Out of the Fog: SAIDO Learning by Jim Steenbergen

Nov 19, 2021 | Legacy Foundation, Memory Care

When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time backpacking with friends. One fall weekend, I couldn’t find any friends who were free, so I  went by myself. It was kind of a rainy and wet weekend, and as it turns out, absolutely no one else was hiking the trail. I didn’t mind because I loved being outside.

The day I was leaving to return home, I woke up to a thick blanket of fog. It was so dense  I could only see a few feet in front of me. I packed up and left, and after walking for a while, I realized I was completely lost. I would backtrack and find my campsite as a reference point and then set off again only to get lost once more. I remember that moment as the first time in my life I felt truly scared.

Hope for Memory Loss

It can be a scary place not knowing what’s ahead or what’s behind you. Unfortunately, it’s a feeling that can creep into the lives of many people suffering from memory loss—not knowing where their path leads and feeling like a permanent fog has set in isolating them from friends, family, community, and even their own bodies.

But there is hope for those suffering from memory loss or brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. About three years ago, Sunset Senior Communities began offering SAIDO Learning to residents at Waterford Place Memory Care. SAIDO is a Japanese word for “once again”. This cognitive therapy created in Japan has been found through research to slow the progress of dementia and restore brain function through non-pharmacological treatments.

Right now, memory care residents participate in daily activities of simple math and reading exercises, and it’s revolutionary to see how they are changing for the better. SAIDO Learning at Waterford Place recently expanded to use the same techniques to help healthy independent living residents. The Healthy Brain Clinic meets weekly and offers residents simple ways to improve and maintain their cognitive skills. I recently spoke with Angie Russo, who manages SAIDO Learning. She shared the hope of someday offering SAIDO as a day clinic to people who are suffering from memory loss outside Sunset.

Become a SAIDO Volunteer

Are you interested in becoming a volunteer to facilitate SAIDO sessions? After a training session (which takes about six hours), we work with your schedule to select times when you can facilitate SAIDO sessions. You can volunteer for an hour a week or more often if your schedule allows.

If you don’t have the time right now but want to support the program financially, click here and select Waterford Place Memory Care as your designation for your gift. If you simply want more information on SAIDO Learning, email your questions to sunsetdevelopment@sunsetmanor.org or call 616.214.4505.