GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The Gathering Day is a program aimed at giving a group of participants who have early to mid-stage dementia. It's five hours of fun for participants and a five hour break for caregivers.

The program was founded in 2000 by Lyngblomsten, a Christian nonprofit that provides healthcare, housing, and community-based resources to older adults in the Twin Cities.

The five-hour program (held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.), scheduled one to several times a month, provides a day of stimulating activities for those with memory loss that exercises all parts of the brain. And it provides their caregivers with five hours of respite to attend to their physical, emotional, and social needs.

Each participant is paired one-on-one with a volunteer for the day. The volunteers lead the activities. This one-on-one attention ensures that the participants are treated as individuals with dignity and worth.

It is important for caregivers to have time for themselves. It allows them to take care of their physical, emotional, and social needs, all of which tend to be put on the back burner when serving as a caregiver.

Having time for themselves also allows them to be better caregivers and avoid caregiver burnout.

More information on The Gathering can be found on the Lyngblomsten website.