The Alzheimer’s Association Community Partner of the Year award recognizes an individual, corporation, foundation, government agency or other nonprofit organization that provides exemplary support for the work of the Alzheimer’s Association. This year’s Community Partner of the Year was awarded to Momentia.
Momentia is a grassroots movement empowering persons with memory loss and their loved ones to remain connected and active in the community. The network of individuals and organizations making up Momentia have played a vital role in creating dementia-friendly opportunities in and around the Seattle area. The Alzheimer’s Association Washington State Chapter thanks them for all they do to build community and networks of support for people impacted by dementia.
Momentia was formed in 2013 when a number of local organizations in Seattle explored new ways to support people living with dementia and their care partners. “We were inspired by John Zeisel’s presentation about social and creative engagement at the Alzheimer’s Association Discovery Conference that year,” states Marigrace Becker, Program Manager for Community Education and Impact with the UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center. “It affirmed the approach that many of us were taking – from the here:now gallery discussion and art-making classes at the Frye Art Museum to the Memory Loss Zoo Walk with the Alzheimer’s Association – and encouraged us to work more closely together.”
The goal of Momentia was and continues to be “to transform what it means to live with dementia in the community — changing the story from one of despair to one of hope,” said Melinda Franklin, a lead volunteer with Momentia and longtime Alzheimer’s Association volunteer.
Momentia normally offers a variety of events for people living with memory loss and their care partners: memory cafés, community choruses, art exhibits that display paintings by people with dementia, ballroom dance classes, art walks, Zumba, yoga, garden walks, art gallery discussions, drum circles, movie experiences, exercise classes, community meet-ups and improvisation classes — just to name a few. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented these programs from being held in person, Momentia has found ways to keep people connected during this time with a number of virtual activities as well.
These programs are created and sponsored by various organizations in the Puget Sound area that participate in Momentia. Some of the participants include: the Greenwood Senior Center, UW Medicine Memory & Brain Wellness Center, The Frye Art Museum, The Art of Alzheimer’s, Arthur Murray Dance Studio, Edmonds Center for the Arts, North Bellevue Community Center, Elderwise, Full Life Care, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Southeast Seattle Senior Center, Taproot Theatre and the Alzheimer’s Association.
“The collaborative nature of Momentia is part of what makes it so special,” states Marigrace. “Everyone can play a role in building a more dementia-friendly community – from people with dementia and care partners, to libraries, museums, theaters, cultural associations, senior centers, parks, faith congregations and more!”
“The programs help overcome social isolation and nurture meaningful relationships,” explains Melinda, “It’s wonderful to watch people arrive with smiles on their faces, and to see them wave at others who are participating. The programs offer opportunities for people with dementia to enjoy themselves and live in the moment.” To learn more about Momentia and how you can get involved, visit their website.