Alzheimer’s writers group welcomes student scribes

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LEWISTON — The Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter is seeking individuals living with early stage Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias, and their care partners, to work with student volunteers from the University of New England, the University of Southern Maine and Bates College.

These individuals will partner with students who, acting as volunteer scribes, will interview and write their life stories within the Alzheimer’s Association’s Legacy Writers Groups. This effort is being called the Volunteer Scribes project.

In existence since February, 2013, the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter’s Legacy Writers Groups have enabled people living with early stage Alzheimer’s disease to write their life stories for family and friends or just themselves. The groups, which will now include the new Volunteer Scribes project, will resume in Portland, Kittery and Lewiston in October.

“We have become aware of many people living with early stage Alzheimer’s who really want to have their life story written but, for a variety of reasons, don’t feel comfortable writing it themselves,” said Mark Pechenik, the group’s coordinator who also serves as the Maine Chapter’s director of community engagement and outreach.

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Thankfully, however, students participating in the Volunteer Scribes project will make it possible for group participants to tell — rather than write — their life stories. “Now, all we need are persons living with Alzheimer’s who are willing to give this exciting project a try,” said Pechenik.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the Volunteer Scribes project is a great opportunity for group participants to relate their life stories in a private, comfortable and totally confidential setting.

By working in partnership with students, this project also enables group participants to play a significant role in advancing their volunteer scribes’ education.

Advance registration for this free program is required. Those living with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, as well as their care partners, who wish to sign-up or learn more about the Volunteer Scribes project and the Legacy Writers Group can contact Pechenik at 772-0115 or by email at mpechenik@alz.org.

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