Happy Holidays from Dementialand (aka I Wish You Survival With Some Moments of Joy Thrown In)

I wasn’t going to write a post this week. I’m on holiday break from the university, and I thought I’d take a holiday break from writing as well. Yet I’m awake late into this Sunday night and rather than watch more reality TV or spend more money on Amazon.com, here I am with my laptop […]

Living in the Moment and Planning Ahead in Dementialand

But they’re scared. They understand Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease. They’ve watched the Glen Campbell documentary. They’ve scoured the Alzheimer’s Association website. They want to know everything they can to be as prepared as possible for the journey ahead. In many ways, they are the type of family that I appreciate working with–they actively seek out information to assist their loved one now and in the future.
Yet, there’s a point at which people can become too fixated on the diagnosis. There’s a point where education and preparation morph into worry and anxiety.
“All I think about all day is my mom,” the woman tells me. “I think about what her future holds and when she’ll be in a wheelchair. When I close my eyes, I picture her in a smelly nursing home being taken care of by people who don’t even know her.”

Mothers’ Day in Dementialand (aka What You Do Every Day Matters More Than What You Do Once in a While)

One of my favorite authors is Gretchen Rubin, who wrote The Happiness Project, a book that changed the way I look at habits and happiness. A quote from her book that stuck with me is: What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

It’s a pretty simple concept, but it’s helped me to change my life in subtle but meaningful ways. I have to create a daily life that reflects my goals and values. For instance, I have to be kind to the people I come in contact with each day to be a kind person. I can’t just go on a mission trip to a third world country once a year and call it good. My priorities have to be shown in my actions each day, not just once in a while, or they really aren’t my priorities.

Knowing Better and Doing Better in Dementialand

I am driving a couple hours to southern Iowa to present at a community center. It’s a drive full of soybean fields, cornfields, and an occasional Casey’s Convenience Store. I’m listening to a Spotify playlist including (embarrassingly) artists such as Flo Rida, Salt-N-Pepa, Tracy Chapman, the Jayhawks, and the Jackson 5. There may or may not […]

The Critical Emails I Get in Dementialand (and How I Came to Be Okay With Them)

When I first started writing this blog about 16 months ago, the only feedback I received was positive. Overwhelmingly and sometimes ridiculously positive. I repeatedly heard that it was smart, insightful, funny, and poignant. At that point, my readership included only my mother, my husband, and about four friends. None of them had a negative […]

Coloring Contests in Dementialand (aka Simple Things in a Complicated Situation)

They are having a coloring contest, I am told. “They’ll sit there pretty much all afternoon,” Kathy says, as I watch her mother and her daughter sit in the dining room at the nursing home with a tub of crayons and a stack of coloring books. There is something about it that fascinates me. A grandmother […]

Happy Holidays from Dementialand (And What Clark Griswold Reminded Me About the Holiday Season)

Welcome to Dementialand is on hiatus until 2016. In the meantime, I wish you tremendous holiday season. I’m not going to battle about language here. I accept well-wishes in any form. I’m not Jewish, but I’d rather you tell me Happy Hanukah with a warm smile than give me a sharp elbow or a middle […]