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Six Years Since Dementia Took My Mother

Feeling Lost and Privileged

Each Day, Each Year Feels Different Yet the Same…

The power of my emotions comes in waves. An ucontrolled storm that bubbles up unannounced with no warning signs of the deep waves of emotion that crash through my mind, body, heart and soul. And yet, with each crashing wave that feels it could rip my body apart, I remind myslef of how lucky I was to have a Mother I loved so deeply, Because without that great love, I would not be privledged to feel such great pain and loss. Nor would I have those oh so many wonderful joy filled moments that I got to experience and through memory get to replay as often as I wish.

Today I wanted To Honor Mom On The Anniversay Of Her Passing

Mom may you feel the love that bonds us to this day. May you continue to guide my work and expand Alzheimer’s Speaks to help others cope, break down stigmas and find new ways to support and eventually cure all demetias. Without your dementia, my journey to shift dementia care around the world would have never even started. Thank you for the gracious lessons you taught me.

Below are parts from an article I wrote for my first Mother’s Day without Mom.  It was a very healing moment writing about her. I feel it still stands true and maybe, just maybe it will help others on their own healing journey.  I hope  you enjoy it.

By Lori La Bey – copyright 2014

Lori La Bey of Alzheimer's Speaks & Senior Lifestyle Trends
Lori La Bey founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks

Through my mother’s thirty year journey with dementia she continued to guide and teach me; love me in ways I did not know where possible, especially in times of illness.  It’s now been 72 days since mom slipped into the heavens and joined my father. Although I can rationalize her journey on earth is over and she is now in a much better place, free of pain, fully mobile and mind intact; but I still struggle with the loss of you.

Today I Will Visit Her Grave Site With My Beautiful Daughter Danielle,

Who Loved Her Grandma So Very Much.

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Going There Gives Me A Sense Of Peace.

headstone

The Cemetery, A Place Where I Can Honor Her,

Leave Roses And Balloons In Honor Of Our Relationship And

The Love We Had For One Another.

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Throughout My Life, My Mother Has Been My Logical And Loving Conscious.

Mom Was My Rock.

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Mom was the one I could always depend on. She was not only my mother, but my best friend.  As my friend Lisa Hirsch titled her book, “My Mother My Hero”  pretty much sums it up!

Through tough times she was my guide and support.

On special occasions we celebrated together.

Mom Taught Me:

To look for the tiniest of things to be grateful for.

To hold a hand out to those in need.

To love deeply.

To consciously make a difference in my life and others.

To work hard and be responsible.

To understand my impact on others; realizing, appreciating and honoring the world is much larger than myself and that we are all interconnected.

To understand that to be a Mother one does not have to have their own child; but rather to be willing to adopt a child in mind, body, heart and soul.

To make a connection and difference in someone’s life, is to be a Mother.

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Mom Showed Me How By The Way She Lived Her Own Life.

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Leading by example showing me a variety of ways to be a compassionate person.

How to listen to others, not just hear their words.

To look for nonverbal signs of what others truly want or need, when their words were lost or pride held them back.

To look past the everyday judgments and see the whole person standing before me.

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Through Illness Mom Taught Me:

To let go of control. To realize it is a mirage, a trap of guilt and pleasure.

To embrace the simplicity of life.

To smile and spread grace.

To love more deeply than I ever knew was possible.

To laugh hard and authentically to embed the moment into my soul.

To look for and create joy in all moments of life, no matter how difficult they are.

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To talk openly and honestly with others acknowledging all emotions without embarrassment.

To understand we are all in this life together and that shame, guilt and denial shut us down. Realizing the only way to get past those crunching emotions is to be open, honest and proud you’ve recognized them and what has triggered them; allowing you to move through them. Past them. Over them.

To not only say, “I’m sorry” when wrong, but to change my behavior to avoid it from happening again.

To feel my fear, think of alternatives to remove it and to be brave enough to take action to reclaim the life I envision.

To follow my instincts even when they seem goofy or senseless.

To trust in a higher power than myself, knowing I’m never alone.

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To honor everyone’s beliefs.

To realize prestige, money and objects are just things.  They will not make you a better person; until you realize they can be powerful tools to expand your work for the greater good.

She taught me the importance of being person centered or what I like to call relationship based and what it truly means – which is how and why I created “Your Memory Chip.”  –  Are they Safe?, Are they Happy? Are The Painfree?

Through All These Lessons And More,

I Find I Still Want Her Back In This Physical World Where I Live.

