Caregiver Pathways is a non-profit foundation that aims to give people living with dementia more purpose in their lives. Most importantly, it’s a community immersion program for people with early memory loss. During the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s people find their worlds shrinking rapidly. They stop working, driving, participating in hobbies they love, and they withdraw socially. It doesn’t take long for them to lose their sense of purpose.
Enter the Caregiver Pathways program which brings self-respect and fun back into their lives. This program takes small groups of people with early stage memory loss out to volunteer at local nonprofits or to attend social events. These outings provide physical, social and cognitive stimulation. Despite dementia, a person still has value, can still contribute to society, and still deserves respect. With each hour of volunteerism, they foster these feelings of self-worth, improve our community and dispel ageism stereotypes.
For example, some of the planned activities may include going to an animal shelter to help care for dogs and cats. Another might be traveling to a farm to help with harvesting food and caring for the animals. Each activity will be followed by a shared meal.
The idea and purpose behind the program is to help the caregivers give their loved one a much needed sense of purpose and social interaction. Both of these things are highly important to maintaining a healthy mind and are imperative for someone living with dementia. In addition, as their loved ones’ world shrinks so does the caregivers. It’s vitally important to maintain as many social outlets as possible to keep up good mental health.