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Memory People: Where Strangers Feel Like Family

Memory People: Where Strangers Feel Like Family

by MARA BOTONIS
Contributor

A daughter shares that her mother has to leave her current care community.

The daughter quickly needs to find an affordable alternative that is decent and well-run.

A woman reveals that she misses being intimate with her husband since he started having more pronounced symptoms of dementia.

A husband writes about his deceased wife and the things he loves about her and misses most since her passing.

Within moments of sharing these stories, they are each individually reassured, encouraged, advised and comforted. These reactions come from strangers, who try to help – and there are lots of them.

The number of family caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s or dementia in the United States alone is currently estimated at 15.5 million. Worldwide, it’s nothing short of a global epidemic.

An epidemic that is largely lived out behind the closed doors of private homes in the early stages of the disease where the caregiver is often a spouse or adult child.

In these homes, past the mailbox, up the walkway and behind the doors, life is changing in indescribable ways for its occupants. Some changes are subtle, some are profound, and they all come with uncertainty.

But there’s hope, in a special support group.

Memory People

Caregivers, persons living with dementia, advocates and healthcare professionals (over 8,800 of them) have all found their way to a non-profit online support group on Facebook called Memory People™.

Memory People was started by Rick Phelps, who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease in June 2010 at 57.  Rick’s background as a first responder (Emergency Medical Services and Law Enforcement for over 25 years) no doubt inspired him to answer this equally emergent call.


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When Caring Takes Courage: A Compassionate, Interactive Guide for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers

Mara’s passion and life’s work has been to learn the best practices which capable caregivers (both professional and family member) use to find success, joy and hope in the face of this devastating disease and find a way to share that information with those who deal with dementia on a day-to-day basis. She is the 2015 Jefferson Award Recipient: Outstanding Public Service, and the 2015 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award Recipient: Outstanding Public Service on Behalf of and Throughout the United States. She continues to be an active speaker and advocate for those impacted by dementia worldwide. Learn more about her work at: www.whencaringtakescourage.com.


About the author

Mara Botonis

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