Some days my heart aches so bad I think it will explode; or maybe, just maybe it will stop beating all together.  I logically believe and know in my heart mom is in a much better place. In heaven with my dad probably dancing and laughing with many friends and family who have also passed.

But Today, My Mind Wonders…

How Long Will The Pain Of Her Loss Last?

My heart longs for the warmth of her being.

My body reaches out to touch and embrace her, wanting to feel the calmness she always gave me.

My soul wants to be in her physical presence.  The presence that grounds me and allows me to feel strong and confident; even when weak.

My nostrils want to take in one last breath of her essence.

My mind wants to create more moments of joy with her.

Yes Today I Will Go To The Cemetery,

Where I Know She Is Not.

Mom’s soul is not limited to the small patch of grass next to her headstone.

Mom is in the air I breathe.

She is in the sunlight that warms me and ignites my growth.

She is the rain that falls, filled with nutrients and washing away the toxins.

She is the snow that chills me and brings a brilliant beauty by white washing this canvas called earth.

She is the sunset that screams at me to be amazed by our God and the beauty which surrounds me.

She is the moon that calls me to reflect, regenerate and give gratitude for the life I am blessed to live.

Mom, each and every day I honor you,

As you warmed my heart, taught me soul lessons, loved me unconditionally as I have taken missteps, stumbled and fallen.

To all the times you were there to pick me up and wipe me off.

Who kissed my booboo.

Give me a hug when I felt unworthy.

Who sat silently in my presence when no words were needed to make me feel safe and loved.

To your hand, when you reached out to let me know I am never alone.

To your words of encouragement when I was down.

To your thoughtful and thoughtless

celebration when I would finally got it right!

Mother you will always be so very special to me.

An “Earth Angel” guiding me while in this physical world.

Thank you to all Mother’s, for who you are and what you do for the world at large.

Thank you Mom for all you taught me.

All you gave me.

All you continue to give me from the other side.

Your continued connection through dreams and through our souls has been a beautiful gift to me.

May Each Of You Reading This Appreciate Those You Love Daily. 

heart on sheet music

I thought I would add this short video, one of many, which means the world to me.  It’s of my mom singing in her end stages.

For More Information And Resources On Dementia And Caregiving

Go To Our Website Below.

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Feeling Grateful on Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I am truly focused not only being thankful and grateful for my wonderful family and friends but all the amazing people that visit and support all of Alzheimer’s Speaks platforms. Your comments, likes and shares continue to expand our reach and help us shift dementia care from crisis to comfort around the world.

My sincere gratitude goes out to all the people I have been lucky enough to interview over the years. Each person sharing their authentic voice how dementia and/or caregiving has impacted their life. Each giving us tips and resources to help us all live graciously together.

To all the organizations who have hired me to do keynotes, training and/or consulting for staff, families, management and communities.

I pray that each of you have an amazing day that carries over for the remainder of the holiday season and into the new year.

For those missing loved ones that have passed, like I am, I hope you find a calmness knowing none of us can feel great loss without first having great love. May that knowledge bring you a peacefulness and calmness to you.

Please know you have and will always continue to matter to us here at Alzheimer’s Speaks. Sending love and blessing to each and everyone of you.

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio – Shifting dementia care from crisis to comfort around the world one episode at a time by raising all voices and delivering sounds news, not just sound bites.

Watch Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio Video Interview Below

Thank you for joining Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio.  We hope you subscribe and share this episode with your family, friends, clients and colleagues.

Book Your Next Event, Staff/Management or Family Training for 2020 & 2021 with Lori La Bey today! Consulting and Mentoring also Available.

See what Others have to say about Lori La Bey

I want to echo the thanks and appreciation of my colleagues… Your presentations were movingly authentic, fully engaging and wonderfully informative. Thank you for all that you are doing, and all that you’ve done for us!

Carla Koehl, Director of Community RelationsArtis Senior Living of Lexington

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge WA

For More Testimonial

                                            Diana Pierce and Lori La Bey

What Questions Do You Have For Those Living With Dementia?

Let Us Know and We Will Do a Chat on The Topic!

Juggling Dementia Care &

Finding Balance

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Find A Memory Café In Your Area

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Unseen Gifts in Dementia

This Episode of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio is Available On & After: Thursday – July 25th, 2019 at 2pm EST, 1pm CST, 12pm MST, 11am PST, 7pm London time and July 26th at 6am in Australia

Click Below To Listen To The Show

Call into the live show a (323) 870-4602  and ask your questions or make a comment.

