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…

Art as a Creativity Catalyst: Featuring Grace and Spencer Townley-Lott

April 18, 2017

How do we keep our sense of connection and creativity through the caregiving journey? That was a question I often asked myself. I wanted to share this story of an extraordinary couple– artist, dementia advocate, and social worker Grace Townley-Lott and her husband, puppeteer, actor, and playwright, Spencer Townley-Lott. Both use art as a creativity…

Embracing Person-Centered Dementia Values: The Dementia Action Alliance

April 11, 2017

One by one, we say hello via video conferencing. We are writers, artists, and arts advocates from all over the country. One sculptor enriches the visual aspects of our meeting by strolling through a museum, giving us occasional glimpses of vibrant art. We meet another artist’s dog. Via video, we see each other’s offices and…

Five Tips for Using Music to Connect

April 4, 2017

Even as a child, I was using music to connect with my parents. My father was a DJ and my mother enjoyed show tunes and old standards. Those songs often played on our record player and we all enjoyed listening. Later, I used that same music to connect me to my mom and dad during…

Sharing Ideas for Staying Connected

March 28, 2017

“How do we stay connected during the dementia journey?”  This is a question with dozens of creative answers. Recently, we spent time at Northland Shepherd Center, hosted by Dianna Englander. We  were sharing ideas for staying connected with the Together We Care Caregiver Support Group, a lovely gathering of family caregivers and friends.   Caregiving…

Connect through Movies and Memories

March 21, 2017

No one said, “Hush,” during the excitement of the paper airplane-flying competition in the Plaza Library. No one put a warning finger to his lips during the spontaneous conversations about favorite childhood foods. And laughing and clapping were encouraged during the two short films and two clips that anchored the Feb 11th Movies and Memory event, an…

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