Centro Tyrone Guzman is the oldest and largest Minneapolis-based multi-service Latine organization. Their program, Centro Wise Elders, actively engages community members in sustaining an informed, safe, and respectful environment to support the health and well-being of Spanish speaking individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and their families. The program serves Spanish-speaking Latine families in Minnesota, targeting low-income immigrant families. Since 2015, they have provided Alzheimer’s-related support and resources to more than 1,600 caregivers, elders, and community members.
A key initiative, conducted over the course of the past two years with the support of Latine elders and their caregivers, was the creation of a culturally and linguistically appropriate Toolkit based on the “House of Memories” museum dementia awareness-training program. Wise Elders staff, using this new Toolkit, guide Latine elders and their caregivers through the process of identifying objects of importance from the elders’ past and using these objects to initiate conversations, strengthen family connections, and contribute to the self-esteem and well-being of the person with Alzheimer’s and experiencing memory loss.
Centro Wise Elders staff has pioneered the adaptation of evidence-based model programs and resources for use in the Latine community including: “House of Memories” dementia awareness training; Montessori-inspired tools and strategies; and Respite Education and Support Tools (REST) in Spanish. Centro partnered with Teatro del Pueblo to create an original, culturally-appropriate, Spanish-language play to provide awareness and information on the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease; worked with the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) to engage elders in creating Alzheimer’s activity mats, and served as a cultural consultant for the Minnesota ACT on Alzheimer’s Initiative -revising the “Dementia Friends” curriculum and providing feedback to make it culturally responsive.