One of the most important goals of A Gathering of Minds is that the sessions should never feel like therapy. For members, meetings are a fun part of their day where they get to see friends, laugh, share ideas, and experience themselves as a whole. Members enjoy a safe and stimulating social encounter, similar to a dinner party with interesting friends. We touch on many domains—intellectual, creative, spiritual, reminiscence, and humor through connecting with the world and with one another.
The therapeutic approach of A Gathering of Minds seeks to increase the quality of life of its members through its evidence-based program that:
Research shows that loneliness significantly contributes to cognitive and functional decline in seniors with and without dementia. The isolation of the ongoing pandemic has exacerbated this situation for many people. A Gathering of Minds' programs are delivered entirely online, a convenient and safe way for members to engage and connect with others during these challenging times. Our mild cognitive impairment online support meetings are highly interactive and have a maximum enrollment of 10 participants plus a Meeting Facilitator.
Apathy is not the same as depression, although the two states are often confused. Many care partners say that their loved one is no longer interested in the things that used to engage them. Often, the truth is that their interests are still very much there, but they are no longer able to independently think of or act on them. A good analogy would be owning a file cabinet full of great information but not being able to open the file drawers to access it. The programming at A Gathering of Minds presents a wide variety of topics, ensuring that members are intellectually and emotionally engaged. The Meeting Facilitator makes sure that all members have multiple opportunities to share and participate during the meeting. Members offer thoughtful insights, facts, and opinions as they respond to the various topics.
Cognitive reserve is a neurological reservoir that develops with lifelong engagement in challenging intellectual activities and can compensate for and slow cognitive decline. Studies show that building cognitive reserve can delay cognitive and functional decline by up to five years in seniors who already show the biological markers of Alzheimer’s (plaques and tau) in brain scans. A Gathering of Minds’ programming is unique in that it is specifically designed to increase cognitive reserve.
Increasing cognitive reserve is very different than merely providing activities to ward off boredom. Scientists have determined that in order to build cognitive reserve, activities must: