Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

And Then It Hits You

So this morning, I thought I was going to be productive, I did some work that I wanted to do, information sent off to Kate Swaffer, a very brief call with Tamara Claunch, an email to Dr. Nate Bergman, putting him in contact with Tamara and getting him lined up as a speaker for DAI.
I first met Dr. Bergman, after he had heard an interview I had done, through that he researched me, then reached out to interview me, which is the above link, this interview happened in April, I’m happy to share it here. Dr. Bergman then researched DAI, and was amazed with what he learnt, and in a good way, he believes DAI, can be of value to many of his patients.
But back to my day, I looked at my calendar three times, realized, no it wasn’t Brain Health Hub day, that was actually last week, grrrr, another mess up, oh well so my calendars clear, I can go get some much needed time in Nature. Wanting time near water, and trees, and I actually hugged many trees today, it felt good to hug them, I am not able to hug a person, I haven’t hugged anyone for so long not sure what will happen when I can, but hugging a tree that’s allowed, getting connected to the earth, how it felt so good.

So some beautiful, but want I can’t show you was tat shortly after arriving, my phone vibrating several times alerted me that I should maybe check it, a number of messages, the last one saying meeting starting in three minutes with the zoom link, oh crap, and this is a really really important meeting, so sitting on a bench, I took in this very important meeting, until my fully charged phone ran out of battery, being on zoom, using video, uses a lot of power, my phone died for the last bit of the meeting. Oh I feel like crap over this, I have the meeting scheduled for next week. I’m glad I was in the woods for it though, it was a difficult meeting, I actually had tears at one point. So after my phone died, continuing the walk was good for me.
But the other thing that I wanted to mention that I forgot to earlier here, was that before I had thought I had a free day, I had been listening to my interview with Dr. Bergman, it hit me listening to it, how much difference there is from even a year ago, but go back just a couple years ago, and the decline was there glaring at me as I listened, and could hear the hesitation as I word searched, how often I had to stop to try to put my thoughts and words together. Then the mixed up and messed up meetings, dates and times. And yet I still get “ you don’t look like you have Dementia”. Just spend a day or two with me, you’ll never question that again. Oh well it all worked out, Dr. Bergman will join us for a DAI Brain Health Hub, I made most of the meeting, and I enjoyed all that Mother Nature had to often, and I got to hug a lot of trees.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings Stress

Beyond Words

Yesterday I had the privilege of taking in a webinar presented by Dementia Alliance International, the presenter Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai, delivered a presentation so powerful, that when it ended I heard from many who said they burst into tears when the meeting ended.
I have been fortunate enough to hear Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai before, but this presentation came at a time when many of us whether we were attending as a DAI member, a guest or a professional, needed to hear this powerful message. It had such an impact on me I am still struggling to put it into words, what I can tell you is that when it is loaded onto DAI’s YouTube Channel, it is a presentation you will want to take in.

It came it seems at the perfect time, it’s sort of like that perfect storm is taking place, so much happening in the world, the pandemic, health lockdowns, political unrest, much uncertainty for people, alarming rates of homelessness, even organizations seemingly competing with each other instead of working together for the greater good, looking at how they can help each use the strengths each have to ensure the best outcomes.

Photo by Eva Elijas on

Bring in this powerful presentation, for me personally, it came at a time, when amidst many changes in the effects of my illness, I have been struggling, feeling ineffective, feeling like no matter how much I try or want to do its not enough. Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai’s presentation reminded me that Rome was built brick by brick, and for every person we touch through our work to make things better for all we do are building something brick by brick. He reminded all of the importance of DAI, in the world of Organizations in the Dementia Arena, the uniqueness and the amazing strength by those involved in DAI, to establish, maintain and grow this very global organizations, to see people from so many countries coming together to support each other, to build better communities, within our Dementia communities. DAI has a done what no one else has been able to. I was reminded that no matter how small my part in DAI is, it is important. I was reminded that for each person we reach whether we are reaching them individually or through our organization, we provide a ripple effect. That ripple will continue to spread.

I have so often said in my writings and interviews the DAI was life changing and life saving for me, yesterday’s presentation was affirmation of that. I am proud of the work being done, I am proud to watch so many of DAI’s members who go on to do incredible work in their own communities, cities and countries, for thats the ripple effect, 100% without a doubt its DAI’s crowing glory, watching all those incredible people doing so much. DAI has helped many go from broken to thriving, watching people find hope and purpose and then going out and spreading it further.

