Finding More Joy Than Sadness

shared, with permission, from Erin Shaw Washington It’s my mom’s birthday today — she would have been 68. This picture [below] is centered on my sister and my big kiddo, but there is mom right there at her side. She developed this visual disability pretty early on in her dementia that only progressed over time. She got to where she couldn’t really see her grandson, we don’t think… but his noises and chatter he made while he sat next to […]

Meaningful Connections

by Nancy L. Kriseman, LCSW, Geriatric Consulting Services As an eldercare Clinical Social Worker, I have worked with individuals who are living with dementia and those caring for them for over 35 years. Midway through my career, my mother was diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s at age 71. My mother lived with Alzheimer’s disease for 17 years, she died at 87 years old. Throughout this journey, I wanted to find ways to stay positively connected to her. As mom’s dementia progressed, […]

Discovering the Essence of My Father: A Care Partner’s Perspective

During the last few years of my father’s life, I had an incredible opportunity to journey back in time with him to discover the essence of his personhood.  As his journey with Alzheimer’s peeled away the carefully crafted layers of his life history, I learned to pay attention to what was unfolding.  Our visits together became a journey back through time, one that offered me the precious opportunity to better view the unencumbered essence around which my Dad’s life had […]

A Relationship that Weathered Lewy Body Dementia: Robin Williams and Susan Schneider Williams

By Juliet Holt Klinger October 4, 2016 The DAA thanks our Partner Juliet Holt Klinger and Brookdale for allowing us to re-post this blog. One of the most compelling accounts of sustaining a relationship with a loved one with dementia has just come from Susan Schneider Williams, wife of the late comedian Robin Williams. In her open letter to the American Academy of Neurology in its journal Neurology, Schneider Williams takes the reader – and hopefully many neurologists – through a detailed […]

Finding a balance between risk and an enjoyable life for someone with dementia

By The DAA thanks our Partner for allowing us to re-post this blog. You want to keep your loved one with dementia safe, but you also want them to enjoy life as much as possible. So how do you get the balance right? Find out what you need to know about Positive Risk Taking Could this be you? You know you can’t wrap them in cotton wool and that the person you’re caring for needs to make the […]

Maureen’s journey: ‘We have a positive attitude – we’ll try anything once!’

The DAA thanks Maureen and Mike and for allowing us to re-post their story Maureen Pike’s husband Mike was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) at the age of 59. Here Maureen explains how they’re both continuing to enjoy life. How was Mike diagnosed? It was quite a long process. Mike had always looked after himself and led a healthy, active lifestyle. The only time he’d ever been ill was as a teenager when he had an […]

Living Well with Dementia: The Pygmalion Effect

By Karen Love, DAA Executive Director In 1968, Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson published groundbreaking research that showed teacher expectations of students became self-fulfilling prophecies. At the beginning of a school year first and second grade students’ IQs were tested. The researchers randomly selected a group of students regardless of their actual test results and led the teachers to believe that this group was capable of great academic achievement. At the end of the year the students were retested. The group […]


By Cynthia Janus, M.D., author of THE ALZHEIMER’S CATASTROPHE: The Long Uphill Battle Against Alzheimer’s Disease and Why We Can’t Afford to Lose People who are diagnosed with dementia, and those who love them, embark on a challenging journey as the lives they had previously imagined are changed forever.   I know this because I was on this journey for at least thirteen years with my husband, who had dementia, ultimately diagnosed as Alzheimer’s type. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, […]

Preventing Compassion Fatigue

by Kay Glidden, MS Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist & Trainer Co-owner, Compassion Resiliency Dr. Naomi Remen said in her book, Kitchen Table Wisdom: “The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” Do you ever feel frustrated or impatient taking care of your loved one who is living with dementia? This is a normal consequence of […]

Making a Profound Difference

by Jackie Pinkowitz Chair CCAL – Advancing Person-centered Living As November’s chill fills the air and autumn leaves begin to fall, our hearts and minds naturally turn to thoughts of Thanksgiving, a holiday that invokes coming together with kindness and caring towards one another. The Picker Institute describes their Always Events® as “… aspects of the patient (person) and family experience that should always occur when patients (individuals) interact with health care professionals and the delivery system.” Imagine the profound […]

“Empower the Least Empowered”

by: Jill Harrison, PhD., Planetree Experience Advisor On a recent visit to a nursing home, I overheard the following conversation while I was in the dining room of a locked memory care unit. “What is this?” a resident asked pointing at a mug on the table. “It’s coffee. You like coffee. Go ahead and drink it,” said a staff member who was busily wiping off nearby tables. The resident took a sip and recoiled. “But, it’s not even hot,” she said. “You […]