COA’s Ponte Vedra Memory Care Center reopens Aug. 17

Posted

The St. Johns County Council on Aging is excited will have the grand reopening of their Ponte Vedra Memory Care Center on Aug. 17.

The center is located at 1048 A1A North in Ponte Vedra Beach and the reopening comes being closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Founded by the COA in 2015, the center offers a groundbreaking Integrative Memory Enhancement Program which serves individuals experiencing memory loss and symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of brain trauma.

The IMEP program is a research-based initiative developed to minimize the progression of memory loss and dementia by offering a structured curriculum of fun, engaging group activities designed to boost cognitive reserve and provide crucial opportunities for stimulation and socialization.

“The IMEP program is a valuable resource for our MCI (mild cognitive impairment) and dementia community,” said Dr. Melanie Chandler, with the Division of Psychology at the Mayo Clinic. “Their approach to engaging individuals in physical and cognitive exercises in a social environment aligns well with what we know helps older individuals with memory loss. I hear many positive things about IMEP from my patients, not only that they find it helpful, but also that they find it to be ‘so much fun’ (as a recent patient of her’s stated). I will continue to refer my patients to the IMEP program.”

Since the program’s creation in 2011, IMEP has been in use by other agencies and senior care facilities that purchase and utilize the program to meet a growing and urgent need in other Florida counties and surrounding states.

In addition to its benefits for participants, the IMEP program is also a valuable resource for caregivers and family members by offering a respite for caregivers, who often struggle to care for themselves or accomplish the smallest everyday tasks.

Ponte Vedra Beach residents Beverly Webb and Karen Sanders became friends when their husbands were participants at the center.

The two friends share memories of both joy and heartache as the wives and caregivers of husbands who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

When Webb’s husband, Phil, was diagnosed with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the first thing the couple did was embark upon a whirlwind tour across the globe, committed to cherishing the good times together.

Upon their return, Phil began attending the IMEP program at its original location at Christ Episcopal Church and later at the Ponte Vedra Memory Care Center.
There he found an empowering tool for dealing with his diagnosis and a warm and caring community.

Sanders’ husband, Norman, also attended the program, where the two men became fast friends.

“They absolutely loved it,” Sanders said. “They had their buddies there. It was so important to them.”

The men enjoyed the program so much, in fact, that they would sometimes insist that their wives drive them in on weekends, not wanting to believe the center was closed.

“It gave them a purpose and friends and somewhere to go,” Webb said.
As their diseases progressed, both Phil and Norman eventually needed the care of a full-time facility, and sadly, both men died.

However, their wives credit the center and the IMEP program with having a tremendously positive impact upon all of their lives.

“I really believe Phil lasted one or two years longer because of the center,” Webb reflected.

She continues to volunteer regularly at the center, and both women are steadfast supporters of the Council on Aging and all that it strives to do.
The five-hour IMEP program will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ponte Vedra Memory Care Center starting Aug. 17. Lunch is served daily and prepared by Vicar’s Landing.

Both the five-hour program and the two-hour IMEP “memory module” program are also offered by COA at Anastasia Baptist Church in St. Augustine.

For more information and to register with the program, please contact COA’s Myra Fisher at 904-209-3700 or mfisher@coasjc.org. To learn more about the IMEP program, go to www.coasjc.org/imepsjc/.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here