Will I Be Next?

Simulated Alzheimer’s Offers Empathy

Simulated Alzheimer’s Offers Empathy

I knew where I was, approximately, but the room was dark and unfamiliar. I knew I had tasks to do, but I struggled to recall specifics. With the exception of a small circle of lucidity at the center of each eye, my field of vision was largely opaque, like I was looking through the wrong end of binoculars. Voices, garbled beyond comprehension, diverted my attention. I couldn’t tell whether they were speaking to me, to each other, or to no one in particular. I felt like sitting down. If I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do, what else could I do? I could sit and stare at the wall and drift off. At least it would pass the time. I started toward the rocking chair, but saw piles of clothes on the bed, and remembered then that one of my tasks was to fold the pillow cases. An otherwise simple undertaking proved difficult, however, as it took great concentration and physical effort just to grasp the fabric. A door slammed. More startling than the suddenness and force of the sound was the question of whether it actually happened, there in the room, or had occurred only in my mind. I shook the thought and pressed on. A thought materialized––something about the checkbook. Was I supposed to write a check or only produce it from the purse? But why would I get it out if not to write a check? And to whom? I found the purse on the counter, its dark contours blending into the darkness of the room. A siren blared and then faded. I took...
“Will I Be Next?” on “Alzheimer’s Speaks”

“Will I Be Next?” on “Alzheimer’s Speaks”

Producer Therese Barry-Tanner and Barb Goeckner (featured in the film) were the guests yesterday on Alzheimer’s Speaks, an online radio show. Hosted by Lori La Bey, the show is dedicated to shifting dementia care culture. Therese and Barb shared their personal stories of their connection to dementia, how the idea for the documentary went from idea to reality, the goals of the film, and how others can get involved in accelerating Alzheimer’s research. Listen to the full show: A Documentary Film Changing Perceptions of Dementia  Lori La Bey on ABC News:  The Voice of...
Connections Beyond the Loss

Connections Beyond the Loss

Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Not all will agree with that concept. Yet many caregivers, professional and personal, who work tirelessly and lovingly with those who have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD) may understand the theory behind those words. When traditional modes of communication break down, it can be challenging to engage or connect with a person who has ADRD. Verbal ability may decline, creating a need to find additional methods to communicate beyond words. Creativity and imagination are great tools to inspire and engage persons with ADRD. Memories in the Making® sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association is one such activity. Under the guidance of an artist facilitator, participants are offered a means of self-expression through the process of painting and drawing. In this program, a person with diminished verbal and organizational skills can communicate using paints or pencil by recreating a memory on paper or canvas. Lindsey Kamp, lead facilitator at the Mercy Health DaySTAE program in Cincinnati relies on the arts to help connect and offer successful in-the-moment experiences to those who attend the dementia program. Lindsey says, “Memories in the Making provides an opportunity to use artwork to share their feelings and tell their story.”  Participants enjoy the weekly session creating new art work. Lindsey says, “Memories in the Making unites those with ADRD in a socially artistic way.” Elaine, a DaySTAE participant who enjoys the art program says, “We just paint what’s in our heart, and sometimes it turns out pretty good.”                           The original art work also...
How Will You Spend Your Longest Day?

How Will You Spend Your Longest Day?

On the summer solstice, sunrise-to-sunset encompasses approximately 16 hours, depending on where you live. Imagine spending all those hours doing something you love – – or something personally challenging – – such as an Amazing Race-style day filled with biking, swimming in the ocean, golfing, playing squash. Or perhaps a board game marathon is more your style? Many of us have heard of the Alzheimer’s Association®’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s held annually in the fall. Did you know they also hold a fundraising event in June during the summer solstice? It’s called “The Longest Day.” This year’s official event day is on Monday, June 20, although teams may choose to hold their events on a different day. The title and timing of the event acknowledges how each day living (or caring for a loved one) with Alzheimer’s disease can seem like the longest day. Similar to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, individuals form teams and solicit donations to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association®. This event is different, however, in that walking may or may not be involved. You get to select whatever activity you want to do, which can be anything you love to do. Some choose a favorite hobby of someone they have lost to Alzheimer’s to honor their memory. Examples include: dancing, bowling, golfing, reading, watching movies, doing crafts, swimming, playing bridge, making music…the choices are limitless. Perhaps the best part is that you don’t have to join or form a team from the same geographical area: teams can be virtual! Check out the Longest Day registration page or their Facebook Page to see if there is already...
“Will I Be Next?” short work-in-progress clip screened at Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Conference

“Will I Be Next?” short work-in-progress clip screened at Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Conference

Will I Be Next? offered a screening of a short work-in-progress clip at the 30th Annual Wisconsin Network Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. The 3-day conference at the Wisconsin Dells saw an overall attendance of over 900 people, and offered 40+ break-out workshops. 78 people attended the sneak peek screening and feedback session led by producer Therese Barry-Tanner and Alzheimer’s nurse/sound person Amy Kruep. One of the film’s main characters, Karen McElwee Lloyd, responded to questions from workshop participants. “I’m excited to see the whole documentary,” wrote a participant. “It was informative and let viewers see how Alzheimer’s doesn’t just affect the person with it, but also the family.” “Emotional.  Hopeful,” wrote another. “The film personalizes the struggle families go through day to day in caring for loved ones. Often Alzheimer’s is behind closed doors – – unless you are in it, it is hidden from view.” “I feel the people involved in this study are very brave.” “(I feel) empowered to take control of my life through exercise and diet. Proud of the participants in the WRAP study for not giving up. . .” “. . .motivated to take better care of myself by exercising – – no more excuses!   I don’t want my children/grandchild to experience that type of caregiver hell!” These, along with much more feedback and insights will be useful in the continued filming and editing of the story. The team thanks all who attended and...