Issues in Identifying Dementialand (aka Why I Shouldn’t Be Left Home Alone)

My husband was at a conference all week, and I had a plan. I was going to paint the kitchen and put up a new light fixture. I sent a text to my friend CJ who lives in Michigan to ask if he thought I was capable of putting up a light fixture. CJ happens to be an electrician. He told me it shouldn’t be … Continue reading Issues in Identifying Dementialand (aka Why I Shouldn’t Be Left Home Alone)

“Role Reversal” in Dementialand

Although I used the term “role reversal” in the title, I’ll be really clear in telling you I don’t like it. I hear people say things about how they’ve become a mother to their own mother, or something to that effect. And I get where they are coming from, but caregiving for an older adult is different from parenting. First of all, most of us … Continue reading “Role Reversal” in Dementialand

My Least Favorite Dementialand Movie (aka Why I Hate The Notebook)

The Notebook. Ugh, The Notebook. Every once in a while, I will tell someone that I do research on dementia and work with individuals and families impacted by Alzheimer’s, and they say something like, “OMG! I LOVE The Notebook.” Um. What? I was horrified to learn that the first thing some people think of when they hear the term Alzheimer’s is some sappy Nicholas Sparks … Continue reading My Least Favorite Dementialand Movie (aka Why I Hate The Notebook)

My Letter to Caregivers in Dementialand

Back in November, I had a really bad day. Our cat, Macy, had been at the vet’s office for about a week when we had to make the decision to put her down. She was in kidney failure and her back legs had stopped working. My husband and I planned to say goodbye in the late afternoon. Right before that dreaded appointment, I had an … Continue reading My Letter to Caregivers in Dementialand

Oscar Night in Dementialand

A little over a week ago, Julianne Moore accepted an Oscar for her role in “Still Alice,” a movie about a woman with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She made the following statement in her speech: “So many people with this disease feel isolated and marginalized and one of the wonderful things about movies is it makes us feel seen and not alone. And people with Alzheimer’s … Continue reading Oscar Night in Dementialand

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