Hi Mary Ellen & Susan,
We wanted to follow up and let you know how wonderful it was to watch the session today. We were so impressed with the variety of the programming and how well your team kept the conversation going in a virtual setting and with such different personalities and levels of engagement/cognitive ability. From yoga to word games to sharing what they were grateful for, it was really heartwarming to see how they all felt like they were part of the community.
It was also great to see that your team knew so much about each participant's life and that they were all comfortable enough to share personal details with the group and even sing some Frank Sinatra in front of everyone.
The fact that everyone mentioned that they were grateful for the virtual gatherings community is a real testament to the work your team does.
Thank you again for inviting us and we are looking forward to our future event collaboration!
Have a great weekend,Mariya
Mariya Rivkin, MBA
Head of Operations
I am deeply grateful for Gatherings, which my spouse, Paul, participates in three times a week. Gatherings provides structure to Paul’s day, as well as social, emotional and intellectual engagement. It is so good to hear Paul laughing, clapping and singing during
Gatherings sessions. Susan and Mary Ellen are truly special in their ability to recognize the uniqueness of each individual in the group, and to form a warm and caring community among the group participants. Mary Ellen and Susan work hard to create a variety of program activities, including regularly celebrating the birthdays, places of birth, special interests and professions of the program participants. They also engage the spouses and caretakers, so that we all are a part of the community of caring and mutual support that is Gatherings. -Eileen Bannon
I think the program has been an enormous success for Liz. I’ve noticed an improvement in her communication skills, and so have others. But more importantly, you both have enriched her life more than you probably know. I always park myself nearby in the event of “technical issues,” so I hear the laughter, and the music, and the other members of the group, telling their stories and making their comments. Liz feels so at home home with everyone now! She laughs a lot!
I think one of the reasons that this has been so much fun and so successful is that you have devised a format that provides the group with consistency, and at the same time an amazing amount of variety. I admire you for thinking up all the things that go into each session: the music, the games, the conversations, the exercises, the observances of holidays and birthdays, discussions of current events……..all of it!
I credit our son with discovering Gatherings, and I’m so glad he did! It’s been a wonderful thing for Liz, and she’s so lucky to be among such kind, thoughtful, and smart kindred spirits.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! - Henry Baker
I would like to take this time to acknowledge both of you for the incredible job you are doing with your Virtual Gatherings group. Arthur, who is diagnosed with moderate dementia, is thrilled to participate every Saturday. This disease has transformed him in his daily life from a very verbal, interested, intelligent, social, engaged person to a very quiet, introverted, apathetic person with cognitive impairments.
My heart breaks to watch him just manage in his every day activities. However, on Saturdays he miraculously becomes excited, happy, more verbal, more alert and extroverted. He loves your program and as I pass by I can hear him fully involved and engaged in your various activities.
I have him enrolled in other programs through the Alzheimer’s Association, NYU and the VA.
All provide some form of stimulation but none get it as “right” as both of you. Your activities are so appropriate for his limitations yet help him to feel good about himself and at the same time give him enormous pleasure. This type of stimulation is priceless.
I thank you both from the bottom of my heart. It also helps me as a caregiver to feel more lighthearted about his disease. Your ways of making them felt better about themselves transfers to the caregivers who then feel better about the situation. Again Thank you, -Carolyn
Hello Mary Ellen and Susan,
I just want to reiterate how much my mom; Regina enjoys your Saturday session. I feel fortunate to have stumbled upon the group.
I want to acknowledge how much work you put into the session – the preparation, research, coordination of activities, music, etc. I know how much energy and time I expended into providing a Zoom birthday party for my mom when she turned *80. it was a massive undertaking.
For you to do something similar in such a short time (repeatedly and keeping it varied/interesting) – WOW!!!!
Just know that I appreciate your program because it is a great deal of behind the scenes work. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your work. -Carma Renninger
Mary Ellen and Susan have created a thoughtful, meaningful and personalized program for memory-impaired individuals. Mom attends these Zoom events twice weekly and is engaged and energized by the word games, movement activities, music, art and discussion. Much of the program is interactive and these two-hour sessions are stimulating and nurturing for both the participants and their caregivers. -Judy E.
Was anything good for me in 2020? Yes, VIRTUAL GATHERINGS!!
When we all began our new life with covid fears, so much of our routine had to change, not least of which for me was the care of my husband who has Lewy Body Dementia. He had been attending a program twice a week called BEGINNINGS. This ultimately evolved into a virtual program named GATHERINGS developed by two wonderful women who had been trained at Beginnings. Moving from meeting in one room with shared activities and close communications into the "zoom" environment took skill and talent. The program has allowed for continued socialization for my husband and great comfort for me in knowing that he is being provided with the stimulation and involvement that is highly recommended for people with all types of dementia.
I strongly recommend this program and feel that it has great potential to serve this community even post-covid. -Susan Fish
Dear Susan and Mary Ellen,
I can’t thank you enough for Paul’s birthday celebration. It was so thoughtfully and creatively put together. In general, virtual Gatherings makes all the difference for Paul — giving him a community and ability to engage.
I thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing all you do to make Paul happy.
Dear Mary Ellen and Susan,
Thank you so much for the lovely birthday celebration for Bob. You both really put a lot of effort into organizing a very personal event and he really was quite pleased. Sorry I may have grabbed more time than you expected and you had more prepared.
I hope you know that you've made life so much more livable during covid than it might have been for us.