“I LOVE your newsletter!” the email began. “I often share your stories with our students and instructors. I actually printed, laminated and posted your ‘let me shine’ dementia rhyme in all our classrooms and labs.”
The message was from Angela Del Bianco, the Marketing & Program Development Manager at Drake Medox College/Drake Medox Health Solutions in Surrey B.C., Canada. It’s the kind of message that makes my heart sing because it tells me my advocacy is having a worldwide impact by helping to change the perceptions of those who work in dementia care.
I sent an email back to Del Bianco asking for more details; she responded immediately:
“We have nineteen classes and approximately three hundred and twenty-five students in progress at any given time at our two campuses. These students are supported by twenty-two instructors (classroom, clinical and English as a Second Language support staff as English is not the first language of many of our students).
We offer Health Care Assistant (HCA), Activity Assistant and Community Support Worker Programs, but HCAs represent more than 80 percent of our student body: we graduate more than five hundred and twenty-five HCAs a year!”
That means a lot of future care workers will be exposed to the reframing and redefining messaged contained in my ‘let me shine’ poem because Del Bianco took the initiative and posted it in her college’s classrooms.
Better yet, this isn’t the first time the poem has been used in this way.
Bing Boettner, a registered nurse who teaches health science students at a technical school in Maryville, Montana, contacted me in April 2017, and asked me to do a couple of webinars for her students via Skype. Boettner had also printed and laminated “let me shine,” and hung it up in her classroom. I got a big surprise when she showed the poster to me when we Skyped – it was about six feet high!
A couple of weeks after the sessions with Boettner’s students, I was in Ottawa, Ontario, doing a series of workshop for caregivers. I included a copy of “let me shine,” in the participant handouts. One woman in the class said: “I have that poem pinned on my wall. Someone gave it to me.” I was thrilled. ” I wrote it,” I said. She was stunned. She hadn’t known where it came from, or who had written it. It felt wonderful to learn that my good messages are spreading, even when I don’t always know about it. Every little bit counts.
So what can you do to help change the face of dementia care for the better?
Easy. You can download, copy, and distribute posters of “let me shine” as widely as possible. Here are some ideas of where you might post the poem:
- classrooms and staff rooms in technical schools, colleges, nursing schools, medical schools, etc. where future healthcare workers are learning and being trained
- In care facility staff rooms, nurses stations, activity rooms, kitchens, dining areas, etc.
- above your loved one’s bed and/or in their bathroom
You could also:
- hand it out in care worker and caregiver seminars, sharing circles, meetings, etc.
- include it in healthcare and dementia care conference packages
- email the link to the poem or to this post to your friends and followers
- include the link to the poem or to this post in your next newsletter
- share it and discuss it at your next staff meeting
- put it on your blog
- read it anywhere and everywhere!
Or maybe you have some other ideas – I would love to hear them! I would also love it if you sent me a pic of what you do to spread “let me shine” (with a few details) so I can post your story on MyAlzheimersStory.com and the MAS Facebook page.
Together we can make a difference.
Note: I had to crop the picture of the Drake Medox College/Drake Medox Health Solutions students and teacher to fit my banner format. Here’s the full pic Angela Del Bianco sent me: