Founders Place, a ministry of Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, is an organization that seeks to end the isolation of dementia with an enlivening, joyful respite program (2 half days per week), a weekly caregiver support group, and community education events.
Last week, Kirkwood representatives joined in conversation with local caregivers at a Lunch and Learn presented by Founders Place and Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama entitled “Compassionate Communication.” During this event, we were led in exercises by Dr. Renee Brown Harmon on how to best connect with someone living with dementia. Dr. Harmon is the author of Surfing the Waves of Alzheimer’s: Principles of Caregiving That Kept Me Upright. She and her husband Harvey, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the young age of 49, created, developed, and shared, a thriving family medicine private practice, Double Oak Family Medicine, before his diagnosis. Dr. Harmon became a solo physician in 2010, retired in 2019, and now focuses on writing and sharing her family’s story.
Through word games, scenario exercises, and Q&A within our small groups, we were asked to explore more deeply our practices of communicating with those living with dementia, and most importantly, we were asked to walk as best we could in their shoes. We are grateful for the vulnerability and expertise shared by Dr. Harmon, as well as Susanna Whitsett and the teams at Founders Place, ACA, and Mountain Brook Baptist Church for organizing the event.
For more information on Founders Place and the resources they offer families and caregivers, visit saint-lukes.com/ministries/founders-place.