Memory Matters is a one-of-a-kind organization. It is our vision to serve those afflicted with any type of dementia AND their families with comprehensive services. All of our programs and services adhere to the strictest standards of confidentiality. Our mission is to be a center of excellence in dementia care and to provide all services with dignity and compassion.
30 businesses and 605 employees now have a better understanding of dementia and are proud to be dementia-friendly. Those with dementia and their care partners will hopefully feel more supported in their community as we continue to educate churches, banks, retail establishments, restaurants, etc. It is early to determine if the quality of life in our community is improving for individuals. However, I want to share a comment from the employee evaluation forms to illustrate the impact of this initiative: Greatly appreciate the instruction for our staff. Information exceeded our expectations. Great info and suggestions. We all have the tendency to be defensive of our own actions and to not respect the feelings or emotions of others. Thanks much!”
We hired and trained a designated training coordinator to conduct employee sensitivity trainings on dementia. We hired a marketing firm to develop our message and marketing materials and advertising. We developed a formal training to present to businesses and organizations to give them the tools to recognize dementia and to better support this growing demographic in our community. These accomplishments allowed us to present a professional, cohesive message to the business community which has earned them a dementia-friendly designation, easily recognizable by the public when a dementia-friendly sticker is displayed on the door. In addition, we developed www.purpleangelproject.org , a website to explain the dementia-friendly initiative, and to allow trained businesses to link their website with ours to let their customers know that they are part of this global initiative. The benchmark used to gauge our progress is the number of businesses trained. Our goal was to train 30 businesses during this grant period. To date we have trained 33 businesses (605 employees) and have an additional 22 businesses scheduled.
To remind us to dream big. It is important to craft a message that is professional, supported by relevant data, and heartfelt. Development of a strategic vision that is well-articulated and can respond to the questions “what’s in it for me?” and “why should my business be on board?” is of paramount importance. Creating a dementia-friendly community is a quality of life issue; so we included economic benefits and improved customer service as part of our “sales pitch” to businesses. Advice we would give to other organizations is to invest in the project to get the best professional guidance in developing the marketing materials and message. Too often non-profit organizations do not operate as a business and have a penny-pinching mindset, and are reluctant to invest hard-raised money in professional tools to help ensure success.
I think because we had a solid plan and enlisted professional marketing help, we had no challenges. In fact, it has been surprising how well received this training initiative is in the community.