Lori La Bey talks with author Wendy Wells-Chanampa about her book The Unseen Gifts of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia; The Greatest of These is Love Come and join us for an interesting look at how we care and how we can find joy and love in the process. Learn ways to reframe and reduce the stress you carry when caring for a person with a form of dementia.

Contact Wendy Wells-Chanampa at:

Email:  wjchanampa@gmail.com

Website  www.seniorconsultantssrc.com 

Click Below to Download Your FREE Copy of Your Memory Chip™

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What Questions You Have For Those Living With Dementia?

Juggling Dementia Care &

Finding Balance

Downloadable Tips Below

UPCOMING PUBLIC EVENTS WITH LORI LA BEY:

Coming to Woodbury, MN – Sept 25th and 26th

Coming to Toms River, NJ – Oct 8th and 9th

Coming to Elmhurst, IL – Oct 16th & 17th

More Information to Come

Diana Pierce and Lori La Bey

Schedule Your Next Event with Lori La Bey https://www.alzheimersspeaks.com/contact-us

See what LeadingAge has to say about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge WA

For More Testimonial

Fight Alzheimer’s Together

Push Dementia Forward – Participate!

Find A Memory Café In Your Area

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Dimensions of Dementia – A Sons Journey with His Mother

Click Below to Watch the Interview

Lori La Bey talks with Author, Elvis Gardin, about the dynamics between a mother with Alzheimer’s disease and a son trying to protect and help her live the best life in her elderly years and at the end of life.  You will hear their story of love, courage and battles and triumphs.

Elvis has written a book about their journey and how it challenges even the best care partners intentions.  Their story will make you cry, cause you to laugh and provoke you to think more conscientiously how you care for another person. The book, “Dimensions of Dementia” is a candid and raw story which comes straight from the writers’ heart to yours.

Click Below to Listen to the Show

Order your book and get it personally signed on Elvis Gardin’s  website below:   www.DimensionsofDementia.com

Email:  dimensionsofdementia@yahoo.com

Diana Pierce and Lori La Bey

Schedule Your Next Event with Lori La Bey https://www.alzheimersspeaks.com/contact-us

See what LeadingAge has to say about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge WA

For More Testimonial

Fight Alzheimer’s Together

Video Interviews with Those Living with Dementia

Push Dementia Forward – Participate!

Click Below Download Tips

Find A Memory Café In Your Area

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Dementia – A Path Revealed

Tune Tuesday April 30th, 2019 at 2pm EST, 1pm CST, 12pm MST, 11am PST, 7pm London and in Australia on April 31st at 6am.

Click Below to go to the show

Call in to speak with us (323) 870-4602 or just listen by phone too!

Author, Carlen Maddux talks with Lori La Bey about his book: A Path Revealed: How Hope, Love, and Joy Found Us Deep in a Maze Called Alzheimer’s. Carlen shares the best advice he ever received for caring for another, the hardest things he learned on his 17 year journey with his wife’s dementia and why it’s important to be attentive to the little things and more.  Join us for an insightful conversation.

Martha Maddux

Contact Information For Carlen Maddux

Website:  www.carlenmaddux.com

Email:  carlen@carlenmaddux.com

Book Available on Amazon:   A Path Revealed: How Hope, Love, and Joy Found Us Deep in a Maze Called Alzheimer’s

Fight Alzheimer’s Together

Lori La Bey, CEO and Founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks, joins Diana Pierce of “What’s Next with Diana Pierce” to help us reframe our expectations to replace fear with HOPE!

Diana Pierce and Lori La Bey
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Push Dementia Forward – Participate!

Schedule Your Next Event with Lori La Bey https://www.alzheimersspeaks.com/contact-us

Upcoming Public Events with Lori La Bey

Friday, May 3rd – 10:30am – 12:30pm

Educational Program

“As the Cookie Crumbles”

Gable Pines at Vadnais Heights      651-829-3171

1260 East Co. Rd. E, Vadnais Heights, MN 55110

Friday, May 10th – 10:30am – 12:30pm

Film Screening & Talk Back

“A Timeless Love”

Gable Pines at Vadnais Heights      651-829-3171

1260 East Co. Rd. E, Vadnais Heights, MN 55110

Friday, May 17th  – 10:30am – 12:30pm

Educational Program 

“Shifting from Crisis to Comfort”

Gable Pines at Vadnais Heights      651-829-3171

1260 East Co. Rd. E, Vadnais Heights, MN 55110

See what LeadingAge has to say about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge WA

