Coastline is seeking members of the community interested in taking part in a program that pairs college students with individuals who have dementia or memory loss.
In the fall of 2019, students enrolled in Bristol Community College’s occupational therapy assistant program were given a unique opportunity to apply the skills they had been learning in the classroom out in the community. The pilot program, which happened through a partnership between BCC and Coastline, tasked students with working one-on-one with a client living with memory loss.
The partnership had initially derived from Coastline’s volunteer-driven program called Caregiver Companion and Support Services, which is funded through the Massachusetts Council on Aging.
Coastline and BCC will continue their partnership this fall and are currently seeking a new group of people with dementia to join the students.
Occupational therapists often work with people with disabilities or injuries to overcome barriers. They assess clients and, drawing from a wide knowledge base, help them find ways to better execute activities of daily living.
Last year, students worked with clients by engaging them with recreational pursuits. Students were responsible for developing a plan for their clients that would help them perform these activities with greater ease. The project provided an opportunity for clients to socialize with a younger generation and afforded caregivers temporary respite.
Students were also given extensive dementia training, which made them more aware of the ways that memory loss impacts daily activity as well as the ways it impacts caregivers and family members.
This year the program will be modified to accommodate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with students relying heavily on video conferencing to connect with clients rather than entering clients’ homes.
If you are interested in taking part in this project, you can reach Patricia Geggatt-Midurski, who operates Coastline’s Caregiver Companion program, directly by calling 508-742-9116 or 774-510-0174 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.