Friendship Village of Bloomington was recently recognized with a Stars Among Us Innovation Award for broaching what can be highly personal and sensitive topic among seniors – incontinence – in a fun, approachable way.
“Health conditions that come with aging are sometimes difficult to talk about and people often feel alone as they deal with them,” said Gayle Kvenvold, President and CEO of LeadingAge Minnesota, the statewide association representing more than 1,000 senior care providers. “Friendship Village created a light-hearted event that invited people to learn and talk openly about what can often be a self-isolating issue and make incontinence as common of a topic as blood pressure or diet choices.”
Friendship Village unabashedly confronted the hard questions of incontinence in public with its (Stay) Dry Martini Party. The social gathering featured festive décor and leadership in party attire making and serving martinis as a pre-cursor to the main event — education and awareness of incontinence.
The educational programming featured personal stories from staff about their own incontinence experiences, which helped release the tension and invite the more than 100 residents in attendance to share their stories and ask questions. At the end of the event, residents left with information, health and wellness tips, and sample products.
“Friendship Village came together as a community to share something that can easily and understandably cause a person to feel vulnerable and isolate themselves when life is right there for the taking,” said David Miller, Executive Director, Friendship Village. “The comments and personal stories we received after the event validated this approach as it showed the level of bonding that took place and opened an ongoing dialogue among our residents and our staff.”