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Elder Care Alliance Wins National Award for Innovative ‘Erasing Boundaries’ Program

SAN FRANCISCO–Not-for-profit public benefit corporation Elder Care Alliance has been selected by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging as a recipient of the Promising Practices Award. This award highlights organizations that are moving away from conventional practices by developing and implementing new and innovative approaches in aging well or long-term care and senior living communities. Elder Care Alliance was selected based on their dementia-inclusive communities initiative, Erasing Boundaries, designed to erase boundaries for those living with dementia and their care partners.

“The Promising Practices Award honors Elder Care Alliance for their unique approach to addressing social isolation and reducing bias by bringing everyone together to experience a fun, engaging creative arts or cultural experience,” said Cate O’Brien, assistant vice president, Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging. “We hope other aging services organizations around the country are inspired to find innovative paths to break down barriers for the people they serve.”

The Erasing Boundaries program began in 2017 after Elder Care Alliance completed three inclusive arts events, called Movie Moments, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association. Held in a local vintage movie theater in San Francisco, these inclusive film programs included approximately 90 minutes of well-known film clips. Professional emcees, led by dementia expert and thought-leader Rachel Main of the Alzheimer’s Association, introduced each clip and then followed it with a call-and-response-style group discussion to provide a platform for creative remembrance and sharing of life experiences. Topics introduced by the clips included family, relationships, careers, and military service. Audience members interacted with each other and with the emcee, sharing memories, asking questions of each other, and making emotional connections.

As a professional who works with people living with dementia and their care partners every day, Main explained, “I know the power that creative arts and cultural experiences can have in promoting well-being. As a collaborator with Elder Care Alliance on Movie Moments, I witnessed joy and meaningful connection among people living with dementia, their care partners, friends, neighbors and volunteers. Dementia-inclusive events erase the walls of shame and stigma by providing respite for family caregivers, increased education and awareness for the surrounding community, and a returned sense of humanity to those living with dementia.”

“We are truly honored to be recognized by Mather Lifeways Institute on Aging for this work and are excited about the program moving forward,” added Rosemary Jordan, vice president of business development for Elder Care Alliance. “We have dedicated more resources to erasing boundaries through our Erasing Boundaries Initiative that seeks to offer dementia-inclusive cultural experiences to individuals and families everywhere. We also offer businesses, trade associations and public sector agencies training and consulting services so that they may become more responsive to the needs of families living with dementia.”

A full, complimentary report on the 2018 Promising Practices Award winners and honorable mentions, Innovation at Work 2018, is available for download at matherlifewaysinstituteonaging.com/promising. Nominations will open in June for the 2019 Promising Practices Awards, with a submission deadline in August.

Elder Care Alliance is a California-based nonprofit organization. Operating from both the mind and the heart, the Elder Care Alliance mission is to serve and enrich the holistic wellness of older adults and those who care for them through education, innovation and a network of professionals. Elder Care Alliance communities offer a variety of services, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing and independent living.

Based in Evanston, IL, Mather LifeWays is a 75+-year-old unique, nondenominational not-for-profit organization that enhances the lives of older adults by creating Ways to Age Well.SM Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging serves as an award-winning resource for research and information about wellness, aging, trends in senior living and successful aging service innovations.

Known for its vision of changing the way society views aging, Mather LifeWays is committed to transforming practices, perspectives and language surrounding aging, and partnered with LeadingAge in 2015 to change the category name for Life Plan Communities. The landmark Age Well Study is the latest example of its commitment to the industry.