A Seattle hub where people with memory loss can stop by
The Memory Hub, which is run by the University of Washington Memory and Brain Wellness Center, is working to connect people and fight the stigma of memory loss. The hub opened to the public this week.
Inside the Memory Hub on Seattle's First Hill, there's a wall covered in framed watercolor paintings. Some paintings depict water lilies or landscapes, others have abstract colorful lines and patterns. These were curated by participants in the Elderwise program, which meets here on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Memory Hub's director, Marigrace Becker, says the gallery wall exemplifies the values of the center.
"When people walk through the door, they're seen as a whole person with things to offer," Becker said. "That's a piece of why we have this art gallery that showcases the creative work made by people with dementia. We really want to create that space where people belong and can find community."
The center is run by the University of Washington Memory and Brain Wellness Center and serves people with memory loss and their caretakers. There are four other organizations involved in the site; the Frye Art Museum, the Washington State Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Elderwise, and Full Life Care.
The hub opened to the public this week, which allows for people like Lilly Hammond and her daughter to stop by. Their family member is getting some tests done a few blocks away at Harborview and a doctor recommended stopping by the hub.
"I think it's very nice," Hammond said. "Especially, I think the people getting together, giving them activities, and giving the caregiver a break."
The hub isn't just about providing resources, but also about connecting people going through similar experiences. Along with art classes, there are drop in consultations about technology and dedicated time for socializing and music.
"The most crucial need is that need for belonging," Becker said. "And to feel like you have a place where you're seen as a vital human being, not seen as someone with something wrong with you and so that's what we hope to create within this memory hub space."
Becker says that a lot of caregivers feel alone, especially after nearly three years of isolation due to the pandemic. The Memory Hub is a place for people to connect and share their experiences.
"These people are all going through the same thing, a similar sort of journey," said Steve Neville, whose wife is taking an art class here. "It's been really helpful to talk to people and to listen to them and see what their experiences are, how they're dealing with the issues that they deal with."
The Memory Hub is located at 1021 Columbia Street in Seattle and open to the public Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.