Because of our extensive training process and detailed post program evaluations, we have gained insight into the rapid results of our programs and interactions. Here are some key facts and observations:
- Perceptions have already changed. Our Sweet Readers are learning to see beyond the masks of aging and Alzheimer’s Disease; are feeling empowered by the impact they are having and are discovering new friends both with the older adults and with their own peers as they learn and grow. 100% of Sweet Readers polled stated that after participating in one of our programs, they viewed Older Adults as friends and were more likely to engage in conversation with an older person in the future. Sweet Readers with family members suffering from AD reported finding it easier to connect with their grandparents after participating in a Sweet Readers program.
- Quality of Life has already improved. As a result of the connections they are making with Sweet Readers, the Older Adults are feeling respected and validated. Our programs help them to keep their brains active; improve their quality of life and we believe extend the early stages of an illness whose later stages can be physically, financially and emotionally devastating to the older adult as well as their families and/or caregivers. We have witnessed 100% of our Older Adult participants literally come to life during our programs.
- The impact of the relief and respite we provide to caregivers is critical. While participating in Sweet Readers’ programs, caregivers and program directors are given a critical respite from an otherwise demanding and often exhausting day. In addition, our programs provide ideas for caregivers and program directors which they can use over and over again after they have left our programs.
As a result of a growing population effected by AD and the increased awareness, we have been able to grow and make a difference rapidly. Our communities of middle school kids and older adults are quickly growing through public and private schools; care centers; cultural venues and religious organizations.
• In our first six months our reach grew from 17 kids to over 300, from one school to over 40. Families, schools and religious organizations have embraced our programs with open arms.
• In six months we’ve grown from working with one senior center to working with five. Every group we have approached has been receptive and expressed interest in participating in Sweet Readers programs.
• In our first six months we were able to successfully plan, execute and/or schedule programs and workshops with five major museums including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA and The Jewish Museum. Every cultural venue we have approached has opened their doors to Sweet Readers!