide valuable insights into who they are beyond the constraints of their condition through HERstory.

VITALIA® North Olmsted in North Olmsted, OH offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near St. John West Shore with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Crusher’s Stadium, Crocker Park, North Olmsted Senior Center, North Olmsted Library, Bradley Woods Park (Cleveland Metro Parks), and Cleveland Zoo.

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