Posted in Uncategorized on November 23, 2010 |
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Fresh back from New Orleans and the 2010 GSA conference (Gerontological Society of America).
As chair of the Humanities and Arts committee, I was running from place to place quite a bit – and I must say, amidst the chaos of the conference setting, there were some considerable moments of magic.
One was the Marketplace of Memory symposium on Saturday noon. It featured some of my favorite folks in gerontology. Jesse Ballenger addressed the history of pharmaceuticals; Danny George looked at trends in neuro-fitness and neurobics; Pia Kontos explored the workplace and expectations and interpretations of various levels of staff; Sally Chivers read images of dementia in film; and Keith Diaz Moore addressed the built environment. BAtting clean-up was the amazing Janice Graham who really wove together the papers in an inspired summation that challenged us to examine the socio/cultural aspects of dementia that are in our power to change.
It was a small but engaged audience, and the discussion was as inspired as the presentations. I hope we’re able to find an outlet for them – perhaps one that also invites visions for moving forward in practice and policy.
Thanks to all the panelists for inspiring the field!
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Posted in Uncategorized on November 17, 2010 |
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It would be very easy for me to write about how moving Richard Taylor’s visit was here in Milwaukee. It would be easy, because I agree with pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth.
But the real reason I think his talks/sessions went so well is because Richard has a complex simplicity to his message. He makes himself completely approachable. He walks right up to people gathering in the room and introduces himself. He’s seeking out people with memory loss, and others he can inspire to become advocates for change in dementia care.
Richard came to my class on Tuesday afternoon and inspired the students by fully jumping in to the day’s lesson – learning how to juggle scarves. It was really a metaphor for how to piece together narrative… and Richard jumped right in.
Tuesday night he spoke for an hour and a half to a crowd of about 300 – a blend of UWM students (3 different gerontology classes and lots of Gero Certificate alums), faculty, community aging folks, and people with memory loss and caregivers.
Wednesday he spoke at the Helen Bader Foundation for the first of 12 “listening sessions” designed to guide the state in the creation of a plan for Alzheimer’s care as our numbers grow and grow. Then Wednesday night he joined a table of 15 at North Star Bistro for the festive launch of CAC’s working group to create a summer institute.
Thursday I got the distinctive pleasure of dining with Richard at the Milwaukee Art Museum (that crazy Calatrava building that is part whale and part seagull) and we hatched lots of plans to fight for the “social-ceuticals” as Richard calls them – or in my words, the “cultural cure.” Idea #1 = a dementia advocacy boot camp for people with memory loss!
Then Thursday afternoon he spoke to caregivers assembled in the Alzheimer’s Association’s lovely education room.
Thank you Richard for sharing so much of yourself…I know it’s draining. But Milwaukee is better for it.
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