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Compass Conversations: Living Active Dementia

 

Gini Simmons is a kind and gentle soul who has dedicated the last 20 years to working in local assisted living and long-term care facilities. Her deep compassion and unwavering support for families caring for loved ones with dementia have inspired me greatly.


Her business, Living Active Dementia, offers invaluable educational and personalized coaching services, helping families navigate the challenges of aging in place.

 

Each month, we'll take you on a journey through the unique stories, passions, and dreams that drive our local entrepreneurs. These are the stories behind the logos and social media posts, the spirited souls enriching our daily lives with their craft and dedication.

 
A purple ribbon in the palm of a hand
Living Active Dementia

What inspired you to start your business?

Working in the local assisted living and long-term care facilities for the last 20 years, I saw family members bring in their loved ones with dementia who were totally overwhelmed with their care duties.  When I would sit and talk with them, sharing how best to visit with their loved ones, sometimes I would see the "lightbulb" turn on in their eyes, and complete understanding of certain behaviors and characteristics of dementia. 


Stress and frustration from caregivers at home can lead to early admission to a facility with people who have a cognitive disability, such as dementia.  I don't want to take away the need and benefits of facilities, I just want to support members of the community with the concept of aging in place at home.  


How does your business contribute to the local community?

I offer educational and personalized coaching services to the Sandwich Generation, those who have children at home as well as having aging parents to keep an eye on. 


I also offer services in 2 other languages:  German & Spanish.  There are over 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 each day in America, and they don't want to go to a facility, even if they are experiencing health and safety concerns. Aging in place is the preferred way to face our elder years and Living Active Dementia can help support this concept. 


Can you share a memorable experience or success story related to your business?

One family, I started with them as just a home safety assessment. It was a multi-generational family all in one house. The grandmother had dementia and the grandkids & family knew little. I spent time with the family, supporting and educating them on tips, tactics to help with redirections, and also how to keep her engaged when all she wants to do is sit and make sure her husband is ok. 


The repetitive questions from her were very frustrating for him.  So separation time was just as important as time together.  As the journey progressed, I was able to be an advocate for the family when it came to Insurance questions, doctor's visits, and other important choices and options for their future. 


Being able to be there as a support, as an advocate, to help along the dementia journey, that is my goal for families in the community.  


What challenges have you faced in building your business, and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge that I face is getting my business name out there and informing the public on the services I offer.  Some people have the attitude that "I don't need you right now", but they may need me in the future. 


Some people are barely hanging onto the caregiver journey, struggling with no help at all.  I aim to support and educate those community members! 


What makes your business unique? 

My training is through a nationally certified organization, I have to maintain my educational hours continuously, so I am always learning new things.   I was raised bi-lingual in Bedford County, speaking German and English, and feel at ease speaking Spanish. 


The ability to meet any family at their level, at their language, helps create trust and rapport, which is so important when it comes to empowering others. 


What advice would you give to other small business owners who are just starting out?

Join a business networking group in your local community, find support for entrepreneurs online, reach outside of your community as well, the networking support may be amazing!  The Central Virginia Business Coalition has been so supportive and the members are amazing! 


How do you see your business evolving in the future?

My vision is to be locally known for dementia education and support, to be a go-to for the caregivers who are struggling with the dementia journey with their loved ones, to be known for my honesty, and to support others with language barriers. 


Do you have a special message that you'd like to share with the community through this article?

County Compass has been such a positive light to me during my business journey, and I would not have met them if it wasn't for CVABC.  It takes a village to grow.


One day I plan to support others the way County Compass and CVABC have supported me! Thanks to all who support small, local entrepreneurs, like myself! 


Visit me online! Website | Facebook

Comments


Photo of the owner and her husband who live in Madison Heights VA

Hi, I'm Michelle

I'm the owner of County Compass, and an Amherst County resident. 

I love our community and want to help new homeowners find all the local gems that may not get enough exposure on social media.

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