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The Buzz About Fragile Storm?

What Is All The Buzz About The Film Fragile Storm?

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio

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Thursday May 18th at 1pm, Dawn Fields is the director, producer, editor and co-writer of the multiple award-winning short film Fragile Storm, starring Lance Henriksen, a heartbreaking caregiver story.  We will discuss what all the buzz has been and the impact the film has had on its audience.

Dawn is currently focused on promoting the short film, which is now available for free at www.FragileStorm.com and she is also in development on her first feature film.

Contact Information For Dawn Field:



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60 Minutes Investigates & Explores Alzheimer’s


Last week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Lesley Stahl reports on a community in and around Medellin, Colombia, where residents may be the key to figuring out if Alzheimer’s might someday be preventable.  That’s because it’s the largest concentration in the world of people who carry a rare genetic mutation that makes them 100% certain to develop early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Stahl interviews one Colombian family who lost their father to the disease, thereby giving each of his seven children a 50% chance of suffering the same fate. Now, the children and several hundred of their extended family members are helping scientists by participating in a drug trial run by the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix.

The first step is for participants to be tested for the gene mutation — in a gene on chromosome 14 — but the results of the genetic test are secret.


“There’s no cure,” Stahl tells 60 Minutes Overtime in today’s online exclusive look at the broadcast. “There’s nothing really that works to even slow the disease down—very, very little. So why tell someone they’re definitely going to get this disease, when there’s nothing that can be done for them?”

See the full 60 Minutes Overtime piece here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-drug-trials-to-prevent-alzheimers-disease/ 

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Sometimes Life is Like Circus Peanuts

Sometimes Life is Like Circus Peanuts

By: Michelle Remold

I loved spending time at my grandparent’s house growing up, especially spending time with my grandpa. He was the “fun” grandparent and would allow us to do almost anything my grandma said we couldn’t, including sneaking us gum. One of my most vivid memories is my grandpa giving us his favorite candy, Circus Peanuts, a peanut shaped marshmallow candy. I disliked them when I was little and still don’t like them, but I quickly learned that while visiting grandpa and grandma, if grandpa wanted to give you Circus Peanuts you better take them because there was no other candy and if there was, we weren’t getting any. So I would take my handful of Circus Peanuts from my grandpa and pretend that I liked them.

As I was driving home from graduate school one night, I began to think about my grandpa and the dreadful Circus Peanuts. The more I thought about it, I realized that Circus Peanuts were a good analogy for life.

In earlier posts, I have written about how jealous I used to be of the kids in my class because their grandpa’s didn’t have Alzheimer’s and were still able to do things with them. By the time this realization hit me, my grandpa had been in the nursing home for a couple years. Little did I know that along the way, I was making memories.

By now, you are probably wondering what exactly Circus Peanuts have to with Alzheimer’s. Let me explain. I would be lying if I said that my experiences and journeys with having two grandparents with a form of dementia were easy. Truthfully, they each came with their own sets of experiences and lessons that I needed to learn and I am still learning from some of the lessons.

Much like with the Circus Peanuts, I have learned to accept what life gives me; which is often easier said than done. I still dislike Circus Peanuts, but treasure the memories associated with them. I might not like everything life throws my way, but each experience – good, bad, happy, and sad – is shaping me into the person I am becoming.

If there is a life lesson that Alzheimer’s has taught me, it’s that sometimes I just need to grab a handful of Circus Peanuts and keep on going because you never know what memories you are making or what lessons you are learning. Each time I see a bag of Circus Peanuts, I not only think of my grandpa, but also think about how Alzheimer’s has affected my life and reminds me that everything happens for a reason and though I may not know it at the time – it is shaping me. They also remind me to embrace each event in my life, good or bad, because each of these events are just handing me a bunch of Circus Peanuts and I will take each handful of Circus Peanuts and will make the best of them.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Aging from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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Life, Changes, and Family

Life, Changes, and Family

By: Michelle Remold

We all know life is one big learning experience. As I was preparing to write this post, I sat down and re-read the papers I wrote in college for my “Perspectives on Death and Dying” class. While sifting through papers I came across the paper I wrote after reading The Wheel of Life: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. In this paper we had to pick a quote from the book that stood out to us and state why. The quote I chose was from page 18 and it was: “Life is like going to school. You are given many lessons. The more you learn, the harder the lessons get.” This quote spoke volumes to me last week when I read it, the same way it did back when I read it for the first time.

As kids we are sometimes blissfully unaware of the things that are happening around us. However, as we grow up we start to learn lessons that shape who we will become and everyone experiences something different. My first “lesson” I learned was Alzheimer’s. Being young when my grandpa was diagnosed, I didn’t understand the disease. I just knew that I wanted to connect with my grandpa and I would eventually, as I got older, educate myself as much as I could on the disease.

The “lesson” that followed Alzheimer’s was change, which can be a hard lesson to learn. Everything changes, it doesn’t stay the same. Alzheimer’s has a way of progressing in ways you never imagined. Growing up, I knew Alzheimer’s was changing my grandpa, but everything else appeared to remain static. Suddenly you realize that things aren’t actually static and you wonder how you missed all the changes that were happening. People moving, getting married, hitting life milestones, and then you realize that you are not the only one getting older, everyone else is too which leads to the ultimate change in life, the death of a loved one. Death….it is the hardest lesson I have learned to date. I still remember the first death that truly had an impact on me like it was yesterday. It changed me, it changed my life, and it taught me a lesson I needed to learn. My grandpa’s death was the second close death I experienced. Through this I learned that while Alzheimer’s had robbed me of a grandfather growing up, it taught me so much more. Most of all it taught me love, compassion, and understanding in a capacity that I believe was greater than anything else I could have faced growing up.

Now I will touch on the third part of the title, family. I have written before about how important my family is to me. My immediate family is very small, but I have a very large extended family. My extended family is a family I am beyond grateful to have. A lesson that many people learn at some point is the importance of family and for me it has always been important. Growing up I was one of the few kids in my class who had a great-grandma and many great-aunts and uncles, I felt lucky because I had these people in my life. Fast-forward a few years and my dad’s mom now has dementia. Dementia has impacted my life once again. At some point last year it hit me that once my grandma passed away; my great-aunt will be her only living sibling. I realized that I needed to make more of an effort to visit her and her family; to make my own memories with them. I have now been to Iowa to visit them six times in the last ten months. It is time that I have come to cherish and made me realize I needed and still need to spend with them.

Truthfully, I started writing this post over a week ago and it really made me think, especially after one of my cousins passed away. This family was the same family who rallied around us when my grandma passed away in January and I watched it happen again this past week. While saying good-bye to someone you love is tough and heart wrenching, it also made my heart smile seeing the amount of love they all have for each other. Another example to me of why family is important.

Alzheimer’s brought a change into my life that I never would have expected, not only once, but twice. It helped me become the person I am today in ways that I can’t begin to describe. Change is inevitable; it might not always be wanted, but we often learn from it. As I wrote at the end of my paper, “We can take away from each experience what we are supposed to or we can decide to not accept it and miss out on what might be one of the biggest lessons we learn.” I definitely want to take away from each experience as much as I can.

So I want to thank Alzheimer’s for teaching me some of life’s toughest lessons on a larger scale; thank my family for being there through every change life has thrown my way and for being my support system as I chase my dream of helping those impacted by Alzheimer’s; and finally I want to thank anyone else who has been in my life and who has helped shape who I am today. As Flavia Weedn said, “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for a while, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never, ever the same.” Whether it has been people or a disease like Alzheimer’s, everyone and everything has some impact on our lives and for those impacts on my life, I am truly thankful.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Aging from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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Alzheimer’s — A Part Of The Plot?

Alzheimer’s — A Part Of The Plot?

By: Michelle Remold

One of my hobbies is collecting quotes. I started this hobby in college as a way to pass the time, but now I have a book to write quotes in that I hear or read. There are a few quotes that have stayed with me, however there is a quote by Ashleigh Brilliant that became one of my favorites because I liked the humor related to it, but I have also learned the truth behind it as well. The quote I am referring to is, “My life has a superb cast, but I can’t figure out the plot.”

This was one of the first quotes I wrote in my book. Being in college, a humorous side to this quote stuck out to me, in fact it still makes me smile. I remember thinking about people I met in college and trying to figure out how they might play a role in my life later on. Truthfully, outside of the group that helped me present my Memory Trunk program in nursing facilities and adult day centers and a few other friends, I still don’t have an answer for the roles everyone else has in my life. If nothing else, they helped make me the person I am today.

When I read the quote now though, it seems to have a different maybe deeper meaning. There are some people who have been in my life that have impacted it greatly. As I have written about before, my grandpa had Alzheimer’s when I was growing up and is really the reason I even became interested in the gerontology field. I have had many great-aunts and uncles who have taught me numerous things and a great-grandma who lived to be 97, who helped me realize it’s the small things in life that make it enjoyable, like sausage pizza. My life was also touched by dementia a second time with my dad’s mom, which taught me that though you may know something, you can always learn more.

In a way this quote also makes me think of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s affects and touches everyone differently, including caregivers. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t wonder why or what was supposed to come as a result of the disease both times it touched my life. The fact is that I did wonder this. My grandpa’s diagnosis led me to what I would eventually choose as a career. I don’t know what direction my grandma’s dementia will take me in yet and I have realized that that is okay.

I have learned that sometimes life isn’t meant to be figured out. Sometimes you just have to let the plot roll out in front of you. It sounds weird to say, but in my life Alzheimer’s has almost ended up being a blessing in disguise. It has taught me many life lessons and has brought me closer to family. It has taught me how to leave my reality and enter a completely different one. It has taught me patience, compassion, when to just not say anything, and the value of just listening.

Honestly, I do think my life has a superb cast of friends, family, cousins, coworkers, grandparents and mentors. I wouldn’t trade any of them. Another part of that cast who isn’t always welcome, is Alzheimer’s. I don’t doubt that my life will be impacted again by Alzheimer’s and that it will happen in a variety of ways. One thing I know though, is that I will learn from it, that somehow it will play a role in the overall plot of my life and that I will have my superb cast right there with me. After all, I just want to enjoy life while I can and help as many people as I can while I am here.


??????????????????????????????? Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Geriatric Social Work from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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The Importance of Family

The Importance of Family

By: Michelle Remold

I have been mulling this post over in my mind for about a month and I believe it has finally come together. It actually kept ringing through my head, so I finally decided to sit down and write it. My grandmother, who had dementia, passed away in January and that is when this blog post started piecing itself together.

At some point last year I made a promise to myself that I was going to spend more time with my family and relatives. I don’t mean just going to family functions, but really being present in the moment and making an effort to be with them, even if that meant detaching from my phone, emails, and social media. This promise to myself especially applied to my relatives in Iowa.

Last fall I made my first five hour trip to Iowa. I wanted to spend time with my family and truly enjoy it. I don’t know about you, but at that point I couldn’t remember the last time I went an extended period without my phone or social media. During that trip I logged out of my email accounts, didn’t check Facebook, and didn’t text or call anyone while there. It was wonderful! It was the most relaxed I had been in a long time. I quickly decided that I would be making another trip down in the spring. That trip happened this past weekend
It once again was a wonderful trip and I detached myself from my phone once again and was able to enjoy the visit. The trip was filled with reminiscing and laughter, but this trip had a slightly different tone as well. As I said, my grandma passed away in January and it is her sister (my great-aunt) and her family that I have been visiting in Iowa. It really hit me when my grandma passed away, that it was even more important for me to make the effort to visit Iowa more, as this is my grandma’s only living sibling. Coincidently enough, I had this trip planned for what happened to be shortly after my grandma’s passing. It was great to spend the weekend with family, to look at old pictures, and to share stories of my grandma when she was younger; after all, stories are a way to keep memories alive.

When I think back, I believe I promised myself that I would make an effort to spend more time with family after hearing the song, “Was That my Life?” by Jo Dee Messina. The chorus of the goes like this, “We just get one ride around the sun, in this dream of time. It goes so fast that one day we look back, and we ask: was that my life?” When I heard this song I immediately asked myself, what I would want to remember one day when I looked back at my life. Family has always been a big part of my life and I knew that one day I would want to remember the time spent with them. My family has always been my biggest support system and the people I could bounce ideas off of. I have written previously about my grandfather being the driving force behind why I chose a career in gerontology and why I have a passion for Alzheimer’s. Family truly does have a large impact on my life.

What I have learned is that family is important. You may not always like each other or get along, but when all the chips are down, family is there for you. I learned the importance of family when my grandpa was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when I was seven and this point happened to be reiterated to me after my grandma passed away.

Alzheimer’s and dementia have had a way of teaching me lessons during my life and for those lessons, I am thankful. After all, if I just get one ride around the sun, I want to make the most of it, create as many memories as possible, and most importantly, spend it with some of the people I love the most.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Aging from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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A Note From Norrms on The Purple Angel

happy 1st birthdayTo All Purple Angel Ambassadors across the globe:









Check out this link to see the progress being made.

For more information on the Purple Angel Project

US Click here

UK Click here

For More Information on Dementia & Caregiving

Click Below


Looking for Great Holiday Music?

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Willing To Help

Willing To Help

By: Michelle Remold

For as long as I can remember, Alzheimer’s disease has fascinated me. Since fifth grade, every research paper I wrote was able to, somehow, be tied to Alzheimer’s. I always knew I wanted to volunteer in dementia care units, but once I found out that I could have a career working with older adults and that I could work with families and individuals struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia, I was sold.

When it comes to learning about Alzheimer’s I seem to retain a lot of information about the disease and tend to jump at an opportunity to learn more about the disease. Last month I even bought a textbook on Alzheimer’s for no other purpose than to expand my knowledge.

It seems like with Alzheimer’s you can go from not knowing anything about the disease to be being overwhelmed with information, statistics, research articles, and so much more that it can be difficult to sift through it all and learn what is fact from fiction. It is incredibly overwhelming.

I have been lucky to have had college professors and mentors who have aided me in learning all that I know about Alzheimer’s and dementia. I have to say though, I am learning that while I do enjoy being around individuals who have Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is the caregivers that I am learning a lot from.

I love answering questions and am always willing to look up any information I am not sure about. People thank me for taking the time to talk with them or to get them some information they are searching for, but the truth is that they are guiding me into what I think will be my career path and I am more than happy to help. I have never seen it as an inconvenience to sit down and talk about dementia and Alzheimer’s, help with resources, or to just be a sympathetic ear. I am more than happy to help. After all, knowledge is power and the best way to increase knowledge about the various forms of dementia is to be willing to talk about them.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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Lost in Technology

Lost in Technology

By: Michelle Remold

In the past I have written about how communication about Alzheimer’s and dementia is, in general, important for increasing knowledge and awareness. However, great communication skills are also needed to have meaningful interaction with anyone, especially those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

I think in a world full of emails and texting, we are losing the value of face to face interaction. Face to face interaction is very important when communicating with people who have Alzheimer’s or dementia. From experiences growing up, I learned that I would get a better response from my grandpa if I sat face to face with him at his eye level while talking to him. He might only give me a smile or make eye contact for a short amount of time, but I knew that he knew I was talking to him and not to someone else.

I have recently again found this technique to work well for me. I have interacted with people that others will say don’t respond to anything and show no response what so ever. However, when I visit with them, sit face to face, at their level, and make eye contact, I get responses. The responses might not be an answer to a question, but they might be a laugh, a smile or a glint in their eye.

I think that with all technology gives us that is beneficial, it is also taking away from our everyday face to face interaction. I don’t think that anything can take away from the interactions that take place when someone takes the time to sit and talk with someone face to face. It doesn’t matter if it is day to day interactions or interacting with someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia, face to face communication is invaluable.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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A Place Of Comfort

A Place Of Comfort

By: Michelle Remold

Fall is my favorite time of year. When I was little I liked fall because that’s when my birthday is, but now I love the changing leaves, pumpkins, the weather, pretty much everything about fall. The other day I was driving home from work and about fifteen minutes into my drive, I found myself entranced in the leaves, which led me to think about the last Halloween before my grandpa was in the nursing home. That year we had gone to a drive through haunted trail. I was about nine and the trail scared me. I crawled into my grandpa’s lap and eventually down to the floor board where I hid under his legs – don’t worry, he wasn’t driving. After we left the haunted trail, I spent the rest of the drive in my grandpa’s lap, where I felt safe.

Typically these memories make me smile and I don’t think any more about them, but this time it seemed to be different. The last month I have been really stressed – two jobs, working on grad school applications, papers, a surgery in my family, planning programs, a presentation, and overall things that just seem to come up. I felt like I needed time to catch my breath for a minute. I spent yesterday baking breads and pie all day, it was very relaxing. Today I did a presentation on Alzheimer’s in another town. As soon as I mentioned my grandpa while speaking, doubt and anxiety seemed to go away and the presentation went very well. As my mom and I drove home, I again was looking at the leaves and saw myself sitting in my grandpa’s lap driving home from that haunted trail. I have also noticed that everything I found to be overwhelming lately, seems to now to be minute.

I think that thinking about my grandpa lately was a reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to and what better reminder to get than to remember a place like sitting in my grandpa’s lap, a place of comfort.

???????????????????????????????Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.

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