Recognizing and Rewarding Innovative Dementia Care

woman enjoying flowers at Bradner Gardens - Photo courtesy of Chris Bennion

Maude’s Awards was introduced in 2020 to gather innovative practices of care for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their care partners, and to share these practices with the wider dementia care community. Recipients of Maude’s Awards in 2020 were announced in October. Read about them in “Maude’s Awards Recognizes Innovation in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care” (AgeWise King County, November 2020).

Maude’s Awards was created by Richard Ferry in honor of his beloved wife of 64 years. In 2013, Maude was diagnosed with dementia. Now, as a loving care partner and tireless advocate, Richard continues their journey together by discovering and sharing innovations that speak to the challenges and needs of persons living with dementia and their care partners.

two friends hugging and smiling

Re-Ignite the Mind with Improvisation & Play with Taproot Theatre, February 2017. Photo credit: Edmonds Center for the Arts

In 2021, Maude’s Awards will make eight awards again—three $25,000 awards to organizations and five $5,000 awards to individuals—for innovations that have demonstrated success in one of four categories of care:

  • Making Connections
  • Treating By Design
  • Cultivating Health
  • Supporting Care Partners

Each category is described in full at Individuals do not have to be a dementia care professional to qualify—the interest is to discover ways that family caregivers and persons with dementia are making life better for themselves and others in their situation.

Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Dementia-Friendly Recreation program was one of the inaugural year winners. With the support of community partners, the program provides recreation opportunities for people living with memory loss and their care partners.

Seattle’s parks department was first in the nation to offer dementia-friendly recreation, which launched in 2015. The program was created in response to the growing number of community members living with memory loss and the firm belief that people with memory loss remain a vital part of the community and deserve accessible opportunities to stay active, be creative, explore nature, and connect with others.

Upon receiving a Maude’s Award, Dementia-Friendly Recreation program specialist Cayce Cheairs said to Mr. Ferry, “I want to start by thanking you, Richard—thank you for sharing Maude’s story. I appreciate your dedication to innovations in dementia care and the legacy that you are having with this impact in the community. I am also proud of our parks department as the first in the nation to offer this innovative program and really commit to serving and including people living with dementia.”

Some of the pre-COVID19 activities included walking groups, fitness classes, intergenerational theater, dance, horticultural therapy, and “arts in the park”—watercolor, ceramics, printmaking, and poetry. Annual special events typically include a talent show, summer camp, and happy hour celebrations. Neighborhood social programs offer music, art, and improv, including a new program in Spanish.

Apply by May 17, 2021! For more information about Maude’s Awards and to access the 2021 awards application, visit

Photo at top: Enjoying a garden walk at Bradner Gardens during a Dementia-Friendly Recreation outing. Photo courtesy of Chris Bennion.

This article originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of AgeWise King County.