FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | May 15, 2013
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s ‘Quilt to Remember’
Comes to Boston
Living Work of Art Honors Growing Number of Families Impacted by Brain Disorder
NEWTON, Mass. (May 15, 2013) – An extraordinary work of art that marks a moving tribute to people living with dementia and their families will be on display at Lasell College in Newton, Mass., on May 29. The 43-panel section of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)’s “AFA Quilt to Remember” features 10 heartfelt quilts with roots in Massachusetts, including some that will be unveiled at the event.
The powerful display is in conjunction with the Boston leg of a nationwide educational tour for family and professional caregivers, “Understanding Dementia Care,” co-sponsored by AFA and Senior Helpers, one of the nation’s largest in-home care agencies.
Introduced in 2005 as the nation’s first dementia-related quilt, the AFA Quilt to Remember now consists of more than 150 panels that pay tribute to loved ones who have or had Alzheimer’s disease or a related illness as well as care providers via photographs, sentimental mementos and vibrant colored-cloth. When laid out side-by-side, the full collection of panels – each of which measures four-foot or eight-foot square – exceeds the length of four Olympic-size swimming pools.
Among the thought-provoking panels to be featured in the Boston area are:
- The original two contributions to the project, which were created by residents of the Joseph Cefalo Memorial Complex in Melrose, Mass. The first was submitted on behalf of the organization itself by a group of nine women and one man who toiled 353 hours to create their colorful Afghan panel. The second was crafted by a resident of the complex, Donald Burridge, Sr., who has since passed away. In submitting his quilt, Burridge said at the time, “My hope is that people will continue to support this worthy cause so that less people will have to endure this terrible ailment.”
- A panel created by Kathleen Wright, of Webster, Mass., who designed her quilt as a tribute to her grandmothers, both of whom had Alzheimer’s disease.
- Two senior living communities – Boston-based Senior Living Residences and Benchmark Senior Living, headquartered in Wellesley, Mass., separately will be presenting to AFA new quilt panels fashioned by residents and staff in memory and honor of residents with Alzheimer’s disease. Senior Living Residences’ large-scale quilt was assembled from individual panels crafted at eight of its communities throughout New England. Benchmark Senior Living will present six, eight-foot by eight-foot square quilt panels made by residents, families and staff at six of its properties.
“The beauty of the AFA Quilt to Remember extends well beyond the artistic craftsmanship of the quilts. Each panel creatively and uniquely reveals very personal stories and bares the depths of panel makers’ feelings. Their contributions reflect the overwhelming emotional toll of Alzheimer’s disease and help raise awareness in a very compelling way,” said Carol Steinberg, AFA’s acting chief executive officer.
According to Allison Guthertz, vice president of quality resident services at Benchmark Senior Living, residents benefitted enormously from participating in the project. “The process of making these quilts gives our residents an opportunity to reminisce and a great sense of purpose in giving back to the greater community,” she said.
The AFA Quilt to Remember is an ongoing initiative and will continually grow in size with contributions from individuals and organizations. AFA and its member organizations display part or all of the collection in various parts of the country throughout the year.
The quilt display is open to the public and will be held May 29 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Lasell Village at Lasell College, de Witt Hall-Winslow Academic Center, 80 Maple St. in Newton. For more information, call 866-232-8484. To learn more about the AFA Quilt to Remember, visit www.alzquilt.org .
The educational tour includes a seminar for healthcare providers from 8 a.m. to noon, and a free workshop for family caregivers from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Both interactive sessions feature Teepa Snow, a renowned dementia care expert. For more information and to register for these sessions, visit www.teepasnowtour.org.
Alzheimer’s disease currently affects as many as 5.1 million Americans and its incidence is expected to nearly triple by mid-century. The brain disease results in loss of memory and other intellectual functions, and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that about 120,000 individuals age 65 and older in Massachusetts have Alzheimer's disease.
About Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA)
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, based in New York, is a national non-profit organization that unites more than 1,600 member organizations nationwide with the goal of providing optimal care and services to individuals confronting dementia, and to their caregivers and families. Its services include a toll-free hot line, educational materials, a free quarterly magazine for caregivers, and professional training. For more information about AFA, call toll-free 866-232-8484, visit www.alzfdn.org, follow us on Twitter (@alzfdn), and “like” us on Facebook (facebook.com/AlzheimersFoundationofAmerica).
About Senior Helpers
Senior Helpers connects professional caregivers with seniors who wish to live at home as opposed to a nursing or assisted living facility. The company has about 300 franchises in 39 states, and one in Canada, offering a wide range of personal and companion care services to assist seniors living independently with a strong focus on quality of life for the client and peace of mind for their families. Senior Helpers strives to be the leading companion and personal care provider that offers dependable, consistent and affordable home care. The event is being presented by Senior Helpers of Metro Boston, Boston North, and Merrimack Valley, Danvers, Mass.; Senior Helpers of Metro West, Westford, Mass.; Senior Helpers of Rhode Island, Warwick, RI; and Senior Helpers of South Shore, Norwell, Mass. For more information, please visit www.seniorhelpers.com.
Contact: Amanda Hirschhorn