Since December, 2007, Gathering Place Interfaith Ministries, a 501c3 non-profit organization, has worked to provide respite to caregivers of people with dementia and educate the public about neurological diseases that affect memory. Starting with nine volunteers, we now have more than 200 volunteers working in our respite ministries.
Partnering with eleven congregations in Lake Jackson, Alvin, Angleton, and Clute, we provide 36 hours of free respite to caregivers each month while our compassionate, experienced volunteers care for their family members. At our 4-hour socials, our participants with memory impairments enjoy games, reminiscing activities, arts and crafts, physical exercise, bingo, and a hot lunch.
Our education programs include the Brazoria County Alzheimer’s Awareness Project and Brain Camp, classes we teach at Brazosport College and in the community to maximize brain health.
Our partner for the Brazoria County Alzheimer’s Awareness Project is the Brazoria County Health Department. For the past five years, our unique Alzheimer’s Awareness Project has held the largest community-based memory screening project in the United States. We collaborate with Brazoria County libraries, churches, area senior centers, and independent senior communities to offer screenings with the help of 35 healthcare providers, civic organizations, and retiree groups who provided volunteers. BCAAP sponsors two regional Caregiver Conferences each year.
Gathering Place and BCAAP founder Brenda Maust began research on Brain Camp in late 2010, and offered the first series of classes in the spring of 2011. Brain Camp is frequently updated with new clinical trials and studies and is now offering its fourth version.