This week I’m in balmy Houston, Texas, giving some talks for the regional Alzheimer’s Association. Yesterday, I spoke in Beaumont, Texas, and met Nancy Ritter, who is 59 and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago. I was gratified to hear her say that my ideas resonated with her very well – it’s always most meaningful hearing that from those who know best!
Nancy is keeping a diary of her experiences and promised to send me some of her thoughts that I could share with others. Keep an eye on these pages down the road.
The folks from the Houston Alzheimer’s Association are a great group – very progressive and interested in the experiential model I am promoting. Today, I am giving the Keynote address for their conference for care professionals in Houston, and also an intensive workshop on how the experiential model can be applied to hands-on care scenarios.
My comments in March about the need to change the dialogue on dementia and inject more hope into the message is underscored by a story one of the folks at the AA told me yesterday. A 62 year-old local man recently committed suicide because he received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and based on what he had heard about how horrible the disease is, he decided he didn’t want to live with it.
We need to help people to live better with dementia, just as we need to change the experience of aging in this country–that’s where much more of our effort should be focused right now.
Finally, congratulations to DOCTOR Emi Kiyota!