• Thu. May 19th, 2022

HOPE Dementia Support Group Unveils New Ridgefield Trail Map

Sebastien Rubino / [email protected]

The HOPE Dementia Support Group offers a series of trail maps for people with dementia and their families in Clark County. The organization recently created its third map of the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge.

Julie Donovan, Vice President of HOPE, is looking forward to unveiling the new map and bringing caregivers and their loved ones into the community.

“We had received an auction item for our last in-person fundraiser and it was this card with a series of information designed for kids that got a few of us asking ‘how would- what if we had something easy that would allow people living with dementia and their families to navigate the outdoors a little easier? “said Donovan. “From there, we started working with some of the leading Vancouver Parks and Recreation (department) trail volunteers, Super Nature Adventures and some of our own volunteers to discuss what it would look like and what which would be necessary to distinguish it. other cards there.

Some of the factors they considered when designing the maps included proximity to bathrooms and accessibility for wheelchairs or walkers.

“It’s about allowing people to be outdoors and creating more peace of mind around that,” she said.

The organization’s first map was released at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Donovan said the trails have been successful. HOPE partners with the Southwest Washington Regional Agency on Aging and Disability for the maps, which also help the organization publicize the trails.

Based on the feedback, Donovan said they thought the path was easy to follow. HOPE staff also made sure to include seating locations, picnic benches, elevation changes, and inclines or declines through family feedback.

“It might not be your typical map key, but we wanted to make sure these items were included for people who needed them,” Donovan said.

The cards are hand-drawn, which she says also makes them unique.

Bryna Campbell and Mike Murawski, co-creators of Super Nature Adventures, also scoured the trails to help lay out the maps.

The back of the cards contain facts about the area, such as the types of trees found there and the sounds people can hear.

“Things like that really encourage being outdoors,” she said.

While the map is tailored to dementia patients and their families, Donovan said it applies to anyone who wants to explore the trails.

Other services provided by HOPE include weekly online support groups for caregivers, as well as MaryAnn’s Babies, which is a pet doll or therapy aimed at improving the comfort of adults with dementia and similar conditions. They also have activity boxes for patients in hospital, rehab, or memory care that include fidget toys, textural toys, and playing cards, which are designed to ease the anxiety that people with dementia can feel and improve mood and communication. All of their programs, including trail maps, are free.

Donovan said there are many forms of dementia, the best known being Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia and frontotemporal dementia. Some people may also have more than one type, she says. Although dementia is usually associated with memory loss, some forms of the disease, such as frontotemporal dementia, begin more with behavioral changes and changes in judgment.

According to the 2021 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, there are 120,000 people with dementia in Washington State. By 2025, this is expected to increase to 140,000 people.

HOPE Walks Trail maps are available online at ho
pedementiasupport.org/hope-walks-program-and-trail-maps and facts and figures about Alzheimer’s disease are available at alz.org/media/documents/alzhei
mers-facts-and-figures.pdf.