It was an almost-perfect day, and I have only myself to blame for any deficiencies. One clear memory involves not what I did, but what I wasn’t able to do.
It was an overcast but pleasant morning Aug. 13 when I got into my car and drove to the Renaissance Retirement Community of the Eliza Jennings Senior Care Network to see SAIDO Learning in action. Two of my Long-Term Living colleagues and I had visited another community in the network, the Eliza Jennings Home, the previous day as part of our efforts to produce a comprehensive package of information about our 2013 OPTIMA Award winner for all of you in the long-term care industry. There, some Eliza Jennings employees had shared with us the story of how the Alzheimer’s- and dementia-fighting program had come from Japan to the United States, and they also told us of their experiences witnessing its effects on those with cognitive difficulties.
The Cleveland area senior living organization won this year’s OPTIMA Award for the clinical testing it conducted to assess the program’s effectiveness before implementing it throughout its network. The day of our visit to the Eliza Jennings Home, the network finalized an agreement with the program’s overseas developer and now will serve as a training facility so that other senior living organizations can sublicense and offer the program at their sites around the country. But because the Cleveland area network currently has the only U.S. communities in which SAIDO is practiced, we geared our efforts not only toward the clinical trial but also toward explaining the program generally and in detail for all those who might be interested in it.
It was energizing to spend time with those working with the residents in this way, and the next step was to actually see the program with my own eyes. My visit to the Renaissance was a mission to capture a SAIDO session on video and in photos so that you, too, could gain a better understanding of it. I went alone, excited and armed with a suggestion from the editor-in-chief: to obtain a photo of a staff member (or supporter, in SAIDO speak) congratulating a resident (learner) at the end of a session via a high five, if possible. From our research, we knew that the odds were good that a hand-slapping exchange would occur.