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March 8, 2024

HERstory: Honoring the Journey of Individuals Living with Dementia

Category: Memory Care

Author: Hannah Dannewitz, 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 Arrow Senior Living, 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.

Marilyn T. was born in May 1935. She was raised on a farm with four siblings and loves being able to call herself a farm girl.

Marilyn plays the piano and organ and loves it when someone sings alongside her. She played for many years at church, weddings, funerals, or anytime she was asked. Marilyn especially loves the old church hymns. She was very involved in her church, teaching Sunday school and working as the church treasurer and Vacation Bible School Director.

Marilyn dedicated 42 years of her life to working as a bookkeeper at Hamilton’s Funeral Home. She remained in this position until she retired at the age of 84! She loved working there and still talks about it.

A Lifetime of Love, Adventure, and Gardening: Marilyn’s Story

For 66 years, Marilyn and her husband shared a deep love and a passion for traveling in their motorhome alongside their beloved dogs. Their adventures led them on numerous fishing trips to Minnesota and Canada. During these outings, they cherished moments spent in the boat with their furry companions. Together, they enjoyed casting lines into the waters and creating lasting memories. Marilyn’s admiration for the outdoors and its beauty, as manifested in God’s creations, is profound. Presently, she finds joy in the company of her robotic companion animal, Benji.

An enthusiastic gardener, Marilyn delights in planting flowers every spring. Now, she finds solace in sitting amidst her garden’s splendor during warm days, reveling in the vibrant blooms and bountiful produce. Marilyn also cherishes spending time with her four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, relishing their company.

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. 

Rock Creek Senior Living in Ankeny, IA offers senior villas, 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 Mercy One Medical Center with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Briarwood Golf, The District Shopping Center, Saylorville Lake Marina, Big Creek State Park, and Ankeny Community Theater.

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