Monday, 7 July 2014

Changing the Image of Care

My recent trips to Australia continue to bear fruit by creating new projects that fulfill the mission of "seeing dementia differently."

I've included an article below--Changing the Image of Care--which was published in the June/July 2014 issue of the Australian Journal of Dementia Care. Written by Fiona Calvert, the article tells my story and talks about my mission of changing the way dementia is seen, but also describes the important work being done by Starrett Lodge in Australia, and how they are changing the image of care and providing a stimulating and loving environment for their residents.

Click here to read the article Changing the Image of Care (Australian Journal of Dementia Care).

Here is the short film Finding the Why: Enabling Active Participating in Life in Aged Care, which is referenced in the article. Produced by filmmaker Corinne Maunder, who created the film Seeing Dementia Differently, this video also includes many of my photos.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

20 Memory Care Experts on Caring for Alzheimer's Patients

The Caregiver's Guide to Alzheimer's Disease: 20 Memory Care Experts on Caring for Alzheimer's Patients is a useful guide to more effective caregiving.

The producers of this guide asked 20 experts three important questions on memory care. They then compiled their answers into a comprehensive caregiving guide to Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, which you can find by clicking here:

Print the guide out and save Lori LaBey's short video ( to watch many times.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The first step in being a dementia-friendly community

Love, Loss, and Laughter was the focus of a recent article by Anita Rufus on, the newspaper for the Coachella Valley. But I'd like to talk about another of Anita's articles, which talks about making Coachella Valley a dementia-friendly community and what that means. One of the most poignant lines in her article reminds me that creating a dementia-friendly community starts with you and I, and it's really just that simple:

The next time the person in front of you in line at Starbucks is confused by too many choices, or someone at the checkout counter at the market has trouble counting out change, instead of getting impatient and huffy, offer to help. That is the first step toward the Coachella Valley being a dementia-friendly community—and we all have an investment in that.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Something Worth Remembering

I have been back in the USA for 15 months and I'm happy in many ways to be here, but still adjusting to many things. As I read the press reports about the "failures" of the early days of registering for insurance under Obamacare, I think about how good it was to live in a place that assumed that all citizens have the RIGHT to health care, and how hard it was to explain that many Americans didn't believe that. I remember how difficult it still is for me to understand how we allow such easy access to guns.

And now I have a speech out of Texas that is worth remembering and replaying. I thought this was not only fully unexpected, but a wonderful statement of the sort to be proud of. So though it has nothing to do with the central theme of the explicit subject matter of this blog, I am posting it for its decency and humanity.

Thank you Dale Hansen for giving me something to feel good about as I turn off the news at 11 PM:


Friday, 17 January 2014

Seeing Dementia Through a Different Lens

A lovely article about Love, Loss, and Laughter, the photo exhibits, seeing dementia differently, and my work in general, was posted today on the website The Social Issue, which is part of The Guardian. Here's the link: Seeing Dementia Through a Different Lens. The author, Saba Salmon, came across my work while doing research for another article about dementia. Intrigued, she contacted me, and this is the resulting piece. Please read and share!!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Love, Loss, and Laughter Film Passes the 4,000 View Mark

Today, I received a tweet from Alzheimer's New South Wales that the film by Australian film maker Corrine Maunder had over 4,000 views on YouTube. What great news!

If you have yet to see the film, here it is!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

ALIVE INSIDE selected for the Sundance Film Festival!

As film maker Michael Rossato-Bennett says:

Our dream of waking the world, helping them see the life that is there to be awakened in our elders and ourselves, is now, one very big, huge step closer to coming true!!!!
Yesterday Michael announced that his film, Alive Inside, was selected as one of sixteen documentaries for the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Alive Inside documents Dan Cohen's Music and Memories project, which I wrote about on this blog last May (click here for the original blog post). Dan had been working on a program of delivering iPods to people with dementia, along with earphones and individualized playlists. Based on his belief in the power of music for people with dementia, Dan started bringing iPods to nursing homes, each loaded with music selected for individualized tastes, to see what difference the music would make in the lives of residents with dementia..

Michael began filming Dan's project, and he became so enthused that he went well beyond the original intent of a short video to describe the Music and Memories project to a full length documentary with multiple dimensions, including not only Dan but also Dr. Peter Whitehouse, Dr Oliver Sachs, etc.

No doubt you have seen the clip from the film that features Henry, who "comes alive" after listening to music that has been specially selected for him and loaded on an iPod. The clip went viral and over 6 million people have seen it. If you haven't seen it, here is one version of the clip (it's worth the few minutes you will invest watching it, as the transformation in Henry is nothing short of miraculous).

Dan continues to grow the Music and Memories project. There are staff training programs around the US and Canada, where people learn to help the elderly make meaningful individualized playlists (it's not as easy as it sounds but they have it broken down into component parts that can be mastered relatively easily). Other groups abroad are also developing iPod donation programs by children and adults, church groups, bridge clubs, etc!!!

The Alive Inside film has a new website that is well worth your time to look at:

Congratulations again to both Michael and Dan on their life-changing work!