The Memories Project receives recognition for Alzheimer’s advocacy


Ezvid Wiki

The Memories Project blog is now in its ninth year, having started it shortly after my father’s death in 2011. Over the years, the blog has been featured on NPR and other outlets and has grown to be an advocacy platform for those with dementia and their caregivers.

The latest recognition comes in the form of a video, featured on Ezvid Wiki. The Memories Project is featured along with six other worthy organizations in a video titled, “7 Organizations Dedicated To Addressing Alzheimer’s.”

You can watch the video below:

Founded in 2011, Ezvid Wiki holds the title of world’s first video wiki. Its YouTube channel has over 500,000 subscribers, with nearly 300 million views since its founding.

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You have been diagnosed with Dementia. Now What? — Dealing with Dementia

Those of us who have cared for loved ones with Alzheimer’s can’t help but think about their chances of developing the disease or another form of dementia. In her latest Dealing with Dementia blog post, Kay Bransford shares the most important things to consider. 

I am guessing that many of you share my fear of dementia. For those of us with loved ones who have lived with it, we know how devestating it is for the individual as well as the loved ones that surround them. But it doesn’t have to be. Once diagnosed, you have so much opportunity […]

via You have been diagnosed with Dementia. Now What? — Dealing with Dementia

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February 21, 2020 · 9:27 pm

How technology can be an ally to caregivers


Google’s Super Bowl commercial, “Loretta,” touched a nerve. I was very moved by the love story the commercial told, inspired by the grandfather of a Google employee. The ad shows how technology (in this case, Google Assistant) can be put to good use, allowing a man to fondly remember his late wife through images and sound. Many people felt the same way I did about the commercial, but a vocal minority expressed their reservations.

While I can understand people’s concerns about privacy rights and the automation of our lives, we can’t let our fears trump the benefits that technology can offer. For example, in this commercial from Google, a simple tool offered many benefits, especially to older generations and their caregivers.

  • Digital photo album: While those of us of a certain age may treasure our physical photos, we have to understand that for younger generations, digital photographs are the norm. I love looking at old photos in physical form, but I also love having access to those same images online. It also makes sharing from afar so simple. In this day and age, when family members often don’t live near one another, this can be a major benefit.
  • Using reminders to prompt memories: While critics found this feature creepy, those of us who have dealt with dementia in our families know how precious memories can be. I know of a family caregiver who writes out cards with explanations to the daily questions she receives from her mother who has dementia. The cards are a great source of comfort to her mother (and sanity-saving for the family!) A smart assistant could recite the recorded answers.
  • Combatting loneliness: This point is controversial, as I read one commenter who interpreted the Google commercial to mean that we have permission to leave old lonely people on their own with a smart device as a substitute to visiting them. I don’t interpret the ad like that at all. But loneliness among the elder population, especially in rural areas, is a real concern. Anything we can do to alleviate that isolation can be beneficial both mentally and physically. My mother had a talking parrot toy she talked to when Dad moved to the memory care center. The need is there for such interactive devices.

I strongly feel it is in our best interest to embrace technology while holding companies accountable when they violate privacy rights and engage in other nefarious activities. Bottom line, technology is not going away. I prefer to educate myself and others on the benefits and be a responsible user versus burying my head in the doomsday bunker.


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Book giveaway with family theme


There’s no better time than February to celebrate family. And caregiving  is one of the best ways to demonstrate unconditional love. Caregivers come in many forms, and one may not even recognize they are a caregiver. For those who care for children, pets and other family members, along with professional caregivers who treat their clients like family, this book giveaway is for you.

The Parenting, Pregnancy, Partners and Pets Giveaway will continue through the end of the month, and my award-winning book, The Reluctant Caregiver, is among the titles available. Hope you find some books to enjoy!

Valid through Feb. 29, 2020: Parenting, Pregnancy, Partners and Pets Giveaway via Prolific Works.

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Dementia and Dinner — When Dementia Knocks

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What we eat, and how we eat says a lot about who we are. If a loved one forgets to eat, add meals because they forgot they already ate, or start altering foods in strange ways, that may be a sign that it’s time to visit the doctor. In her recent blog post, Dr. Elaine Eshbaugh discusses common ways that dementia can alter a person’s dietary routine.

With my father, it meant he had an increased appetite, but sometimes forgot how to use utensils. Near the end of his life, he forgot how to swallow, which is a more complex action than people are aware of.

We eat to live. But food is more than fuel. Food has strong ties to family rituals, celebrations, and emotions. Food is love. I’m thinking of a time, over 15 years ago, when my long-term boyfriend dumped me like a bad habit. Food started arriving in the mail. My mom send Red Vines licorice. My […]

via Dementia and Dinner — When Dementia Knocks

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February 1, 2020 · 10:06 am

Challenges of dying at home, revisited

This week, NPR aired Patients Want To Die At Home, But Home Hospice Care Can Be Tough On Families, the national version of a story that first appeared last year on Nashville’s NPR affiliate. I was interviewed for this series, and shared my personal challenges in tending to my dying mother at home.

This is such an important conversation for the nation to have and it is a cause near and dear to my heart. As I state in the story, I am not anti-hospice by any means. My father died in a facility and that was a horrible death. But caring for my mother who died at home had its own unique challenges. Both experiences scarred me for life, leaving me with regrets and with a mission to help other families avoid the mistakes my family made.

I encourage everyone to read and/or listen to this series and think about your own situation. Family caregivers need to be clear-eyed about the demands they may face in caring for a loved on at home at the end of life. It can be the most tender of bonding moments, a final act of love and sacrifice for a beloved family member. Knowing the pitfalls and identifying potential gaps in care ahead of time can help you from becoming overwhelmed and burned out.

Finally, for those who did not have a good experience with home hospice care, know that you are not alone and it’s not your fault. Forgive yourself for anything you may be blaming yourself for (I’m still working on this part.) Your loved one would want you to let go and move on, free of guilt.



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Bathroom Safety Tips For Seniors — The Diary of An Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Good tips! It’s so easy to overlook all of the alterations needed to keep an elder loved one, especially one with dementia, safe in the bathroom. My mother did not have dementia, but she fell and broke her shoulder while using the toilet in the middle of the night. She never fully recovered from that injury, and her mobility was limited because of it. Falls in the bathroom are all too common, so beware the risks and take action to keep your loved one safe.

Sign up to get these posts and a whole lot more delivered right to your inbox! The Diary of An Alzheimer’s Caregiver – Appreciate the good, laugh at the crazy, and deal with the rest! A primary concern of senior citizens is whether they can continue to live independently as they get older. Their loved…

via Bathroom Safety Tips For Seniors — The Diary of An Alzheimer’s Caregiver


January 16, 2020 · 4:36 pm