March 8, 2024

HERstory: Honoring the Journey of Individuals Living with Dementia

Category: Memory Care

Author: "Elize" Catharina Schultz, 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 The Plaza at Wildwood 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 captivating vintage photo of Joann, a woman encased in a beautiful gold frame.

Joann B. was born in Flint, MI, in 1929. She and her friends, all born in the same year, are affectionately referred to as “The 29ers.” They went on many traveling adventures together. As a result, Joann has visited all 50 states and traveled extensively overseas.

She lived most of her life in Kennett, a small farming community in southeastern Missouri. At the age of 18, Joann was crowned “Miss Cotton” for the State of Missouri and traveled to San Francisco, CA, by train for the pageant.

She attended Southeast Missouri Teachers College in Cape Girardeau, MO, to receive a teaching certificate and taught school in Kennett before she married her husband of 52 years. They raised three athletic sons. She never missed a little league baseball game, countless swim meets, football games, or basketball games. 

Joann devoted herself to the First United Methodist Church and the Delta Children’s Home in Kennett. She was also the first female Den Leader in the State of Missouri for Cub Scout Pack 89. Joann has always been sociable and enjoys music, arts, and crafts.

Her middle son, Joe, tells the story about how he could not keep up with her when she visited him during Mom’s Weekend at the University of Missouri.  

Today, the special joys in her life are visits with her grandchildren, especially her beautiful great-grandchildren, who adore their Mama Jo and her funny stories and sayings!

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. 

Smiling Joann, a senior lady with glasses and a red jacket.

The Plaza at Wildwood in Wildwood, MO offers independent living plus, 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. We are centrally located near Mercy Hospital with convenient access to attractions, including Pevely Farms Golf Club, B&B Theatres Wildwood 10, Wildwood Community Park, YMCA Wildwood, and the Hidden Valley Ski Resort.

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