So to be reminded of the importance of doing and reaching even one, was an important message today, at a time when I was wondering how much longer could keep going. I was reminded that I just have to do what I feel I can, and it will be enough, and if I can mentor and help others along their journey, it is enough.

Each piece and twist and turn, every hard day, builds my resilience, builds my ability to make it through the never ending changes we must face when living with Dementia. It also leads to reminding me of all the other pieces and places in life where this is true.

I have many thoughts swirling from this presentation and I can not wait to share at our support groups, and beyond. I’m sure I will be be digesting and absorbing much for days to come.

My heart is filled with Gratitude and Thanks to Tamara Claunch for bringing Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai to us, to DAI, for being so unique in the world of Dementia, for always striving to encourage and support members, and never ending appreciation of and to Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai for bringing such an important message to us.

as a foot note: you can find Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai’s books on Amazon

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

Celebrating Alone

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Photo by Vlada Karpovich on

It’s 430 in the morning the moon is full and beautiful, I woke up feeling like I needed to capture some things here, I have to do them in these moments as they are here, or they forever disappear.
Yesterday being my birthday became a day unlike any other. I have during my 62 years spend many birthdays alone, not normally by choice but just by life happening. I have learnt to do many things alone out of wanting to have and do a life well lived rather than not “because I’m alone”. So yes a covid pandemic, a lockdown for the second birthday during the pandemic, meant again I would be spending it alone. However it became a a birthday that I felt less alone, than I ever have in all my years of aloneness. I received more beautiful messages, notes, emails, texts, messages via messenger and Facebook, phone calls and video calls, drop offs at the door, a lot of very beautiful heartfelt moments, that at one point overwhelmed me and I sat in a beautiful puddle of tears. That so many people had taken time out to ensure that I knew I was cared for and thought about, that Even though I was “ alone”, I never felt alone for one moment yesterday.. I just had to stop writing for a moment and watch as the moon so bright, so very beautiful slipped behind the mountains, another new day and new week unfolding.
Sitting there in my puddle of ( I must say Happy Tears), I was thinking about how that my dementia diagnosis has actually given me the gift of the family and friends who have decided to stick by me through it all, and added to it this dementia family, and together the most incredible family of people have entertained and became the very fabric of my being. It is the greatest blessings, the greatest of silver linings that my dementia has given, yes it has taken a lot, a life altered, a life so very different, a life with struggles daily to navigate the day, but the blessings of these connections, friendships that have deepened, new friendships formed, along with a dementia family that spans the globe, and some people think those are “not real”, friendships and relationships, but those of us that have them, know they are, we care deeply about each other, we laugh and cry together, just like with my friends and family. Had it not been for finding DAI, I may never have had the opportunity to gain these new friendships, these new additions to my “ family”, so I am and will be forever grateful for DAI, and it’s incredible role in my life.
my friends and family here in Canada, wished they could make it so I wasn’t alone on my birthday, but as I said to my niece, I have learnt along time ago that I had to treat myself as well as I would treat others, this included making myself a nice dinner, having a small birthday cake, just because I was spending it alone did not mean, it had to be in sadness, and it most certainly wasn’t. I got to enjoy all the messages, the drop and runs at the door.
I also received a beautiful picture and note from my brother and sister in law ( my late husbands brother and his wife), It is beautiful, and it also made me think about things which I sent a note back with what it made me realize. I’m including both here

Picture from Brent and Kay

You’ve survived another year!

I wish I could wish you perfect health, A loving husband, lots of kidsBut the Lord doesn’t seem to have thatIn store for you right now. But I can tell you I love and admireYour positive outlook, Your ability to see the bright side,Your fighting spirit,Your determination to change the wrong thingsIn the world where you can.We love you so much. Love Brent and Kay

Here was my response:

Thank you, this brought tears to my eyes, I don’t have perfect health, I feel I still have the love of a husband who watches me from afar, but I do truly miss him more than I ever say, the kids whose lives have been intertwined with mine , are all thriving and healthy good people so I’m grateful for whatever small piece I had in that, it brings me piece to see them all doing well, some I had with me for longer than others but I think that was part of Gods plan as well. So the Lord did not leave me without being touched by many and by great love, but right know he is guiding me in other directions, and the work I do know matters as well for many, I may not be able to get and see all the changes come to fruition but if I can encourage others, if I can continue to have faith that I am being directed and follow the path chosen for me life may not be easy all the time, but I am blessed in so many ways. So Thankyou for your beautiful words which helped me think about all those beautiful things. 
This is so special I may include it in a blog . 

