When Lathrop Community learned about the 2022 Affiliate Grant funds provided by Kendal Charitable Funds (KCF), they saw an opportunity to provide education and understanding for residents and staff on dementia. Traditionally offering independent living, the community also saw this as a step to prepare for the future and create a positive foundation for further learning.

A Universal Impact

The Virtual Dementia Tour was first introduced to Lathrop by Kathi Brown, Director of Human Resources. The program is a tool for “building a greater understanding of dementia by building awareness and empathy in individuals caring for people living with dementia,” according to the Second Wind Dreams.

“I had experienced the Virtual Dementia tour when I worked in a different senior living organization and found it incredibly interesting, educational and well done. The simulation of what the dementia experience is like is priceless. You can read about the symptoms and reactions, but to actually experience it brings a whole new level of understanding.”

The idea of introducing the Virtual Dementia tour to Lathrop had been under consideration for some time. Thanks to the grant from KCF, the community was able to acquire the program and train two employees at Lathrop to be facilitators, ensuring a lasting impact.

Lathrop rolled out the tour in October of 2022, and almost every staff member completed the experience alongside members of the board and residents.

“The impact was universal,” shares Kathi, “Everyone got a much better understanding of what older adults with dementia are experiencing, as well as the challenges faced by caregivers.”

Gen Silent Movie Screening

Lathrop took advantage of additional funds from KCF by purchasing the rights to screen a movie, Gen Silent. Gen Silent is a regarded film featuring stories about the reality of being part of the LGBTQ population. By screening the movie, Lathrop aimed to emphasize a commitment to growth and education, and the goal to foster a welcoming and inclusive environment that remains attuned to the diverse experiences of those who live and work on campus.

Kathi shares that the response was terrific, “We’re located in Massachusetts, and all the families in the film who were profiled were also from Massachusetts, so it hit very close to home. It was also interesting to see the reactions from the high school age staff who grew up in a much more inclusive and accepting time.”

The campus started to roll out the film in the summer of 2022 and, over a few weeks, reached all those at Lathrop.

Looking ahead, the community is eager to continue its efforts in DEIB with a newly invigorated DEIB committee. The campus has also recently rolled out a new DEIB statement, updated the use of the Progress Pride Flag and taken advantage of training through partner organizations like Friends Services Alliance.

Funds provided by Kendal Charitable Funds

Kendal believes that a spirit of inclusion and a culture of diversity enrich and strengthen communities, people and services. Creating welcoming and educated environments requires concentrated efforts and is the shared responsibility of each community and team member.

Kendal Charitable Funds, incorporated in 1989, supports the charitable goals and aspirations of The Kendal Corporation, its network of affiliates and the wider world of aging. The 2022 Affiliate Grant program provided support to Kendal affiliates in areas focused on increasing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and a sense of belonging, particularly among employees. Each month, we plan to share a story from a Kendal affiliate to highlight the strides they made in DEIB initiatives as it relates to the workforce.