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Country Meadows wins national award for publication to make dementia less scary for children

By: Country Meadows |

Country Meadows Retirement Communities is honored to receive a 2017 Argentum Best of the Best Award for its children’s story and activity book on dementia titled “The Unforgettable Adventures of Grandma’s Cape.” Argentum is the leading national trade association serving companies that own, operate and support senior living communities in the United States. Only five organizations across the entire country received this honor.

Author Joel Kroft-Country Meadows Executive Director of Memory Support-reads his book “
The Unforgettable Adventures of Grandma’s Cape.”

Authored by Joel Kroft, executive director of Memory Support for Country Meadows, the publication tells the story of an awesome, cape-wearing grandma who bakes the best chocolate cookies and has a “forgetting disease.” Along the way readers have different activities to complete, all focusing on the topic of dementia and forgetfulness.

As father to three young children, Kroft thought a story would help children connect to the information. He drew from his own experience with a grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease as well as hundreds of other grandparents and families he has worked with at Country Meadows during the last 15 years.Authored by Joel Kroft, executive director of Memory Support for Country Meadows, the publication tells the story of an awesome, cape-wearing grandma who bakes the best chocolate cookies and has a “forgetting disease.” Along the way readers have different activities to complete, all focusing on the topic of dementia and forgetfulness.

Understanding dementia is difficult, and maintaining relationships with affected loved ones can be challenging for all of us, especially children. “In some ways children are more accepting when their grandparent experiences dementia. But it can be confusing, in a child’s eyes, when an adult, who they typically look to for stability and guidance, isn’t providing that anymore,” explains Kroft. “They need help to make sense of that and to recognize that the person they love is still there.”

Kroft tested the story with his own children and received a positive response. Like many children’s stories, the narrative connects on multiple levels encouraging adults to think differently about making connections with their loved one with dementia, too.

“This is information people need to have. We can’t deny the sadness of what we do. I have seen families struggle and even stop visiting as the disease progresses because it can be uncomfortable and even scary. There’s a misconception that because the person with dementia doesn’t remember or recognize family members they won’t miss the visits, but this is when it’s important to stay connected,” says Kroft. “People with dementia need loving, caring people in their lives to make the world make a little more sense, and this story shows family members how to make that happen. It would be amazing if we can help even a couple of families with this book.”

The award was presented this week at Argentum’s 2017 Conference held in Nashville, TN. The awards program recognizes innovative programs and best practices working to improve the future of senior living. The programs selected for awards provide solutions relevant to critical imperatives recognized by Argentum including workforce development, quality improvement, operational excellence, and memory care. From using unique calming therapies to involving residents in product innovation, the companies and programs honored represent those reaching for the highest level of innovation and excellence in senior living.

“Sharing best practices is one of the most impactful ways we can work together to improve the quality of life and quality of care for senior living residents,” said James Balda, Argentum president and chief executive officer. “Argentum’s Best of the Best winners raise the bar of excellence, delivering programs that inspire innovation across the industry.”

Kroft is honored to receive the award and thrilled with the book’s success. “It is overwhelming to think that the words I wrote and this book Country Meadows created is having such a positive effect on so many people.”

Stop by any Country Meadows Retirement Communities location to pick up a free copy of “The Unforgettable Adventures of Grandma’s Cape” or request one from one of our campuses here while supplies last. Click here for location information.

To read about Argentum’s “Best of the Best” Awards, click here.

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