We Don’t Know Where We Are Going (aka This Crazy Dementia Simulation House Adventure)

I was recently at a nursing home to do a dementia training. As I walked down a hallway, I passed a woman in a wheelchair. Her wheelchair was being pushed by an employee. The employee seemed to have a sense of urgency and the speed at which she was pushing the wheelchair seemed excessive. “Wow, you’re really moving,” I said. “I don’t know where I … Continue reading We Don’t Know Where We Are Going (aka This Crazy Dementia Simulation House Adventure)

Dementia at the Wedding Reception, the Winery, and the Martini Bar

Everybody has a story. When you walk around this world and tell people you teach about dementia and started a dementia simulation house, everybody has a story. And it’s my job to listen. It’s a parent living with dementia who wandered away from home for two days before being found in a park. A nursing home that treated a loved one poorly. A neighbor who … Continue reading Dementia at the Wedding Reception, the Winery, and the Martini Bar

Nursing Homes & Shame (aka Nursing Homes Are Not a Punishment)

Let’s get rid of the shame and the guilt. Your loved one lives in a nursing home. They need extra care and you aren’t equipped to provide it. And you made a difficult decision. You didn’t just drop them off at the door. You visit as frequently as possible. Perhaps you know, at some level, it was the choice you had to make. But still. … Continue reading Nursing Homes & Shame (aka Nursing Homes Are Not a Punishment)

The Worst Day of Your Life

A women once told me that she took her husband to a follow-up visit with a neurologist. They were planning to stop at Target on the way home to grab a few things, including toothpaste. At the neurologist, they received life-changing news that she did not expect. Her husband, the doctor strongly suspected, had frontotemporal dementia. She didn’t know much about it but the doctor … Continue reading The Worst Day of Your Life

Personal Weather, Nature, and Swans

A guest blog by Mary Fogarty When my husband, who has dementia, gets agitated, and the weather’s not too bad, we go out looking for swans. Unless he’s also feeling what the social workers might call “unpleasantly confused,” and I might call something less polite, depending on who I’m with. Since I’m with you, let me just say that, at such times, all I want to do is … Continue reading Personal Weather, Nature, and Swans

Do What You Love Until You Can’t

Recently I was at a social gathering and was asked to talk to a friend of a friend who has been worried about his memory. I was immediately concerned when the friend of a friend didn’t recognize me and thought we were meeting for the first time (which we were not). We don’t see each other a lot, and maybe I am not that notable, … Continue reading Do What You Love Until You Can’t

Regret: I Wish I’d Known More

My experiences at the Dementia Simulation house so far been fun, interesting, hard, hilarious, sad, hopeful, and everything else. Someone asked me the other day what has been the most challenging. Regret. I realized that it’s witnessing the onset of regret in loved ones of those live or lived with dementia. I had no idea what it is really like for her. I wish I … Continue reading Regret: I Wish I’d Known More