And she’s back

Here I am. It’s me. I’m back.

I needed a break. I tried to prioritize.

I put some stuff on the back burner. I just couldn’t do it all anymore. You know, increased responsibilities in my career as a professor. More community dementia education. More simulations. More students to oversee. More indoor cycling classes to teach at studio where I work. A new senior dog adopted from San Diego (yes, I do live in Iowa and his name is Ernest and we adore him).

So the blog dropped off my radar for a few months. One less thing to do, right? One less weekly assignment on my plate. More time for teaching. Researching. Putting away laundry. Watching college basketball. Petting our new dog.

The ironic thing is that the less I’ve written the more I’ve thought about what I need to write. I’ve talked with people living with dementia. (The world seems to forget that they are actual human beings sometimes.) I’ve talked with family caregivers. I’ve talked with professional caregivers. I’ve talked to community stakeholders. I’ve talked–because I struggle to shut up even when I need to–but I’ve also done some listening.

And…I state it here for God and my husband and everyone to read…listening is not my strength.

The more I listen, the more I realize I need to listen. The more connections I make, the more connections I realize I need to make. There’s always more to do, isn’t there?

I might have considered for a tiny itty bitty split second that my blog work was done here, but it’s not.

A few caregivers mentioned that at some point my blog had lifted them up when they were low or had given them a unique insights. Flattery will get you everywhere, right? But it’s more than that. It’s that people are getting something here that they aren’t getting elsewhere. And that makes me sad.

I can’t do everything, but I can write.

So I will. I have a few blog post series topics and webinar presentations up my sleeve. (Examples: Dementia and sex, dementia and food, dementia and firearms, dementia and depression–I could go on…oh, and I will….dementia and employment, dementia and pets, dementia and exercise, dementia and friendship, dementia and planning.)

I am thinking about gaps….What do we need to talk about? What are we missing? Where can I start a conversation? What do people living with dementia need and want? What do their caregivers need and want? What policies do professionals need to have in place to support these needs and wants? How do we make that happen?

But I am overwhelmed. There’s always one more obstacle to getting something done. I don’t know if I should work for big changes on a small level or small changes on a big level. There are days I wonder if I am making a difference.

And I’ve made the mistake in the past of being all or nothing. Either I will cure all dementias or do nothing. Well…my chemical engineer dad will tell you I didn’t do well enough in chemistry to cure all dementias, and I am certainly not doing nothing.

So, for today, let me assure that wherever you are and whatever you are feeling, you are not alone. Having dementia can be isolating. Being a caregiver can be lonely.

Isn’t it ironic that so many people going through similar things can feel so alone?

I can’t fix dementia but I want you to feel supported and not so alone. No matter what your challenge is today, I am rooting for you. Be kind to yourself and do something you love doing.

Until next week.

4 thoughts on “And she’s back

  1. You are like the hospice of dementia.

    As a chiropractor, I print off your blogs and offer them to my patients who are experiencing the things you speak so eloquently about…To let them know they’re not alone.

    That in itself is very valuable, and may build to bigger change.

    Joanna McGowan, DC Truro, Nova Scotia



  2. Oh, hooray! I’m sure it’s exhausting, keeping up with all you do. But yes, your blog is different. Yes, you fill a need. It’s lovely to read your words again. Thanks for coming back!


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