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March 8, 2024

HERstory: Honoring the Journey of Individuals Living with Dementia

Category: Memory Care

Author: Maria Sady, 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 Strongsville, 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.

Kathleen W. was born in 1936 in Cedar Rapids, IA. She graduated from Benton Harbor High School in Michigan before attending the University of Nebraska, receiving a degree in Business Management. While in college, Kathleen was a majorette.

A woman named Kathleen, wearing a dance or band uniform, is sitting for a photo.

She married her college sweetheart, Jerry. The couple had two children, a daughter and a son, and lived in Des Moise, IA, where she worked as an Insurance Adjuster. They moved to Quad City, IL. Where she worked for Royal Neighbors of America Insurance as Director of Marketing. Upon retirement, Kathleen became Chairman of the Board for Royal Neighbors.

Kathleen worked and assisted with fundraising for various charities, such as The Alzheimer’s Association, Heart Association, and Cancer Society. Later in life, she became involved with a neighborhood church and assisted in raising money through bazaars. Kathleen also volunteered as a Boy Scout leader and a Sunday school teacher.

Her favorite hobbies were gardening and flower arranging. She had a meticulous eye for decorating and loved decorating for the holidays. She took pride in decorating all the trees during the Christmas holiday, known as the “Festival of Trees.”

A seated older woman named Kathleen, wearing glasses and looking relaxed.

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® Strongsville in Strongsville, 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 Southwest General Hospital with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Mallard Creek, Southpark Mall, Strongsville Historical Society, The Greens of Strongsville Shopping , and Don’s Pomeroy House.

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