Dementia Simulation House Update

Good morning! It’s been quite a spring semester (although it is certainly not yet spring in Iowa). In the first 10 weeks our dementia simulation house has been open, we’ve had over 230 people participate in the simulation. It’s fun, exciting, rewarding, and lots of other positive things…in addition to being overwhelming. Although my schedule is packed and some days are a bit chaotic, I … Continue reading Dementia Simulation House Update

Letting Go of Rituals (aka It’s Okay to Not Have an Easter Egg Hunt)

Because I am who I am and I do what I do, I sometimes pause for a moment at holiday celebrations and observe how most family holidays aren’t exactly dementia-friendly. Lots for prep work and clean up. Lots of people moving around. Lots of simultaneous conversations. Lots of competing noise. Lots of choices. Lots of lots of things. At the risk of being redundant, I … Continue reading Letting Go of Rituals (aka It’s Okay to Not Have an Easter Egg Hunt)


I have gotten to spend time with quite a few family dementia caregivers recently. And I had a revelation today. When they describe caregiving, they use words like anger, sadness, confusion, anxiety, and stress. Sometimes they also use words like joy, love, and connection. However, the word that I hear most frequently is alone. It’s ironic that my revelation is that a lot of people … Continue reading Alone

Life and Ventilators and Caregiving and Work and Storage Closets (aka My Last Two Weeks)

I’m about to make a long story short… My dad ended up on a ventilator two weeks ago today. Quick Q and A: Q: Did he have COVID? A: Nope. Q: How long was he ventilated? A: Just a couple days (fortunately). Q: Is he okay now? A: I’m not sure I’d say okay, but he’s back home. I am still pretty concerned about what … Continue reading Life and Ventilators and Caregiving and Work and Storage Closets (aka My Last Two Weeks)

One More Thing…

Some of you contacted me after yesterday’s post to see what we needed at the Dementia Simulation House and suggested I make an Amazon wishlist…so I did: Also, if you’d like to make a financial donation (big or small), you can use this link: I am completely overwhelmed and humbled by the generosity of people who want to support our project. Continue reading One More Thing…

It’s Happening!

I am excited, grateful, and a little bit stressed. We are starting a dementia simulation house at the University of Northern. Every once in a while, you dream about something, and the reality is better than your dream. For a while, I have mentioned my interest in doing dementia simulation to our Dean (who, by the way, is wonderful). We’ve talked about other spaces–conference rooms, … Continue reading It’s Happening!

Dementia Causes Hallucinations (And So Do Other Things)

I accidentally convinced a woman she has dementia. Let me tell you more. She’s perhaps in her 70’s. Her husband (and 7 other family members) have passed away in the last couple years. She sleeps in the same bedroom where her husband died. He fell between the bed and dresser and never got up. Since his death, she’s had some hallucinations at night. While some … Continue reading Dementia Causes Hallucinations (And So Do Other Things)