For More Testimonial

Video Interviews with Those Living with Dementia

Click Below Download Tips

Find A Memory Café In Your Area

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We Are Family- The Butterfly Model

Alzheimer's Speaks Radio with Dr. Cathy Greenblat and Corinne Maunder

A New Dementia Film

“We Are Family”

The host of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio, Lori La Bey is proud to interview her friends Corinne Maunder and Cathy Greenblat who created the film, “We Are Family.”  It was shot in Nottingham, England at Landermeads where life is celebrated daily. Dr David Sheard is the creator of the Butterfly Model featured in this film. Corinne is the Director, Producer and Camera Operator and she owns Fire Films.  Cathy is the Executive Producer and Photographer for the film.  These two amazing women have done several exceptional films on dementia care which can be found at this website: SIDE BY SIDE: LOVE AND JOY IN DEMENTIA CARE A MULTIMEDIA PROJECT.

Here is our interview below

Enjoy Their Other Films:

Corinne Maunder & Dr. Cathy Greenblat Joint Website:

Go to Joint Website

 Contact Information for Corinne Maunder

Email  Website 

Contact Information for Dr. Cathy Greenblat

Email Website

Looking for a Keynoter?

See what LeadingAge has to say about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

For More Testimonials

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Starts Feb 17th, 2019

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In Honor of Susan Suchan

One voice that has been significantly missed this past year is Susan Suchan.  She lived her life fully even when diagnosed with dementia. We continue to celebrate her birthday and the love, compassion and dear friendship she brought into our lives.

Through Death,

Our Connection Remains

It was an honor to work with Susan on Dementia Chats.  Her insights were brilliant and her laughter contagious.

A few of us gathered to honor what would have been Susan’s 62nd birthday.  Please watch and feel free to share Susan’s life and the impact she had on others.  Remember each one of us have the opportunity to lift and inspire others by sharing our authentic self with one another, just as Susan did.


For poems by Mary Radnofsky read on the above video Click Below: https://www.alzheimersspeaks.com/images/Poetry/2_poems_mary_R_about_susan_suchan.pd

To see Truthful’s blog on Susan Click Below: https://truthfulkindness.com/memoriam/susan-suchan/

You never knew what would happen next….

A Bit More About Susan

Susan Suchan was the mother of two grown daughters and five beautiful grandchildren. She was a nurse for 23 years and was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD) at the age of 48; an additional diagnosis of Frontotemporal dementia(FTD)/Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA). Susan advocated for and about the “lived experience”, working to change perceptions, stigma and help bring to life, and the realness of her disease process. She has had the opportunity to speak Nationally and locally. Susan was awaiting the release of a documentary featuring her life, showing the effects on friends and family relationships, finances and end of life discussions. The film is called, “Susan’s Story” and is still in need of funds to complete.

Here Are Some of Our Dementia Chats Sessions Featuring Susan

Help Make “Susan’s Story” a Documentary, a Reality 

In honor of what would have been Susan Suchan’s 62nd birthday, her family and the producers of the documentary, invite you to help complete the film.  The documentary is in post-production and the final $125,000 is still needed to complete the film. 

Please contact Russ Kirkpatrick, the Producer/Director of the film, if you have questions or would like to make a contribution. Tax deductible contributions can be made to one of two 501(c)(3) organizations associated with the film. 

Contact information: russ@kkp.film

Link to the trailer of Susan’s Story: https://vimeo.com/302739507

Looking for a Keynoter, Consultant or Trainer?

See what LeadingAge has to say about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

For More Testimonials

Click Below Download Tips

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Alzheimer’s Disease – Like The Heart Of An Onion

Alzheimer’s Disease – Like The Heart Of An Onion

onionBy Lori La Bey found of Alzheimer’s Speaks

This is a story I wrote about a visit with my Mother with Alzheimer’s years ago.

She is now passed and I do miss her so.

mom pic in the heart of the onionI went to visit my Mother today at Maplewood Care Center, her nursing home.  It’s hard to believe she has been there since 2001, and that she asked to move into the nursing home.  Who would have thought?  Surely not me, Mom was always going to live with us. Nine years in the nursing home has been an incredible journey of friendship, love, and awakening.    Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined my Mother’s path would change my career and my way of life, but it did and I can’t thank her enough for what she has taught me through her illness.

mcdonalds hot fudge sundaeToday when I went to visit Mom it was just prior to supper time.  I decided to pick up a Hot Fudge Sundae from Mc Donald’s for her anyways.  She loves her Sundaes from McDonald’s chipped teeth and all.  As I scooped the ice cream with the black plastic spoon that came with the sundae, I was anticipating Mom’s smile once her lips felt the cold.  Instead, Mom’s lips popped open and closed around the spoon.  I gently pulled the spoon out from the lips that trapped it as the ice cream melted in her mouth.  My wrist soon turned to scoop another serving of hot fudge, and I saw Mom winkle her face like crisp dollar bill being scrunched in a powerful hand.   Today It was evident the cold was causing her pain, yet she wanted more.  I guess the fudge out weighted the pain, for today anyways.

