March 8, 2024

HERstory: Honoring the Journey of Individuals Living with Dementia

Category: Memory Care

Author: Allysen Grimes, 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 Hudson Grande 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.

A close-up photo of Donna smiling, wearing a blue plaid outfit, capturing her joyful spirit and sense of style in a single frame.

Donna B. grew up in Springfield Township, OH, with her mother and four older siblings. She graduated from Springfield High School. As a child, Donna loved animals, sneaking out to ride the neighbor’s horses and bringing home all sorts of stray dogs, cats, and other creatures. Her love for animals continued throughout her life, and she always made a place for animals in her home.

She also had a life-long love of athletics. Donna was active in soccer, marathoning, softball, tennis, and swimming well into adulthood. She ran daily into her 50s, only stopping for a knee replacement, after which she replaced her daily run with a daily five-mile walk.

A Life of Service, Love, and Adventure: Donna’s Journey in Akron

Donna moved to Akron, OH, as a teenager, and at 20 years old, she began working as a Case Worker in the Department of Job and Family Services, where she worked for the next 35 years, retiring as a Supervisor at the age of 55. She met her beloved husband, John, in her late 30s; they married in 1991 and settled in West Akron. They enjoyed traveling and took many motorcycle and bicycle trips together. The couple had one daughter, which they gladly included in their frequent trips and taught her a love for animals.

After John’s passing in 2007, Donna returned to work in the social work field as an Operator for information and referral services, retiring again after ten years. She also worked briefly at the Akron Zoo, her favorite job. After her second retirement, Donna enjoyed spending her days as a professional grandmother to her first grandson, Mason. She continued her legacy, teaching Mason all about animals and athletics.

Donna has a big heart, which she has opened, along with her home, to any person or animal that needed a helping hand over the years. She is outgoing, sarcastic, and stubborn, with a larger-than-life personality that makes her unforgettable.

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.

Donna is smiling with her grandchildren and two dogs in the kitchen.

Hudson Grande Senior Living in Hudson, 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 Summa Health Systems with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Ellsworth Meadows Golf Club, Hudson First and Main, Hudson Springs Park, Hudson Historic District, Gazebo & Green, and the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

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