March 8, 2024

HERstory: Honoring the Journey of Individuals Living with Dementia

Category: Memory Care

Author: Emily Johnson, 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 The Kentridge 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.

At age ten, Chris M. wrote an 80-page, single-spaced, typewritten dissertation on the universe. That same year, she wrote to the Ravenna School Board complaining about the reading material available in the fourth grade. They checked it out, and the teacher remarked, “I have two of them in here, and as long as they complete their regular work, I allow them to read Gone with the Wind or Exodus or whatever they’re into at the time.”

A past photo of Chris in her cowboy hat outside for an adventure horse riding captures the essence of freedom.

After completing her undergraduate studies at Kansas State University, she obtained degrees in both German and Russian. Following this, she pursued her master’s degree in German at Ohio State University.

From there, she went to Germany to study for a year. Kansas State University sent her to Florence, Italy, for three months to teach a select group of KSU students about life and literature in Renaissance Italy.

Chris is a Fullbright scholar, university professor, owner of thousands of books, music lover, and far-left rabble-rouser.

She experienced one marriage, which was brief and disastrous. Shortly after, she cut the tendon in her ring finger while opening a bottle of wine and, despite three surgeries, can’t straighten it. Chris claimed it was God’s way of telling her not to get married again. She has one son and five grandchildren.

Since retiring, she has volunteered at the Portage County Historical Society and co-wrote a book about Ravenna, Ohio.

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.

In her dark purple cardigan, Chris is standing in front of a flower painting at The Kentridge community.

The KentRidge Senior Living in Kent, OH offers 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 University Hospital Portage Medical Center with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Sunny Hill Golf & Recreation Inc, Stow-Kent Shopping Center, Kent State Univeristy Museum, The Portage Hike & Bike Trail, and Mad Cap Brewing Company.

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