by Jackie Pinkowitz, M.Ed.
As Board Chair of the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), I am privileged to interact with friends and colleagues living with dementia across our country. These individuals are “Making a Real Difference” through personal pathways of advocacy in their communities, their states, and our country. Whether through speaking engagements, writing, social media, video podcasts, or sharing their artistic talent with others, each one advances a common mission of making the United States a place where people living with dementia or any other disability are included and appreciated — wherever they live! It is up to the rest of us to be open-minded and open-hearted enough to see past “a label” and get to know the wonderful people they truly are.
The following are just a few insights from some of my wise friends and colleagues in DAA:
“It is often in the smallest acts that we express the most profound human rights and needs. For those of us with dementia, we may only have simple words or movements to convey how we want to live this amazing thing called Life. We express these choices verbally, physically, alone, with others, even quietly communing with Nature. Yet the world must listen, because we’re still human, and our decisions must be respected. We’re still human and we’re still here. Once human, forever human.”™ Mary L. Radnofsky, Ph.D.
“When people try to protect me by saying and expecting that I am unable to do something, in essence they are crushing a piece of my spirit. Yes, I have many limitations. As so many others have, we are learning to deal with them. We are learning to make adjustments, working around challenges and obstacles, while still maintaining the ability to love and laugh. Michael Jordon said; “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never change the outcome.” Laurie Scherrer
“I have met some pretty phenomenal people in the Dementia World. These individuals are some of the bravest, funniest, most intelligent people I have come to know. I have also discovered my true mission in life and that is being an International Dementia Advocate. It gives me purpose, drive and passion to a level I have never experienced. “ Brian LeBlanc
“My diagnosis simply gave me a different venue to do the things that I had tried to do all my life – to make a difference.” Robert Bowles
Please help make our country a place where all individuals and families living with dementia are included and appreciated. Please be the change we wish to see.