Family Ties in Dementialand

A friend who works in the health care field sent me a text to tell me that she was reading my blog. She mentioned having experience with a patient who had dementia, but that the woman always showed up at her appointments with a neighbor. Her family wasn’t around–or at least wasn’t interested in her care. My friend was sad that the woman’s family wasn’t … Continue reading Family Ties in Dementialand

Missed Potential in Dementialand

We spend too much time thinking about what people can’t do rather than focusing on what they can do. And I am no exception. Sometimes I forget to look for the abilities and strengths of people with dementia. How blind can I be? Speaking of abilities…My friend Jen Eby is amazingly talented. She made me a beautiful quilt for Christmas. It matches the colors we … Continue reading Missed Potential in Dementialand

45 Seconds in Dementialand

I’ve known Erin Payne-Christiansen since I was in the first grade. She saw me through my awkward middle school years, which lasted until I was about 26. She was with me the first time I got to drive out-of-town after I got my driver’s license. The muffler fell off my Ford Escort on a busy road. We did the logical thing–stopped the car, ran out … Continue reading 45 Seconds in Dementialand

Picking Battles in Dementialand

I don’t mean to criticize dementia caregivers. Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging and draining. But I talk to a lot of caregivers who create problems where I don’t see any. Here’s an example. A woman approached me after a presentation I gave in the Des Moines area. She was concerned about her mom, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and recently moved in with … Continue reading Picking Battles in Dementialand

Pop Quizzes in Dementialand

I’ve just done a program and am leaving a memory care community. I’m just about the put in the “code” to exit the building (which I always mess up) when a woman gets my attention. “Hey!” she yells. “I’m a grandma!” She’s sitting on a couch with a pink blanket over her lap, and I decide to walk over and chat a few minutes. I’m … Continue reading Pop Quizzes in Dementialand

How Michelle Remold Helped Me Understand Reality in Dementialand

I’m a college professor, and I have favorite students. Maybe you think this is a horrible thing to say, but it’s unavoidable. I connect with some students more than others. And there are certain students for which I would go to the end of the earth. On the top of that list is Michelle Remold, who graduated a couple years ago. And maybe I haven’t … Continue reading How Michelle Remold Helped Me Understand Reality in Dementialand

Sex in Dementialand (Yes, You Read Correctly)

As a society, we don’t like talking about dementia. It’s uncomfortable. But I can top that. Today we are going to talk about dementia and sex. Awkward. Although I am not going to focus on the specific case and will reflect more on the larger issues at hand, a rape case involving an Iowa state lawmaker got me thinking. If you haven’t heard about the … Continue reading Sex in Dementialand (Yes, You Read Correctly)

Shattered iPods in Dementialand

The other day I was getting on the treadmill when I dropped my iPod. It landed precisely on its screen. And, yep, the screen shattered. It still works. Except if I want to adjust the volume. I’m still deciding how important that is. My husband, Bill, calls me the Osama bin Laden of electronics. It’s fair (although he recently left a FitBit out in the … Continue reading Shattered iPods in Dementialand

I Don’t Live In Dementialand

What is it like to live with dementia? I have no idea. I have a string of analogies I use to explain to families and caregivers what it’s like to live in Dementialand, but the truth is that I don’t know what it’s like. I know someone who works in adult day services. She works with a woman who has younger-onset Alzheimer’s. I’ll call her … Continue reading I Don’t Live In Dementialand

Yogis in Dementialand

Come to hot yoga, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. And I can’t lie. It is fun–in a sort of brutal way that leaves me dripping wet with mascara running down my cheeks. Yoga isn’t foreign to me. I’m a certified fitness instructor, and I used to teach some yoga myself. But hot yoga just seems different…intimidating…and really, really hot. Scorching. The instructor preaches a … Continue reading Yogis in Dementialand