Archive for the ‘Mara Botonis’ Category

Independence Day – What does it make you think of?

Independence Day –

What does it make you think of?

For me, it triggers many things.  Fireworks and parties seems to be on the top of the list for most I talk to, yet this year I’m going a bit deeper for myself.  It’s a time of reflection on what it took to found the US and make it independent.  It’s about the price it cost us and how I want to look at being independent differently going forward.

I think of the bravery it took to break away and go away from a country many thought wasn’t working for them anymore and to create a new environment. To break away from a lifestyle which was the only one they ever knew.  To  reach for a vision they believed in with a passion.

Yet, as I look at what our country has become, I now want to break away from it, just as I have tried to do with dementia.  To stop accepting the status quo as normal, good and acceptable.  To try to improve the quality of care for those diagnosed and those caring for them.

Some may ask, but how does one start.  There in hand is your answer.


Stop being afraid of failure and fear.  The only real thing worth being afraid of is…

You not being all you can be.  You not standing up to your own values and You not using your talents.

As I have submerged myself in the world of dementia, I have found that what is lacking is not so much dementia specific but, rather our Care Culture.  This is something not really identified, appreciated or talked about.  So I ask you who have taken the time to read this to think about your own life – family, work, friends, community… and really do some soul-searching on how you as an individual can make our country strong and proud again, by becoming independent.  By becoming a leader.  If you are like me you don’t even like to listen to the news as it is all about disrespect and harm to others.

If we individually concentrate on our Care Culture, we can each take small steps which will have a big impact.  If we believe in the ripple effect of one.  If we understand and embrace the power each person holds to create change; not only with ones self, but our personal sphere of influence and the world as a whole.

If we all choose to step up and step out to make a difference.  If we choose brilliance and love verse destruction and hate.  If we choose acceptance verse judgement.  If we choose trust over defiance. If we choose a better life for ourselves and others.

Become independent in thoughts, words and actions to make this world a better place.  One we can be proud of. One which lifts souls verse slamming them to the ground. Do so, in any area that aligns with you and your authentic being will be seen, heard and noticed.

When looking at the fireworks tonight, think of all that is possible. All you can change, if you choose to believe in the power of yourself.

May we all have a wonderful and safe 4th of the July.  I look forward to watching our care culture shift to one of compassion and collaboration in the coming years ahead.

Dementia Friendly Cruise –

Find Out What All the Excitement Is About!

Watch The Short Video Below

We are honored by your response to our offering of the Dementia Friendly Symposium and Cruise and we are encouraging people to book their cabins before we are sold out!

For more details on the symposium and cruise go to https://alzheimersspeaks.com/cruise-with-us

Click here for the Symposium Program

Kathy Shoaf the travel agent handling the symposium and cruise can be reached at: 219-608-2002 or email her at Kathy.Shoaf@CruisePlanners.com

Color Your Mind by Maria Shriver

“This is an amazing book which brings a holistic approach to engaging those with dementia and their care partners.  I love how Maria intertwines the simple yet creative works of coloring which has been embraced by so many people looking for a peacefulness within and now has created a product specifically designed for those living with dementia.”

~  Lori La Bey, founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks


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Alzheimer’s Speaks Offers Free Tips When Dealing with Dementia

Alzheimer’s Speaks Offers Free Tips

When Dealing with Dementia

Contact us and we will email you the brochure.

Learn how you can host a screening and talk back of “His Neighbor Phil.”




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Hug a Father – Let Them Know They Are Appreciated

Hug a Father – Let Them Know They Are Appreciated

Throughout my life my Dad was a very special man, not just to our family but so many.  The stories friends would tell me later in life about how my Dad made them feel part of our family when they felt lost and alone in their own family.

My Dad allowed us all to dream, supporting us to go after our goals, never doubting our capabilities.

Dad was quick with a smile and a joke.

He was always there to help a friend or stranger.

He cared for my Mother with dementia and lead by example.

Dad had strong family values to the end.

I so miss my Father, but yet the lessons he taught through kindness will forever be with me.

May ever child have a man like my Father in their life.

We must all respect and know deep in our hearts being a Father just like being a Mother; isn’t just a biological thing.

Being a Father is about being a good person in heart and soul.

We all need good Father role models at all ages and stages of life.

So with great love and deep appreciation I say,

“Happy Father’s Day” to all the wonderful men out there.

Learn how you can host a screening and talk back of “His Neighbor Phil.”




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Take a Trip to DementiaLand” with the Amazing Author Suzka

 Take a Trip to DementiaLandwith Suzka

On Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio

Today we are lucky to have author Suzka with us.  She is a painter, muralist, set designer for the Monterey Jazz Festival, cartoonist and now… writer.  We will have a wonderful conversation about her book “Wonders In DementiaLand,”  which is an Intimate and Whimsical Account of Dementia, Memory Loss, Caregiving and Dancing Gypsie.

