Boost Body and Spirit with Nature: Tips for Care Partners and People Living with Dementia

June 27, 2017

“I can’t imagine a world where I couldn’t enjoy outdoor pleasures whenever I want,” said Mike Good, founder of Together in This. As I listened to Mike’s Podcast on the power of nature, I thought of my mother. Mom taught me to love birds, flowers, trees, and mountains. Even in her last days, a yellow rose…

Redefining Dementia and Focusing on Wellbeing

June 20, 2017

Several months ago, I was delighted to write an article highlighting some of the American leaders in dementia care. I will be occasionally spotlighting luminaries from that article who are redefining dementia and focusing on wellbeing. A version of this piece appeared in Signpost Journal: Journal of Dementia and Mental Health of Older People. This…

Passing Down the Punchline: A Father’s Day Retrospective

June 13, 2017

This blog is a tribute to my father, an honoring of my amazing brother, and a chance to share one of my dad’s favorite jokes. I welcome your favorite jokes and I wish you a lovely day of celebrating good fathers. Warmly,  Deborah THE JOKES ON HIM It’s the fifties. My brother Dan and I…

Laughing During the Dementia Journey: A Map to Increased Health and Happiness

June 6, 2017

“I feel so much better after all this laughing,” our friend told us. “My brain fog has lifted. I feel myself again.” Our friend has been struggling with memory issues and a dimness in her thinking. We had a wonderful time practicing laughing exercises with her.  The more we laughed together, the easier and more…

Laughing Increases Happiness and Health: Enriching the Dementia Journey

May 30, 2017

Ever since I interviewed Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of Laughter Yoga, I’ve wanted to learn more and laugh more. That’s because laughing increases health and happiness. There are no Downward Facing Dogs, Warriors, or other traditional yoga postures in the laughter practice.  Instead the focus is on gentle breathing exercises, easy movements, and, of…

Make Dreams Come True 

May 23, 2017

All her life, my mother dreamed of visiting Japan.  She loved Japanese art, food, and culture. But she thought such a trip was too expensive and complicated. Even as Mom struggled with cognitive impairment, her yearning of Japan remained. Then my brother moved to Tokyo and prepared to make dreams come true. He arranged for…

Adapting Hobbies to Meet Changing Abilities

May 16, 2017

Years ago, I worked as an activity director at a county home in Butler, Mo. There I learned about adapting hobbies to meet changing abilities. Albert taught me that even when you can’t grip a domino, you can still enjoy the game. Every Wednesday, we dropped him off at the town square for his weekly…

Widening the World Through Travel

May 9, 2017

As the waiter served dessert, Lori La Bey looked around the table at her family and smiled. She couldn’t believe she had pulled this off — her children, her siblings and their children, and her parents all enjoying a Caribbean cruise together.  Her mother was living with Alzheimer’s and her father had brain cancer: they…

Four Fine Ways to Keep Remembrances Blooming

May 2, 2017

How do you celebrate Mother’s Day  or Father’s Day when your parents are no longer living? As the day approaches, I think of my parents and look for ways to keep remembrances blooming. During the years, I’ve explored ways to feel close with my mother, father, and other loved ones who have passed on. Here are four of…

Engaging during the Dementia Journey: One Story and Six Tips

April 25, 2017

My satchel was packed with potential connectors, not the electrical type, but the emotional, engaging type.  I had a sheaf of favorite poems, an Audubon bird book, a list of songs Mom and I liked, some bright red Mardi Gras beads, several colorful scarves, and some paper and markers. I was eager to see what…

Deborah Head shot small

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Books & Videos

A ‘must read’ for every care partner because it really helps you to look at things differently! This book is very special in the way it provides you with hundreds of suggestions on how to be a good care partner for someone with dementia and enjoy this yourself as well. Deborah inspired me by bringing together so many positive examples of using creativity to engage with people with dementia.”--Marc Wortmann, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Disease International

“Deborah Shouse’s inspiring book provides caregivers with tools from which to create meaningful, life-enhancing activities that can strengthen their connections. Buy the book, read it, highlight what inspires you. As you make notes and bend pages to personalize this guide, you are creating a family treasure.”--Carol Bradley Bursack, Founder of Minding Our Elders

“Once again, Deborah Shouse delivers a book that softens our hearts and opens our minds to find fun ways to connect to the soul. No matter what our situation in life, no matter what our ability is to communicate, we all crave and need to be connected to one another.”--Lori La Bey, Founder of Alzheimersspeaks website