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)
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
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
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
Flashback to the early 1990’s. I am sitting in the basement of my family home. My parents have just told me they are getting divorced. My dad is sitting on the couch. “Nothing is going to change,” he says. Yes, he actually says this. Nothing is going to change. It’s not true. He knows it’s not true. Even as a kid, I know it’s not … Continue reading Adjusting to Dementialand
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?
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
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