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Maude’s Awards: Recognition for Innovation in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care

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Maude’s Awards—a program created in Seattle to enrich the quality of life for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their care partners—provides monetary awards to organizations and individuals for innovation and excellence. The 2nd Annual Maude’s Award recipients were announced this fall. Three organizations received $25,000 and five individuals received $5,000 each.

Following are the 2021 recipients of Maude’s Awards in each category, with their award amount:

Making Connections—connecting people with dementia to the world and people around them

  • Opening Minds Through Art (Oxford, OH)—$25,000: Opening Minds through Art is an evidence-based, intergenerational art program for people living with dementia that has been replicated in more than 200 communities in North America. The program provides those living with dementia opportunities to connect with students and to experience joy through creative explorations.
  • Giving Voice Initiative (Bloomington, MN) —$25,000: Giving Voice is a nonprofit that inspires and equips organizations to bring together people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias (AD) and their care partners, to sing in choruses that foster joy, well-being, purpose, and community understanding. Giving Voice empowers chorus members to develop their musical capabilities while fostering a community of people on their journey with AD.
  • Fayron Epps, for The Alter Program (Atlanta, GA) —$5,000: Alter is the only nurse-led dementia-friendly initiative to support African American faith communities. The free, two-year Alter program builds resources and awareness around dementia by developing a supportive environment that enhances the well-being of affected families. A goal is to reduce dementia stigma, enhance empathy, create resource centers, increase awareness, and maintain social and spiritual connectedness.
  • Diana Blackwelder, for advocating for policy changes and other means for those living with dementia to live better (Washington, DC) —$5,000: “I live alone with Young-Onset Alzheimer’s and continue to learn and develop ways to thrive as my brain and abilities change (diagnosed in 2017 at age 57). I collaborate, teach, and advocate globally, nationally, and locally to empower others to maintain their autonomy, dignity, connectivity, and self-worth. I have developed materials that help others gain insights into their own or their loved one’s experience with the disease. I have impacted the passage of significant legislation, include securing a permanent Dementia Services Coordinator in the DC Government.”
  • Laurette Klier, for Nana’s Books, which engaged lonely and isolated older people during COVID-19 (Lyme, CT) —$5,000: Frustrated by the lack of quality materials to engage her mother-in-law who was living in memory care with Lewy Body Dementia, Klier created 16 large print books of nostalgic classics (poetry, praise, proverbs, patriotism, and prose) to fill the gap for her mother-in-law, and now, the wider dementia community. Nana’s Books are the only inclusive books available for people living with dementia and their care partners. There are titles for veterans, BIPOC communities, and non-denominational communities of faith.
  • Mary Beth Riedner, for Tales & Travel Adventures (Elgin, IL/Sun Lakes, AZ) —$5,000: Tales & Travel Memories takes residents of memory care facilities and Memory Café participants on imaginary trips to another country or part of the United States using library materials. With the pandemic, the program adapted into an online series called Tales & Travel Adventures, simulating real time trips to various locations and includes participants reading simple narrative from each destination.

Book bannerSupporting Care Partners—providing education, training, or support for care partners of persons living with dementia.

  • Duet: Partners in Health & Aging (Phoenix, AZ) —$25,000: Finding Meaning and Hope is Duet’s free video discussion program for family members caring for someone with Alzheimer’s/related dementia. The program gathers care partners in person or online for 10 weekly sessions to teach care partners effective strategies for managing their ongoing stress and grief, while building resiliency and restoring meaning and hope in their lives.
  • Carol B. Amos, for The Caregiving Principle® (Hockessin, DE) —$5,000: The Caregiving Principle® states: “Needs of the Loved One” minus “Needs Filled by the Loved One” equals “Needs to Be Filled by the Caregiver(s).” As the disease progresses, the loved one will be unable to fulfill as many needs as possible, therefore increasing the role of the caregivers. The needs are defined using Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization.

Maude’s Awards was created in 2019 by Richard Ferry in honor of his beloved wife of 65 years. In 2013, Maude was diagnosed with dementia. As a loving care partner and tireless advocate, Richard continues the journey by discovering and sharing innovations that speak to the challenges and needs of persons living with dementia and their care partners.

Maude’s Awards are for achievement, as opposed to grants for future programs. The intent of Maude’s Awards is to reward programs that have demonstrated success. The nominated program must have been active in 2020 or the year prior. If the program is currently active or recurring, it must have completed one year of operation, or enough time to demonstrate success.

For more information about the 2021 Maude’s Awards recipients, visit maudesawards.org/2021-awardees. For even more, visit maudesawards.org/innovation-book. Innovations in Alzheimer’s Care is available as a free PDF download. You can also request a free printed copy.


Contributor Julie Furlong manages media relations for Maude’s Awards.

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