By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.
Ellen Belk of Keep In Mind™ talked with me last week about a magazine that she has launched for those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia and their caregivers.
I know Ellen from the days we worked together at the Alexian Village of Milwaukee continuing care retirement community.
A Wisconsin native, Ellen played for the Marquette University (MU) women’s basketball team while earning a degree in broadcast journalism.
She was living in New York and enjoying a successful broadcasting career when 9/11 happened. They cancelled the show and “within a six month period, I went from covering the NBA courtside in Madison Square Garden to leading a music program in a nursing home in Wisconsin,” she said.
Since then, she has been working in senior living and focusing on the memory impaired and their caregivers. She has developed a Mature Musicians Concert Band and a Fine Arts Appreciation Program. She is a monthly contributor to the Alzheimer’s Reading Room and writes a Blog called “They Don’t Remember” where she tells heartwarming stories from her vantage point as a professional caregiver. We hope to be posting her work on the BMA Blog in the future.
She and her husband, Dan, started Keep In Mind as a small family-owned business that is dedicated to developing innovative products for the memory impaired while supporting their caregivers through resources and coaching.
The memory care magazine that she has started publishing is based on her years of work with and her observations of those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. She noticed, in particular, how they connect with pictures.
Memory Magz™ features full page pictures free of word-clutter and advertisements. No stock photography is used. It is printed on a heavy weight paper stock, and both the cover and inside pages have a coating that protects them from most spills.
A person with cognitive impairment can use Memory Magz™ sitting alone by themselves, Ellen said. The 8½” by 11” format makes it small enough for a person with Alzheimer’s to hold. “I have had people flip through it for five to ten minutes to over an hour.”
At the same time, Memory Magz™ is large enough for caregivers to use in small group discussion. It also can be used by family members to sit and reminisce with a loved one.
A printable conversation starter can be downloaded from the Keep In Mind™ website.
She also sees Memory Magz™ being used in doctor’s office and hospital waiting rooms; in adult day care and senior centers; by home health care and Hospice providers; and by first responders when they are transporting a person with Alzheimer’s to the hospital.
To date, Ellen has published two issues of Memory Magz. Happy Faces features vibrant pictures of babies and toddlers in precious poses and Outdoor Beauty pictures of landscaping, plants and outdoor scenes.
keepinmindinc.com · twitter.com/keepinmindinc · Facebook.com/keepinmindinc
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