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Grants help Fox Valley Memory Project expand its reach

The Fox Valley Memory Project has significantly expanded its Alzheimer’s and dementia support programs including rural communities in Calumet and Waupaca counties since receiving the Administration for Community Living (ACL) Grant and support from local community foundations.

In 2023, we introduced the Mindworks program, a facilitated three-hour class for people with early to mid-stage dementia that provides therapeutic recreation to people with dementia and respite to caregivers twice weekly in Waupaca and Brillion. Mindworks classes cost $15 to cover the included lunch for the person with dementia (cost may be waived based on need). Caregivers have three hours to use as they need knowing their loved one is being cared for by Fox Valley Memory Project staff.

Despite initial challenges, such as low attendance in Brillion, we persevered and relocated Mindworks to Chilton in August 2023. This strategic move led to a remarkable increase in participation, and we now serve nine people with dementia and nine caregivers weekly in Chilton. We still have openings for three or four more families.

In Waupaca, Mindworks initially took place at the Waupaca Public Library, averaging four to five participants weekly. As the program grew, we eventually outgrew the library space. Last fall, we moved Mindworks to Fox Valley Technical College campus in Waupaca, where we now provide twice-weekly classes for eight individuals with dementia and respite time for eight caregivers. Again, we still have openings for three or four more families.

Our presence in Waupaca continues to expand. Last month, 101 people attended a Caregiver Conference organized by the Waupaca Caregiver Coalition.

We also provide monthly support groups at both locations, which coincide with Mindworks sessions. These support groups have up to four attendees and can have more. The groups emphasize the importance of having a safe space for caregivers to share their experiences and learn from each other. The demand for caregiver education is so strong that the Waupaca support group requested an extension from one hour to 90 minutes.

We maintain strong relationships with local restaurants and businesses to support these communities further. Schueller’s Great Expectations caters to our Waupaca Mindworks program lunches and Hilde’s Deli & Bakery caters to lunches in Chilton. Additionally, once a month, we select a local restaurant from each area for our unique Lunch Bunch Program, which offers a time for caregivers and people with dementia to socialize over a delicious meal with other families also facing the challenges of dementia care.

The Fox Valley Memory Project also runs no-cost monthly Memory Cafes in Fremont, Chilton, Brillion, Freedom, Waupaca, and New London. These cafes allow caregivers to participate in social activities with their loved ones with dementia and others in the community. Memory Link, a free resource navigation program, is also available to help families one-on-one through the challenges of dementia care for as long as needed.

Local grants also support our programs including Waupaca Area Community Foundation, Chilton Area Community Foundation, Ariens Family Foundation Charitable Fund and Grace G. Smith Elderly Assistance Fund.

For more information, please click here or call 920.225.1711 to speak with one of our staff members.


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