After dessert was gone we went onto the main course.  Chow mien, peas and carrots, a whipped fruit salad, all per aide.  The baby food texture does nothing for my pallet, but it works well for Mom and she doesn’t seem to mine.  Who am I to complain anyways, especially when I know she can’t chew with her dilapidated teeth.  As I chatted with Mom and the staff I noticed one of my favorite people was missing from the dining room.

“Where’s  Lillian?” I asked.

“Oh she passed about two weeks ago.” One of the staff said in a soft compassionate voice.  My heart sunk to my toes.  I hadn’t seen Lillian in the past month between being out of town and visiting Mom later at night when she was in her room.  I felt horrible I hadn’t looked for Lillian when I was there.  My mind raced knowing there was no way of going back in time. I will miss Lillian, she made my heart smile.let_my_heart_smile_through_my_eyes_quoteLillian had befriended my Mother, watching and checking up on her throughout the years.  When I would come to visit Mom, Lillian would scurry over, grab my hand, look deep into my eyes, and share stories with me. Her soft loving smile positioned on her aged and wrinkled face was one of my favorite things to see.  Some days Lillian would sit and visit with Mom and me, other times she thought I was her daughter.  On these occasions she would grab my hand, lead me off to a private setting where we could sit next to each other holding hands and sharing stories uninterrupted.  Lillian’s crystal blue eyes could calm a tornado and her soft smile framed a strong and amazing woman who was a gift to know.  It was just in the last year Lillian started to fail physically losing her balance; needing a walker; which many times she would forget was hers.  Lillian was the elder, the wise one on the floor loving and caring for those around her until the day she died. If I’m not mistaken, she recently turned 104 years old.  I would have loved to have met her family, but it’s not likely now.  I will miss her beautiful crystal blues eyes, her soft fail hands that would reach for mine, and her compassionate voice like that of an angel.

Losing Lillian has made me realize, Mom could go any time.  Mentally, I’ve known this, but the loss of Lillian made the thought sink into every pour of my being.  One day, there may be no reason to go to the nursing home.  Mom will not be waiting for me.  She will not surprise me with subtle facial expressions, or a goofy comment, or a little giggle that lightens my spirit.  What in the world will I do when the time comes for Mom to pass?

I know many think I should be relieved as I am released from this “Caregiver Role.”  They view this journey I’ve been on with my Mother as a burden.  But truth be told, I will deeply miss her.  I will miss that shell of a body that is all many people see.  For me there is so much more to Mom than her shell.  I guess I see Alzheimer’s disease like peeling an onion.  There are many layers and like the heart of the onion the soul of a person is always in the middle and never dies first.

For More Information on Dementia and Caregiving Click Below.

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Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio – Join Us to Discuss Dementia/Care Farms Plus The Author Of “Don’t Leave Yet”

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio -Tuesday June 23rd, 2015

11am EST, 10am CST, 9am MST,  8am PST and 4pm London Time

062314 ASR Dementia Farms Banner author constance H don't leave yet

Join Us to Discuss Dementia/Care Farms Plus The Author Of “Don’t Leave Yet”

Welcome to Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio.  We are thrilled you are going to join us. Please know on all of our shows we love to hear from our listeners. So feel free to call in or use the chat box to talk to us.

Today we have Maarten Fischer a Dutch Native who moved to Montana and will explain the concept of Dementia/Care Farms. Maarten has been involved in “Multifunctional Agriculture,” including “Care Farms.” In the Netherlands they are the largest sources of day programs with over 1500 farms empowering  30.000 clients on an annually.   Contact Maarten via:  Website or call  406-752-3697

Also joining the conversation will be Eilon Caspi Ph.D., Gerontologist & Dementia Behavior Specialist. Check his Website or his blog

Our second guest will be Constance Hanstedt author of “Don’t Leave Yet, How My Mother’s Alzheimer’s Opened My Heart,” which was named a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards for memoir. Contact Constance

Website        Facebook    

For More Resources on Dementia and Caregiving go to Alzheimer’s Speaks.

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