Johnson Memorial Health Services proudly presents “Fortune Cookies,” a virtual event that helps family members, caregivers, local businesses, and the broader community be in a conversation around the subject of dementia, as well as the most well-known form of memory loss which is Alzheimer’s Disease. All community members are welcome to attend this Remember Project event starting 2:00 PM on Thursday November 18, delivered via Zoom.
“6.2 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2021,” said Stacey Lee, JMHS CEO. “The Remember Project provides unique ways of introducing important conversations around what it takes to be age-friendly and how to build dementia-friendly communities.”
The Remember Project has provided live events since 2015 and created a virtual format to keep up this important conversation during the pandemic. To-date over 2,000 people have participated in the online delivery of plays followed by facilitated conversations. “Fortune Cookies” is one of three plays that are now available in a virtual event format and the partnership with Granite Falls will feature all three plays over the months ahead.
This program takes a unique approach to building awareness, sharing information, and inviting authentic community conversations. Audience members come together via Zoom and then watch the play together, followed by a facilitated conversation.
“Our ultimate goal,” said Danette McCarthy, founder & director, “is to assist community members and leaders consider new ways to think about memory loss and to become aware of local resources that support families who are dealing with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Written by Bonnie Dudovitz, “Fortune Cookies” is her first play. In it, the character of Mona is a high-energy entrepreneur who always has a project on the front burner. She is the life of the party and her enthusiasm is both funny and charming. Though at age 80, Mona’s memory is sharp, yet she fears the idea of memory loss and has seen too much of it among friends and neighbors. With Mona as the guide in this brisk 16-minute play, we learn that Mona has a plan to counter the effects of future memory loss and she is willing to go to great lengths to do so! As the audience gets to know Mona and her son, David, they find themselves with an opportunity to consider one of the biggest hurdles to creating a truly dementia-friendly Minnesota: the need to understand how knowledge and compassion are essential to keeping families out of crisis.
“My mother has dementia and has been in a memory care facility for almost four years,” said Dudovitz, who is based in the Twin Cities. “She was always afraid of ending up with dementia, as are so many people, especially when they see it around them. I wrote this play to highlight those kinds of fears and for the audience to think about how those fears affect others. It’s not just the fear of actually losing your memory or your faculties – it’s also the process of how that happens. How will you be treated by friends and loved ones? How can we change that? I hope the audience will think about how they cope with their own fears about memory loss and the way that affects how they relate to people with dementia.”
Mona and David are played by professional actors Sherry Pearce of Cambridge, MN, and Darrell Johnston of St. Peter, MN, under the direction of Danette McCarthy and Jim Pounds of Twin Cities. The theatrical video was filmed by Hannah Robb of Medford, MN, with lighting and sound design by Rachael Cady, originally from Red Wing.
“Fortune Cookies” is part of the Remember Project (learn more at www.rememberproject.org). To date, over 100 virtual Remember Project events and conversations have taken place to raise awareness and address the stigma, isolation, and fear associated with dementia. There are three other plays produced by The Remember Project: “Steering into the Skid”, “Riding the Waves” and “In the Garden.”
Hosted by Johnson Memorial Health Services, the program is also sponsored by Granite Falls Living at Home Block Nurse Program, MN River Area Agency on Aging, and the Montevideo Memory Loss Network (MAMLN). To learn more or to register for the event, play and conversations, please call 320-564-3235.
The Remember Project is part of the family of programs & services of Trellis, helping people optimize well-being as they age (www.trellisconnects.org).
The program is free though registration is required. EventBrite Registration Link: https://granitefalls-fortune2021.eventbrite.com or call 320-564-3235.