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The Importance of Communication at Any Age

Thursday, August 23, 2018

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When I conduct Behavior Assemblies in elementary schools, I always stress the importance of learning how to communicate with people. After all, communication helps us to express our ideas and our feelings. It helps us to develop relationships which are so important for our emotional health.

We know the importance of learning constructive communication and listening skills when we are young. It will help us as we enter the workforce, establish our most personal relationships and cement strong bonds with people we care about. The importance of communication never lessens which is why I was delighted to meet some very special women recently who are involved in an organization that is devoted to easing the emotional and social isolation of people living with dementia. It's called Memory Bridge.

People with dementia often experience profound loneliness and depression because people cease to communicate with them as if they were still genuinely present. The chief cause for this breakdown in meaningful communication is the belief that they are "slowly disappearing" and therefore not in need of communication beyond that which is necessary to keep them cared for. This belief is easily dispelled by Memory Bridge.

Memory Bridge provides three different types of workshop experiences for community members to learn the effects of dementia, empathetic communication skills and listening awareness. Ultimately, many participants work one-on-one with dementia residents which diminishes the emotional isolation of people with dementia by connecting them to other people in a nourishing environment.

Memory Bridge offers the vision that attending to another person with cognitive impairments can bring socially isolated people back to the feelings of belonging and mattering. I was honored that Memory Bridge asked me to assist them in writing a grant for the organization. I've learned so much in the process!

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