Lori La Bey, Maria Shriver and Suzka at the Move for Minds Event June 4th, 2017

Contact Information For Suzka

To Purchase the book ‘Wonders In Dementialand’available on Amazon

Website: http://www.dementialand.com

Facebook: dementialand

Facebook: Suzka Susan Collins

eAddress: suzka@dementialand.com

Twitter: dementialand

Instagram: Dementialand

Pinterest: Dementialand











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Move for Minds with Maria Shriver

Move for Minds with Maria Shriver


  • On Saturday, June 4th, Equinox Sports Clubs in eight different cities across the United States will become ground zero for a one of a kind experience to support women’s brain research into Alzheimer’s and raise awareness of the fact that Alzheimer’s disproportionately impacts women. For the second year, this unique event brings together two powerhouse brands in Equinox and Maria Shriver.
  • Participants in Equinox Sports Clubs in New York, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Miami and Washington, D.C. will fundraise to participate in a one-hour work out specifically designed by Equinox’s top fitness experts to optimize both body and brain health. This workout marries the benefits of yoga and mindful meditation with the adrenaline rush of cross training.
  • Following the innovative brain/body workout, attendees will engage with one another socially in a groundbreaking marketplace where they will get to meet and hear from leading superstars of brain research, fitness, food, nutrition, stress, sleep and caregiving.
  • Move for Minds is an unprecedented gathering of empowered women, men and leading experts who believe funding women’s brain research will help us solve the Alzheimer’s epidemic and answer the question: Why are so many people getting Alzheimer’s and why are the majority of them women?


  • Saturday, June 4th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in each of the cities except for Dallas (1-4 p.m.).


  • Some of the superstars joining participants from coast to coast include include Maria Shriver, Ann Romney, Dr. Lisa Genova, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Roberta Brinton, Dr. Adam Gazzaley, Dr. David Perlmutter, Dr. Richard Isaacson, Dr. Dena Dubal, Dr. Reisa Sperling, Bob Roth, Mallika Chopra, Brooke Burke, Leeza Gibbons,  Liz Hernandez, Dr. Pamela Peeke, Mary Hart, Moll Anderson, Lori La Bey and others.
  • Participants include over a thousand women and men of all ages who come together for an empowering, educational and inspiring day of exercise and information. They are intent on learning about brain health and the lifestyle choices to make when we are young to better protect our brains as we age.
  • Participants in the day’s activities must be at least 16 years of age. Anyone under 18 years old, must be accompanied by an adult.


  • 100% of the funds raised by the over 1,250 attendees and their network of supporters will benefit The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, a non-profit devoted to raising awareness of the fact that women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease and raising funds to research why that is.
  • Proceeds will support women-based research efforts at leading Alzheimer’s research institutions and in the labs of individual scientists.


  • Every attendee must sign up at MoveForMinds.org where they select a city of their choice, and register as a fundraiser. They then reach out to their networks via email and/or social media to raise at least $250 to support WAM. Gifts will be awarded to the highest fundraisers in each club.
  • If people want to form a team, they can call Samara Metz at (310)873-5000, and she will help them establish one. A team must consist of a minimum of 5 people, each of whom must have their own fundraising page and pledge to raise a minimum of $250.
  • If you cannot attend the event, donate to someone who can. Go to MoveForMinds.org and look for a friend or person you want to support. Or you can join donate to Maria Shriver’s page. If you’d like to sponsor a caregiver to participate in Move for Minds you can underwrite her $250 fundraising minimum at MoveForMinds.org.


  • There are 5.4 million people living with Alzheimer’s in America
  • Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s and two thirds of them are women.
  • A woman in her early sixties is about two times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer over the remainder of her life.
  • By 2050, 16 million brains will have fallen victim to Alzheimer’s and a majority of them will belong to our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends.
  • Alzheimer’s is the only disease among the top ten causes of death in America that cannot be slowed, prevented or cured.
  • Of the top killer diseases, Alzheimer’s disease research is severely underfunded. In 2017, the NIH will spend $910 million in Alzheimer’s research while it spends over $6 billion on cancer research, $1.3 billion on heart disease research and $3 billion on HIV/AIDS research.
  • Per a recent WebMD and Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight into Alzheimer’s Attitudes and Behaviors, while 96% of survey respondents have heard of Alzheimer’s, nearly half aren’t concerned with getting the disease and only 11% have asked their doctors about preventing it.