So my birthday was beautiful in so many unexpected ways, and it was a beautiful reminder that what we have matters not, but who we are connected too, the people that touch our heart, it is love that matters, it is love that ensures that even if we are physically alone, we need not be alone, because our hearts are filled with love of those who become our family.

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Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

It’s A Wrap

Wow, I have made it through another year and know I start my 62 second year. My second birthday that’s arrived during a global pandemic, in the midst of being locked down. I don’t remember last years birthday at all, I am not even sure if I was actually able to be out of bed at that time, the last year beginning in March of last was when I became very ill, and that battle continued for over a year. The silver lining was and is that I’ve made it, it should as all birthdays should be celebrated, for it is a gift when we are given more time. For many they think it’s “ just another year”, but living with dementia ( which is a progressive and terminal illness), I understand that each day is precious, and getting to add another year to my tally of years on planet earth truly is a blessing.
I have felt a lot of changes over the last year, cognitively, and physically, but I can and do try to enjoy each and every good day I am given. It’s been challenging with the pandemic, it’s likely going to be challenging through the rest of 2021, but I am determined to see myself out the other side of this pandemic.
I want to see what kind of shape the world will take on after the pandemic, will people be kinder and gentler, will we actually do the things that will help ensure a better quality of life, will people take better care of planet earth. Will our advocacy finally see some changes made, tangible improvements for people living with Dementia. Will we finally see collaboration.
I am so blessed to have had some many lovely messages from my friends that I have been blessed to get to know and form these wonderful friendships with, so although I will be spending my birthday solo, I don’t feel as though I’ve been alone and I truly thank all of them for the gift of friendship. I’m excited for this evening because some of them have decided to a birthday celebration and all enjoy a meal together via zoom, a totally new experience and way to celebrate this day, it’s kind, it’s thoughtful, another blessing another silver lining provided by friends who didn’t want me to be alone on my birthday. So although it’s a rainy drizzly day outside, it’s a bright sunny day in my heart.
I don’t know what is in store as I move into this new year of my life, I know longer plan for the future, the future is here right know in this moment, and although I do not plan for a future, I do still think about things that I hope I will stay standing long enough to take part in, like another conference where many of us can get together again, or for the first time, those face to face get together are so vital. I hope to put together my second book, I hope to still have it in me to complete work with some of the research projects I am part of, the researchers I have had the pleasure to work with are an incredibly talented people whose compassion and true desire to help provide tangible things to help us have a better quality of life, and I’m grateful to know and work with them. I hope for the day I no longer have to live hoping to die rather than have to go into any type of care home. The pandemic has shed a light on the issues, my fear is that they will only put a bandaid on it to appease people, but they won’t really fix it, I hope we can get to a place where we truly honour those who are vulnerable, whether that be due to ageing, or dementia or any other illness.
I still have a bucket list that is incomplete, my road trip, to see friends and family, going to Ireland, and Greece. Taking the trip across Canada. I often wish I had someone to do many of these things with, maybe that’s still to come.
So for today I will sit in Gratitude for another turning of the page, the beginning of yet another year of my life and in that I gratitude today I will be saying a big Thank You, to all my friends near and far who have ensured I did not feel alone today, and for all the beautiful messages, via, messenger, texts, emails and Facebook. Thank you all for being part of my life.

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Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

The Swinging of the Pendulum

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Yesterday was a no go day for me, my system, my brain was on a shutdown, so it was a day at home, just trying to get from the start of the day to the end of the day. I thought of many things that I would, could, may and wanted to do, none of which happened, as I was unable to put any of it together, this is what happens on a bad brain day. I was happy enough to just be at home, and just be, to not try to have to navigate anything. This came after having three or four lovely days of being able to go for a drive, to go on my bike rides, but this is my life this is my vascular dementia.

