A mirror reflects what’s in front of it, but never shows what’s inside.
A caregiver for the family of someone who has dementia often struggles with the diagnosis and the disease, too. While they aren’t plagued with the side effects — visible to those they interact with — themselves, they deal with them in different ways.
So when Malia Bolt, whose father Thomas Howard has dementia, learned about the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group’s dementia support group, she knew she wanted to help.
“It’s happening to my family and it’s happening to a lot of families in town,” Bolt, owner at Purple House Gallery, said. “A lot of my customers have dealt with it firsthand or know someone very close to them that’s had some sort of dementia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons … It’s all in that same feeling dealing with it. It’s really hard on the family.”
In 2017, Bolt entered one of her designs in the Larson-Juhl Design Star Competition and came out as grand champion. Larson-Juhl is a moulding company that designs mouldings for framing.
“I won for mirrors,” Bolt said. “And I say mirrors because mine consisted of several mirrors. It was huge and I think it consisted of like 18 different frames constructed together in the shape of an arch and it played off the homeowner’s architectural design in their home.”
That piece, which took well over a dozen hours to complete, hangs above the mantle in a Gainesville home and Bolt said she’s proud of how it turned out. She said she loves what mirrors do to a home, which is probably why she enjoys working with them so much.
“It was kind of an honor, because I love doing mirrors,” Bolt said. “It’s one of my favorite things, designing mirrors and stuff for people. So it was definitely a highlight of my career. It was a big thing.”
The ones judging the competition thought it was a big thing, too. As part of Bolt’s grand champion title, she got to play a big role in designing a line of mouldings for Larson-Juhl. After working with a few other people and a factory in Italy, they came up with a line of mouldings — three shapes and three colors — and called it Luna.
Bolt said Larson-Juhl has some lines that are released in the United States and some in other countries, but Luna was the first released through both its United States and international line.
It was released in 2018.
“That whole year, a percentage of the proceeds is what I got to choose where my donation went,” Bolt said.
Some of the profits from Luna’s sales during 2018 were able to go to a charity or organization. Bolt worked with the Northeast Georgia Health System Foundation to find the best fit for the donation.
“I wanted something that was meaningful to me,” Bolt said.
And even though she’s never been a part of the dementia support group, she understands how much it can help those who need it.
The group received $5,472.60.
“This donation will allow us to provide resources like books, modules and other educational materials for members of our group,” Laura Banner, certified family nurse practitioner for NGPG Neurology, said in a news release. “Not only does this donation allow us to provide these resources to caregivers, it also lets them know that they are not alone.”
Being a part of a community where this is even an option is something Bolt doesn’t take for granted. She said she realizes there are needs everywhere, but felt connected to this one.
“It makes me really proud to be a part of Gainesville and be a part of a community that has a support group and such a wonderful medical facility to be able to give back to,” Bolt said.
The donation to the dementia support group will not only help those already in it, but will help spread the word so more can benefit from its services in the future.
“This gracious donation was provided by someone who cares about them and recognizes the difficult road that they navigate on a daily basis,” Banner said.