Maria’s Place Receives the Dementia Society of America’s Prestigious Dementia SMART® Award for Their Heartfelt & Useful Innovation
Each year, the Dementia Society looks for organizations that exemplify excellence and strive to improve the lives of people living with Dementia. Select companies who meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria are deemed to be organizations that are changing the lives of those living with Dementia through their innovations.
On the whole, as people age, the focus tends to lean toward medical care and survival. Maria’s Place challenges this paradigm by asking, “what happens during our day to day lives? What keeps us motivated to wake up every day? How do we maintain a great quality of life in our later years? Where is the fun?”
Maria Brady, the international company’s namesake and co-founder, has worked with older adults for decades and serves as an activity coordinator in a nursing home in Ireland. Maria’s Place was born out of Maria’s desire to help other activity professionals and people at home caring for family members or friends to succeed in their roles as care partners for their loved ones and residents.
As an activity professional, time is a big factor. To do an activity, you have to find what you will do, then get the materials, then invite the people who are suitable to do it. There is a lot of planning before you actually do the activity. And you have to do this multiple times every day. To have all of these ideas in one place, including easy quizzes and things that you can just press a button and print, makes life a lot easier.
As a family caregiver, many people are new to this situation. They have likely known their loved one all their lives and know what kind of activities will appeal to them. When someone is incapacitated, there is a lot of idle time to fill. Maria’s Place aims to inspire people to step out of the box and do something new and different. A challenge is good as long as it is manageable. Not only does this empower the caregiver to have lots of ideas, it is also amazing when the caregiver actually empowers their loved one to find enjoyment in something new.
“I love seeing a person, maybe in their 80’s or 90’s, trying something fun and new, mastering it and feeling good and proud about their achievements. This often leads to increased self-confidence and a willingness to engage and try other new activities. We want the focus to move from surviving to thriving!” says Maria Brady.
“We feel honored and proud to receive this award from the Dementia Society of America,'' said Nichole Bontrager, CEO & co-founder of Maria’s Place. “Our team has worked hard and put our hearts and souls into all that is Maria’s Place for years and it is now coming full circle. To be recognized for this is a great feat for us. We are beyond grateful to the Dementia Society of America.”
The co-founding team spans from Colorado to Pennsylvania to Ireland. They are currently serving all English speaking countries and plan to expand in the future to other languages. Their long term vision is to grow into a cooperative website where there are millions of members around the world, who all contribute ideas and experiences and find inspiration.
About Maria’s Place
Maria’s Place is a free activities and resource destination for those living with Dementia and their care partners. The site is full of activity ideas from creative activities to mind challenges and everything in between. The site also contains a wide array of education and caregiver stories for care partners. For more information, visit mariasplace.com, or visit them on your favorite social media. They can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Dementia Society of America
Dementia Society of America® (DSA) is the nation’s leading volunteer-driven all-Dementias awareness organization. DSA provides an information hotline (1-800-DEMENTIA™), many online resources and an easy-to-use, web-based locator, which can assist families and individuals in finding valuable support near to them. DSA underwrites through its Ginny Gives® Program, non-medical activities focused on: music and singing; dance and movement; the visual arts, touch, and sensory stimulation. The Dementia CARER™, Dementia SMART®, and Dementia QUEST® Programs provide recognition to those who serve the Dementia community through meaningful care, innovation and research respectively. You can learn more about the Society at DementiaSociety.org.
Ann D. Redfield