Today my day started with an early morning in person visit with my doctor, he had asked for the meeting, I always feel so fortunate that he actually puts thought into my well being. He doesn’t just sit and wait for me to have to or need to see him, he is invested in my health care. So it was an unusually long visit and considering how many don’t get to see there doctors at all as with the pandemic most things are done via video calls or phone calls, again a silver lining for me, I am always grateful and understand how fortunate I am. We went over tests he had done, then we discussed why he does some the things he does, it was great to hear him explain that he doesn’t want to ever miss something, because everything gets attached to my vascular dementia, something else I am grateful.

We had a lengthy chat about palliative care, life and death, we talked about my husbands death, and my mom’s death, he was the doctor for both, and he helped and worked with me to ensure they had the kind of end of life and death that they wanted. Another piece of my gratitude. It was a really good talk, we talked about my own illness and how at this point and given the last 14 or 15 months I have had with my health, understanding that they cannot fix my vascular system, their is no magic pill, no surgery, not anything, we talked about what happens why I have these good runs of days and sometimes months of really challenging symptoms and stretches of being so unwell, we were discussing my blood flow, both agreeing and understanding that when my blood flow ( almost simultaneously we said its like there is a dam and the gate is open the flow is good, the gate closes, and it randomly effects different organs, different areas throughout my body, depends which area the gate is closed stopping paper flow, This is also why there is such a challenge with inflammation.

We both agree that I do all that I can to help myself, both nutrition wise, exercise, sleep, all the areas that I am able, if I didn’t things would be far worse than they are, even though they have gotten worse, that is in essence how vascular dementia works and for each person it will vary, this is my vascular dementia. He wanted to have this discussion, to ensure that I know that he will continue to help support me through the downturns and difficult times, and if that requires hospitalizations as it has over the last year or two, then thats what will happen, but he also wanted to ensure that I am fully trying to get the most out of my good days when they present themselves, and that the monitoring and knowing when I should just stay put is a very important piece. this was a conversation about my quality of life. It did me a lot of good to have these discussions with him today. As for my shot, he just wants to ensure I get it once I am notified of my appointment, which hopefully I will get that notification this week, for sometime in May, in the meantime, keep doing what I’m doing.

I know it was a doctors appointment, it felt like a visit with a friend, and a much needed chat, and as I have had a lot of things weighing heavy on me recently, and I will write about those in another blog, today did much for me.

We talk so often about the medical profession and how and the ways they could do better, I know having who I have in place as a doctor, has been and is not the norm for many. He is a shining example of what good doctoring can do for someone. And talking later today in a meeting about many things one being to remember to look for and find the things that are good despite our diagnosis, I was thinking that my doctor is definitely one of the good things that I have.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

Good Friday

It’s Good Friday and I think it’s a good day to be reflective to remember the past and to think about the future.

My Mom ( Margaret Weeden)

For me I think about my mom and as you can see in the pictures below Easter was a very special time. Mom raised us kids all on her own, we had a lot of time with my grandmother and my uncle who looked after my grandma his whole life and we were all very close. Easter was the time of going to church although we went to church every Sunday, Easter was special, it was about family and it was about being thankful and being grateful. Growing up we didn’t have a lot but what we did have a lot of love, we always had clean clothes and my mother always made sure we had food .She was a terrific gardener, her garden the size of most peoples lots that their houses sit on now, as well as fruit tree and various berry bushes. Everything was canned and frozen so that we never went without, we raised chickens and so we always had eggs we always had chicken to eat, she was she was an incredible woman who along with my grandmother taught us so much and ensured we laughed a lot. My uncle took on the role of doing all the fatherly type things with us we learned a lot from him and laughed a lot with him as well, all three are gone now, and they are always missed but every time Easter rolls around I think about all the Easter‘s where they went to all the trouble of putting together special things for us, hiding them out amongst the flowerbeds in the trees and bushes and we would have to go hunting for them. We were only to only take the one that was meant for us and leave the others behind without saying anything, in some peoples eyes there may not have been much there, for us it was everything and the most exciting day. ( perhaps why i still love treasure hunts) In those moments we had so much to be grateful for. As we got older my mother trying to ensure that upcoming generations got to enjoy some of those old traditions and learn some of that simple basic fun and joy and happiness dressed up every year in her bunny suit and all the kids in the community came and she bounced through the woods. The kids would get so excited to get a peak of the Easter Bunny and chase after her and she would be dropping little Easter treats all along the way and they had so much fun. It made for such an incredible time for families and community and I always remember my mom and think about how she along with my grandmother and my uncle taught us about the importance of doing what you can to make things better for others and share joy and happiness and that you don’t have a lot have to do it. Sometimes the simplest things are the biggest and best things, so during this time of lockdown and Covid and people feeling like their lives are so disrupted that there is nothing to enjoy. I say lets think outside the box get creative create new memories in new found ways, or go back to some old traditions think about your childhood think about what you did as a child think about all those things and enjoy and have a quiet reflective peaceful Easter weekend.

Mom Traveling with her Easter Basket full of goodies

I am grateful for the love of a woman who truly understood that finding in joy in life is always within reach. I am grateful that because of her, no matter what life has thrown at me I have been able to overcome, to continue to see the good in others. That I am able to face my challenges and have the ability to look for the silver linings. For it was my mother who taught me that there is always a Silver lining if you’re brave enough to look for it.

Wishing you all a Very Happy Easter.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

So much effort

So my last blog which I titled Maybe somehow only ended up with half the blog posting, can’t find the rest, even though I have it set to auto save, it has vanished, then it says my page isn’t there but it is, my Twitter account was hacked, all my devices having technical challenges, perhaps from being hacked not sure.
The world of technology can be so good until it’s not, I wonder if they will have find a way to simplify it for those of us who truly can benefit from it if it is all more user friendly.. The frustration sometimes makes me want to stop using it at all, but it is how I communicate, it’s how I visit, stay connected,. It allows me to take part in meetings, be involved with groups and organizations and gives me purpose.
My volunteer Angie is coming today, she may be able to help fix a lot of these issues with my devices. She has been such a huge help to me.
live been thinking a lot about my friends that live with dementia, and a tougher group you will not find. A happier group you will not find. The effort it takes every day to just manage the simple things takes more effort that most others can imagine, but then they do so many other things, they are learning new skills, they are advocating, speaking, involved in research projects that is at so many levels and different types, they write, sing, the are incredible artists. Mostly they are joyful. Despite all the frustrations, despite all the health challenges, they are joyful. They reach out and check in with one another.
we had a zoom with our friends in Japan the other night, and despite the language barriers ( and actually it truly isn’t a barrier), we do have an interpreter who comes, but we also can get much by the body language and facial expressions. We laughed, I was so excited to see them, we were supposed to see each other in Singapore last March, but of course Covid 19 thwarted that. So to have our zoom was so good for all of us.
What really stood out was how the things people living with Dementia, live with, deal with like the stigma, like the lack of resources, like lack of programs, the lack of proper resources from diagnosis and beyond.
we don’t get the benefits of palliative care, and palliative care is not just the last week or two of life, palliative care can and should encompass from diagnosis on, for with palliative care on board it can truly help you live a full life that is life of quality. But so many resources are passed by for those living with dementia, Occupational and Speech and physiotherapist, social workers, programs that a truly designed to engage, connect, and leave those living with dementia to feel valued and purposeful.
We also see to often people thrust into drug trials without proper follow up to ensure when things abruptly end or you have to be taken out that you are not left feeling devastated, and lost and without purpose, I believe we should be looking at all the ways to enable those with dementia to live their best life to stay in their homes for as long as possible, rather than tie them to the false hope (my view), of the cure, I think care until cure should be the focus, Dementia no matter what type, Alzheimer’s, FTD, Lewy Body, Mixed, Vascular, the types is long means that realistically finding a cure is almost impossible, that doesn’t mean they won’t find ways to help manage the effects of many types of dementia. It does mean that we should while trying to find those things place a much bigger emphasis on having the resources to help people manage their illness. People with Diabetes or MS, to name a couple, are taught how to manage their illness, we deserve to be given those same resources.
I have heard so often from so many since my diagnosis that they felt alone, that they didn’t think there was anything they could do, no one teaches them about the nutritional and exercise components, people are all to often left adrift. I believe that is why depression is so prominent in people with dementia, the complete lack of resources, the complete misunderstanding of the illness by the largest part of society. The lack of current education with health care professionals.
it makes me sad that after so many advocates fighting so hard for over thirty years so little has changed. Is it because many of the large Organizations have become “ big business”, on the backs of those living with the illness, that rather than help us actually see the changes happen, they do just enough to keep people opening their wallets to them, believing they truly are helping us, when in fact we see such a minimal amount of help, more often it is us helping them, we become their “ Poster People”, it makes people feel good about themselves, which that in and of itself is not a bad thing, but what is bad is that they are not paid, ( unlike all those working in those organizations”, who are paid to attend meetings, to attend conferences, to write articles, to deliver them. People with dementia are continually doing it for free, in part because they want to feel valued, they want to see change. But I often feel change is not coming because there is big money, it is big business for it to stay as it is.
We are ( those of us living with dementia) very aware of our end stage of this journey, but we sure want and fight hard everyday, to live the best lives we can until then. All those I have met globally are happy, bright and engaging, they share laughter and joy. Those are all the very things that are in complete opposition of what the world perceives. They are some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, I stand in awe of them and all that they do.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

