SENATOR WILLIAM AND ELLEN PROXMIRE AWARD HONOREES
Marcia Gay Harden
Academy & Tony Award-Winning Actress, Philanthropist & Activist
When her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden was faced with her most challenging role yet – the role of care partner. In the years that have followed, she has spoken openly and publicly about her family’s journey with the disease, and how the experience has taught her the “importance of living in the moment and cherishing every second with your loved ones.” She has written a book, The Seasons of My Mother: A Memoir of Love, Family, and Flowers, which she hopes will help other families navigate their own journeys with Alzheimer’s. The book will be published this May. Harden has also become a fierce advocate for Alzheimer’s awareness and education. In 2017, she partnered with Biogen, a pharmaceutical company, on a campaign called “Notes to Remember” that helps people recognize the early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and provide tools to start conversations with loved ones.
4 Star Chef, Alzheimer’s Advocate, TV Host, Producer and Speaker
Alzheimer’s has touched Madison Cowan’s life more than once. Beginning with his father and father-in-law, and now his daughter’s nan, currently living with the disease in Japan. Madison’s dad was difficult to connect with emotionally. Their relationship had become more complicated following his father’s 12 year battle with Alzheimer’s disease and subsequent passing at the age of 72. “I couldn’t get my head around it, I barely knew him and now will never have the opportunity.” It wasn’t until he examined his own shortcomings overcame tribulations that he began to better understand his dad, a strong, proud yet troubled man, learning humility, compassion and forgiveness along the way. Feeling empowered in the face of dementia, Madison decided to make a difference by using his global platform of culinary notoriety and advocating as an Alzheimer’s Champion to inspire dementia awareness and proactive attitudes towards cognitive health.
EXCELLENCE IN DEMENTIA CARE HONOREE
The Excellence in Dementia Care Award recognizes an organization for creating programs or services that are models of excellence and contribute significantly to the quality of life of individuals with dementia.
St. Paul Elder Services’ innovative Passages program supports individuals as they experience various stages of dementia. Passages includes a wide variety of memory care-specific supportive services and living options across the entire continuum. This allows St. Paul Elder Services to support people living with dementia at each stage in the progression of the disease, and in whatever setting they prefer to call home. The result: each person has the right support at the right time, and their lives are enriched with socialization, meaningful experiences, and interventions that allow for continued independence and maximum safety.
EXCEPTIONAL FRIEND OR FAMILY CARE PARTNER HONOREE
The Exceptional Friend or Family Care Partner Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding compassion and abilities in one-on-one caregiving for a friend or family member living with dementia.
Sandy Schocker embodies the mission and values of Garvey Manor through her selfless acts of kindness for the residents. Sandy’s mother was a resident at Garvey Manor and has since passed away, however, she continues to visit Garvey Manor on an almost weekly basis. Sandy comes in on her own time to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and special resident moments. Known among residents for the special touches, like festive napkins and table decorations, that she brings to celebrations — not to mention her festive garb and sparkly shoes — Sandy makes a difference in the quality of life of the residents. Sandy has taught us that you don’t need to move mountains to make a difference for our elders, you just need to show love for one another.