Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

Tony Bennett End Alzheimer's

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, offering an opportunity to hold a conversation about the brain.  As dementia continues to affect more and more older adults and their care partners, it is crucial to identify ways we can focus on the abilities of those living with dementia.  

Worldwide, more than 55 million people live with dementia. What is dementia? Dementia is an umbrella term for loss of memory and thinking abilities, severe enough to impact daily life. There are many types of dementia that fall under the umbrella such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular, Lewy body, frontotemporal, and mixed dementia. It is important to note that dementia is NOT a normal part of aging. We continue to learn more about dementia and brain changes, and we are better equipped to adapt to these changes and provide the best possible care for someone living with dementia.

At Brio Living Services, our vision is a world in which all are empowered to age well. This includes the residents and participants we serve who live with dementia or brain changes. Since 2015, we have partnered with Positive Approach to Care™ (PAC), at  Towsley Village Memory Care center at our flagship Chelsea campus. PAC was founded by renowned dementia expert, Teepa Snow. Through hands-on skills, person-centered training, and a commitment to enhance the lives and relationships of residents living with dementia, we are proud to work with PAC to uphold our vision. In 2020, we expanded PAC training to LifeCircles PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) in Holland and Muskegon, Michigan. Both projects were made possible thanks to grants from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. PACE serves low-income, nursing home-eligible older adults ages 55+. The PACE model is based on the philosophy that older adults with chronic health needs and their families enjoy a better quality of life and are better served when they can remain living safely and independently in the community they call “home.” PAC training has helped both team and family members improve  care and quality of life for those we serve who live with dementia.

“PAC is a useful approach to learn about supporting people with brain changes like dementia. It focuses on honoring retained skills and strengths of all people, no matter their struggles. PAC focuses on relationships and finding the value everyone brings to an interaction. It helps people develop practical skills they can use today to engage people living with dementia, even during difficult situations! Learning about PAC has made LifeCircles PACE and our broader community a more dementia-friendly place to be,” says Allison Ilem, PhD, BCBA, Director of Behavioral Health at LifeCircles PACE.

Brio Living Services offers a continuum of care, including memory care assisted living in Chelesa and Grand Rapids, as well as home and community-based services such as PACE, to help older adults – including those with brain changes – to live their best lives. . To learn more about our communities and services, visit our website:

If you have concerns about your own brain health, contact your physician. The Alzheimer’s Association has identified 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of dementia. To learn more, visit their website: For more information on Positive Approach to Care™, visit their website: