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

Avoiding Dementialand

I hadn’t been volunteering for hospice too long when I was asked to stay with Isabel (not her real name) on Sunday mornings. Her family would be at church, and she couldn’t be home alone. Her daughter and son-in-law would be fine with staying home from church, but Isabel would have none of it. So I would come on Sunday mornings. I was in my … Continue reading Avoiding Dementialand

Inappropriate Tales From Dementialand

“We knew something was up when Mom told this weird story about Dad’s penis at a party,” a woman told me. Oh, boy. And it wasn’t just any party. It was a party with friends from church. And this wasn’t a woman who was known for disclosing inappropriate details about her life or her family’s lives. In fact, she was a private person who rarely … Continue reading Inappropriate Tales From Dementialand

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