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PBS Documentary Caring for Mom and Dad Airs Mother’s Day

May 05, 2015

PBS’s moving new documentary Caring for Mom and Dad airs on Mother’s Day, May 10 at 2 p.m. on TPT, Channel 2. Narrated by Meryl Streep, the documentary was partially filmed at Augustana Open Circle in North Minneapolis. The film shares the story of Odester Robinson, a member of Augustana Open Circle at Heritage Park, which provides adult day services to older adults that emphasize healthy living and personal independence. Odester’s family received vital support through the Family Memory Care project from Dorothea Harris, a clinical social worker with Volunteers of America – Minnesota. Dorothea manages support services for African American caregivers who are caring for a family member at home.

View a segment of the documentary here:

LOCAL HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES ORGANIZATIONS FEATURED IN PBS DOCUMENTARY TO AIR ON MOTHER’S DAY

(Minneapolis, April 30) -- Family caregivers, not institutions, today provide 90 percent of the care for older parents while balancing the demands of work and other family members. TPT’s moving new documentary Caring for Mom and Dad tells their stories. It airs on Mother’s Day, May 10 at 2 p.m. on TPT, Channel 2.

Narrated by Meryl Streep, key elements of the documentary involve Twin Cities-based services for older adults. The documentary includes the story of Odester Robinson, diagnosed with dementia six years ago, and a member of Augustana Open Circle, which provides adult day services to older adults that emphasize community and connection, healthy living and personal independence. Odester lives with her daughter Rochelle and was previously cared for by her son Anthony and his family.

Dorothea Harris, a clinical social worker with Volunteers of America – Minnesota has provided vital support to Odester’s family as part of the Family Memory Care project. Dorothea manages support services for African American caregivers who are caring for a family member at home.

“Since my mother was diagnosed, it’s been a long, tough journey,” Anthony says. “I would not have been able to make it without the support of Dorothea Harris and Augustana Open Circle.”

Before Anthony found Augustana Open Circle, he was unable to go to work and had taken a leave of absence from his job to take care of his mother. Because his mother “so much enjoys being at Augustana Open Circle,” Anthony says, he has more peace of mind while working. In addition, the assistance Anthony and the family received from Dorothea was “lifesaving,” he says. “She did an evaluation, helped us get resources and helped our family pull together. She also helped us find support groups. She was a true blessing to us.”

When other families ask him about caring for his mother, Anthony tells them, “If you don’t have support, you’re not going to make it.” The documentary brings his experience to light, along with the stories of other caregivers throughout the country.

Augustana Open Circle and Volunteers of America – Minnesota will host a special viewing and discussion of the documentary in the weeks after the broadcast at the Heritage Park Senior Services Center in North Minneapolis. More information will be coming soon. Meanwhile, watch Caring for Mom and Dad on Mother’s Day to learn more about the story of Odester Robinson’s family and others trying to help loved ones who need them while dealing with their own busy lives.

 About Augustana Open Circle

Augustana Open Circle’s adult day services help people with changing physical, cognitive and/or social abilities live more fully and enjoy authentic connections with others in structured, nurturing settings. Members develop new friendships and strengthen their abilities to remain vital in the larger community.

Individuals can attend one of the centers two to five days a week where they are in an environment that enables them to thrive. With locations in Hopkins, Apple Valley and at Heritage Park Senior Services Center in Minneapolis, each center offers programs, recreation, personal care, respite, health monitoring and social connections. At Augustana Open Circle, we respect each person’s journey as unique and are honored to be part of it. Visit www.opencircle.org to learn more.

 About Volunteers of America – Minnesota and Wisconsin

Volunteers of America-Minnesota and Wisconsin is dedicated to helping America’s most vulnerable. In 2014, we served more than 23,000 people and employed a staff of 800 in Minnesota and Wisconsin, in more than 110 locations. We offer housing and dining services that provide dignity for older adults and those with special needs. We are a non-profit, faith-based affiliate of the national Volunteers of America organization, which like us, was founded in 1896. For more information, visit www.voamn.org.

 About Family Memory Care

Caring for someone with memory loss can be challenging without support. Research has found that Family Memory Care can reduce stress and increase support needed from family members. Family Memory Care consultants:

  • Make assessments and discuss concerns.
  • Help with family’s understanding of memory loss and how the disease may progress over time.
  • Work with family members to develop a plan that supports all concerned.
  • Discuss strategies for coping with changes in personality and behavior.
  • Assist in finding resources and helpful services.

Family Memory Care is a service for caregivers living with a family member with memory loss. For more information, please contact Dorothea Harris at dharris@voamn.org or 952- 945-4175.