  • In fact, in a recent study of Americans at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease due to the presence of the APOE 4 gene found that the brains of the high risk individuals who exercised regularly looked much more like the brains of volunteers who were not predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile the brains of sedentary high-risk subjects appeared to be slipping, structurally toward dysfunction. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/02/can-exercise-reduce-alzheimers-risk/?_r=0
  • Regular exercise also helps those coping with the disease and their caregivers and research shows that fit patients and caregivers have far less anxiety, irritability and depression that those who did not work out. http://www.nbcnews.com/health/aging/better-treatment-alzheimers-exercise-n397461
  • Both yoga and meditation are ‘brain exercises’ that engage different parts of the brain through breathing, movement, changing, visualization and concentration. This forces the brain to develop new connections and stimulate neuroplasticity which prevents physical brain degradation. http://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/benefits-yoga-meditation-alzheimers-dementia/
  • Chronic stress and related stress hormones could negatively affect brain structures important for memory and cognition, like the hippocampus. Chronic stress is also associated with inflammation in the body and in the central nervous system/brain that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders of aging. Yoga can reduce stress hormones and inflammatory factors, and teach an individual over time how to cope more effectively and protect the body from going through the stress response. http://www.yogajournal.com/meditation/benefits-yoga-meditation-alzheimers-dementia/
  • A 2013 study showed that as little as 15 minutes of daily meditation can significantly slow the progression of memory loss. Eight weeks after beginning a regular practice, participants had improved functional connectivity in the default mode network (ie the part of your brain that never shuts down) and slowed shrinkage of the hippocampus (ie the part of your brain responsible for memory which is affected by Alzheimer’s). http://www.prevention.com/health/brain-health/mindfulness-meditation-slows-progression-alzheimers-and-dementia




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My Mother Has Inspired Many

Today Mom Is The Symbol Of Alzheimer’s Speaks

great escape article mom and me on website

But Growing Up I Always Knew…

She Was More Than My Mom

My Mom Dorothy Moeschter was a very special woman.  She was loving, fun and strict.  Organized and messy.  She engage all and was one of the fist to reach out to help those in need.  Mom believed in our democratic process and I can only imagine what she is thinking looking down on the world of politics today. She took a true interest in people and volunteered in a variety of circles from school, church, government, girl scouts and boy scouts, hockey and various boaster clubs.  Mom was well liked and had a great laugh.  Entertaining and sales were a passion for her and she was so much more until dementia showed up. 


Although the Alzheimer’s disease took much from mom and our family over 30 years, there was much that stayed untouched.  Our hearts and souls. Mom’s fun loving approach to life lived on strong throughout the dementia journey…even at the end.

quilt patch moms 3

Mom and Dad’s Wedding Day

mom and dad weddingRenewal of Vows

mom dad renew vows with boarder2


Our family cruise Mom with dementia and Dad with brain cancer

mom and dad family cruise dad braincancer mom demetia

Learn about the Dementia Symposium and Cruise Setting sail this fall for families to create their own memories!

Sometimes Our Family Focused

On What Was Gone Instead What’s Left

It was the rest of us who sometimes focused on what was gone, and than we missed all that was left. We had to learn to look for different things: the slight smile, the glint in the eye, the giggle, the touch and the word(s) that make your heart melt and connect us on a deeper level.

Here is just one example of Mom’s infectious love and joy.

Even when my Mother was dying she was teaching my family about the circle of life and how to care for those at the end of their journey here on earth. Even for her obituary I couldn’t resist continue moms teaching by adding the Purple Angel to her announcement.


May Your Legacy Live On Mom

Watch Maria Shriver’s Tribute to her Mother and Motherhood 

a must watch!


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Meet Me in Orange County June 4th

You Can Have An Impact, Even If You Can’t Make Maria Shriver’s Event. 

Become A Sponsor Help Raise Funds for Women’s Research on Dementia


Learn How You Can Host A Screening of the Hollywood Film

“His Neighbor Phil”


4 Pillars of Prevention



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LA Times Cover’s Cruise For Those Living With Dementia & Their Families


LA Times Cover’s Cruise For Those Living With Dementia & Their Families


Lori La Bey, founder of a Minnesota-based organization called Alzheimer’s Speaks, maintains an online community in which patients and their caregivers “meet” and discuss common challenges.

Now she plans to bring them and others together on a weeklong Eastern Caribbean cruise in November.

The Dementia Friendly Symposium & Cruise will feature chats in which Alzheimer’s patients discuss how they live with the disease and what strategies they use to focus on what they want to do rather than on what they can no longer do. READ FULL ARTICLE


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Meet Me in Orange County on June 4th

Can’t Make It?  You can Still Have An Impact. 

Sponsor me to help raise fund for Women’s Research on Dementia


At Maria Shriver’s Move For Minds Event


Learn How You Can Host A Screening of the Hollywood Film

“His Neighbor Phil”


4 Pillars of Prevention




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