An Inside Look at the Dementia Simulation House

I was going to write a blog post tonight, but it’s past 9:00pm and I’m still at the Dementia Simulation House…. I talk a lot about mental energy, and I just don’t have any left tonight. Instead, I am leaving you with this video about our house. Credit goes to Paul Pease, a senior at the University of Northern Iowa, who produced this video for … Continue reading An Inside Look at the Dementia Simulation House

Dementia is weirder than fiction

I don’t read much fiction. Correction: I don’t read fiction at all. I like non-fiction. I like to read about real stuff because what happens in real life is, to me, often stranger and more fascinating than fiction. I am not picking on fiction. I know many people read fiction as an escape from the real world, and I completely respect that. It’s just never … Continue reading Dementia is weirder than fiction

Dementia Simulation House Update

Good morning! It’s been quite a spring semester (although it is certainly not yet spring in Iowa). In the first 10 weeks our dementia simulation house has been open, we’ve had over 230 people participate in the simulation. It’s fun, exciting, rewarding, and lots of other positive things…in addition to being overwhelming. Although my schedule is packed and some days are a bit chaotic, I … Continue reading Dementia Simulation House Update

Letting Go of Rituals (aka It’s Okay to Not Have an Easter Egg Hunt)

Because I am who I am and I do what I do, I sometimes pause for a moment at holiday celebrations and observe how most family holidays aren’t exactly dementia-friendly. Lots for prep work and clean up. Lots of people moving around. Lots of simultaneous conversations. Lots of competing noise. Lots of choices. Lots of lots of things. At the risk of being redundant, I … Continue reading Letting Go of Rituals (aka It’s Okay to Not Have an Easter Egg Hunt)

Alone

I have gotten to spend time with quite a few family dementia caregivers recently. And I had a revelation today. When they describe caregiving, they use words like anger, sadness, confusion, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes they also use words like joy, love, and connection. However, the word that I hear most frequently is alone. It’s ironic that my revelation is that a lot of people … Continue reading Alone

Life and Ventilators and Caregiving and Work and Storage Closets (aka My Last Two Weeks)

I’m about to make a long story short… My dad ended up on a ventilator two weeks ago today. Quick Q and A: Q: Did he have COVID? A: Nope. Q: How long was he ventilated? A: Just a couple days (fortunately). Q: Is he okay now? A: I’m not sure I’d say okay, but he’s back home. I am still pretty concerned about what … Continue reading Life and Ventilators and Caregiving and Work and Storage Closets (aka My Last Two Weeks)