When Annoying People (Like Me) Visit Dementialand

A guy yelled at me because I talk too much. Oh, and because I’m loud and annoying. And maybe he had a point. I was doing a Memory Trunks program. I had a circle of about a dozen people in varying stages of dementia. Although I do my best to get people to talk, I was failing miserably on this particular day. Long silences. Empty stares. … Continue reading When Annoying People (Like Me) Visit Dementialand

A Pointless Story from Dementialand

I’m not Jewish, just for the record. I may or may not have the nose of a beautiful Jewish woman. That’s not the point here. Actually, I have no point today. This really is just a story. Take it for what it’s worth. I was at an adult day service center for people with dementia. A gentleman said to me, “You have the nose of … Continue reading A Pointless Story from Dementialand

Careers in Dementialand (Or What Serial Has to Do with Dementialand)

I was a little slow to the party, but I recently listened to the Serial podcast. It’s a spinoff of This American Life on NPR, in case you haven’t heard of it. If you haven’t listened to it but plan to, there really won’t be any spoilers contained here. Keep reading. It’s a series of twelve episodes that explores a 1999 murder case. A high … Continue reading Careers in Dementialand (Or What Serial Has to Do with Dementialand)

Love and Lipstick in Dementialand

I used to visit a particular nursing home frequently. I often saw a woman with dementia and her husband. She had been at the facility for several years. He lived down the road at a retirement community but spent most of his days with her at the nursing home. Her makeup was always perfect. Foundation. Lipstick complete with liner. Blush (or rouge, as I’ve learned it … Continue reading Love and Lipstick in Dementialand

What It’s Like to Live in Dementialand

A cure will be found for Alzheimer’s. I won’t find it. I’m not even looking. My mission is different. I go to fundraising and advocacy events. Most of the talk is about finding a cure. It’s a great cause, a good goal. We give money so that people in the future won’t know Alzheimer’s. And I hope they won’t. I write my check. And yet … Continue reading What It’s Like to Live in Dementialand

Conversations In Dementialand

A while back I had a conversation with someone who has dementia. I’ll call him James. The conversation went like this: James: You made it back from the city, I see! (He’s very enthusiastic about this, and I have no idea what city he is referring to. However, I am happy he’s so glad to see me.) Elaine: Yes! I always make it back! James: … Continue reading Conversations In Dementialand

But Is Alzheimer’s the Same Thing As Dementia?

Question: Is Alzheimer’s the same thing as dementia? Answer: Alzheimer’s is to dementia….as chair is to furniture. Alzheimer’s is to dementia….as orange is to fruit. Alzheimer’s is to dementia….as beagle is to dog. You got that? If so, stop reading now. You won’t hurt my feelings. If that doesn’t make sense or you want to learn more, read on. Dementia is a set of symptoms. … Continue reading But Is Alzheimer’s the Same Thing As Dementia?

Gifts from Dementialand

I’ll start by saying that dementia is NOT a gift. It’s not a normal part of aging. It is cruel and debilitating. And, yet, there may be gifts that come along with dementia. And when we are given a gift by dementia, we must accept it. (I tell the following story with the permission of the family it is about.) I spoke at an Alzheimer’s … Continue reading Gifts from Dementialand

How I Got to Dementialand

I grew up in a nursing home. My mom was a nursing home activity director, and I spent my time after school and on the weekends in the halls of Bethesda Care Center. I helped with Bingo, pushed people in their wheelchairs to the chapel for church, modeled my back-to-school clothes for a fashion show, and did dance routines for the residents. In some ways, … Continue reading How I Got to Dementialand