NEW YORK (December 10, 2013) — As people across the country finalize their holiday wish lists, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) and Second Wind Dreams® (SWD) are teaming up to make the dreams of people with Alzheimer’s disease or related illnesses a reality. The AFA-SWD Sleeping Dreamer Project” kicks off December 10, with the fulfillment of dreams for three elders with dementia in Atlanta, Las Vegas and New York (Brooklyn).
The care-focused nonprofit organizations will award a minimum of two dreams per month for the next year to individuals with dementia, under a grant provided by AFA. The dreams allow a person to relive a fond experience or satisfy a long-time desire expressed to family or professional caregivers.
When his dream takes place on December 10, Las Vegas resident Jim Manchester, 91, hopes to reel in “the big one” during an outing on Lake Mead. An avid fisherman in his younger days, Manchester, is in declining cognitive and physical health, and hasn’t gone fishing in more than 20 years. With the help of the local Bass Pro Shops, Happy and some family members will go on an all-expense paid fishing trip with the bass Pro Shops Pro to recapture the joy of “fishing for his supper!”
Meanwhile, in New York, Ola Hightower, 76, will also take to the water. She always fantasized about learning how to swim—an activity that passed her by, she said, simply, because “I didn’t live near water.” As her daughter looks on, Hightower will take her very first swimming lesson at the Prospect Park YMCA in Brooklyn, N.Y.
And in Atlanta, Darwin Strickland, a former jazz drummer and U.S. postal worker, will realize his desire to once again bang out some tunes on the club circuit. AFA and SWD have arranged for the 75-year-old Strickland to perform at the iconic music venue, Blind Willie’s Bar and Restaurant in Atlanta, along with a local teen jazz band, and a bag of “musical goodies supplied by the Atlanta Symphony.
Since its founding 16 years ago, SWD has brought some 16,000 dreams to life for elders. The collaboration with AFA brings the program to another level, enabling the fulfillment of even more dreams and focusing specifically on people with dementia; SWD fondly calls them “sleeping dreamers.”
“Humanizing the treatment of people with dementia shows faith in the human spirit, that no matter how severe the decline, there is hope always,” said P.K. Beville, SWD’s founder and an award-winning geriatric specialist. “In demonstrations where people with dementia experience a recreated favorite memory, the seemingly confused and withdrawn person ‘wakes up’ as the dream unfolds, often actively engaging family and professional caregivers.”
Carol Steinberg, AFA’s president, said the initiative aligns with AFA’s mission to improve quality of life for people with dementia and their families. “Granting these wishes, even ones that may seem simple, empowers recipients to live in the moment, and experience much-deserved joy and dignity,” she said. “It’s never too late.”
Currently, more than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the incidence is expected to triple by mid-century. The disease results in loss of memory and other cognitive functions, and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Under the AFA-SWD Sleeping Dreamers Project, organizations that are members of both AFA and SWD, such as Alzheimer’s agencies, senior centers and elder care communities, can apply to fulfill dreams for their any of their residents. Visit http://www.secondwind.org/partners/afa-sleepingdreamer for more information.
About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free hot line staffed by licensed social workers, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter (@alzfdn), and “like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/AlzheimersFoundationofAmerica).
About Second Wind Dreams
Second Wind Dreams is an international, nonprofit organization committed to changing the perception of aging through the fulfillment of dreams and educational programs that help caregivers understand the physical and mental challenges facing those with Dementia. Founded in 1997, SWD is recognized as the first in the nation to focus on enhancing the quality of life for elders and changing society’s perception of seniors by making dreams come true. Affiliated with more than 500 elder care communities across the country, Second Wind Dreams® has made thousands of dreams come true for seniors. For more information about Second Wind Dreams®, call (678-624-0500) or visit www.secondwind.org, follow us on Twitter (@SecondWindDream), and “like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/SecondWindDreams).
Jan Still-Lindeman for Second Wind Dreams
678-656-6252 (cell) - email@example.com
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