Tomorrow is International Woman’s Day

In light of it being International woman’s day tomorrow, I first want to give an update on me, yes me a woman who for 6.5 years has been doing all I can to use my voice to bring light to Dementia and all that it is and all that it isn’t.
So after my last five day stint in the hospital, I’m actually grateful as they are usually double that. I have many more appointments, tests, assessments during March and April. More things keep coming to light with each new piece, sometimes I wonder do I really want to know anymore? Do I even care anymore? Is it worth it to keep going through so much, when it will not change the eventual outcome? Yes these are questions I ask myself. One thing I have learnt in all of this is that it is better to be a realist that live with a false sense, so yes I need to know, yes I need to do these things, even though they take up much of what precious time there is, knowledge is power and if I want to continue to live my best life for as long as I can, then all the appointments and tests are essential so that I have the best knowledge I can, and my Doctors can so that together I can continue us to do my bucket list.
The big issues are my vascular system, when you have vascular disease, which is why I ended up with Vascular Dementia, there is a blood / oxygen flow problem. Those vascular issues are worsening, the blood flow to my organs are being impacted, resulting and explaining why I am getting intermittent times of feeling and functioning fairly well, to the crashes which leave me pretty much bed ridden if not hospitalized. It’s a lot to content with on top of the cognitive issues that make so many things more difficult know. I do less, much less. I am forever in that mode of starting over, fighting for those good days. But I am still here, so I am grateful for the things I am still managing to do.
Onto International Woman’s Day, a day we all whether we are woman or not should celebrate. Woman are the cornerstone of life, for without them, life would cease. We are or it is born into us part of our makeup, caregivers, we build the foundations of our families, and although much has changed over the years for woman those things are still largely true. But for my lifetime, I have watched as woman have tried to advocate for equality, to be paid equally to their counterparts, to be given the same opportunities and chances, and yet at 61 years old there has not been much change. Women are still undervalued and underpaid, passed over and looked over. “ The Old Boys Club” mentality still exists in too many circles. It bothers me because these same people are husbands and fathers, and yet they still accept these standards even for the woman in their lives. The “ pat on the arm or shoulder” doesn’t cut it, hasn’t for years, but then if that’s true we are we still having to fight so hard for equality. Yes men and woman are vastly different but their worth is not.
Then there is the Women and Dementia, woman are much more likely to be diagnosed with Dementia, please read Kate Swaffer’s Blog here

I responded to Kates blog with these words “

As a widow. A woman, and living with Dementia this is so deeply and personally disturbing. As much as I try I can not understand how so many that see things, are aware of things find it acceptable to turn a blind eye#@chrissythelker”

It becomes increasingly difficult to understand why after so many years so much still is allowed to be acceptable or at least the blind eye approach is maintained as acceptable.
So for International Woman’s Day I want to urge you all to speak up for yourselves, for you daughter and your granddaughters, so that perhaps they will and can live in a world of full equality and inclusion.
I want to thank the remarkable strong woman, starting with my Grandma and my Mother for instilling in me strength and resilience, for it is the paths you walked, that were much more difficult than mine that started paving the way for woman to have a little more equality and rights, and know we and our children must carry the torch. To all the woman in my life who have inspired me, cheered for me, mentored me and walked along side me, thank you for sharing the journey of life and all that being a woman entails.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

Psychology of Aging

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Today I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Dr. Regina Koepp, below you will find info on her. The interview was delightful, we talked a lot about the important roll DAI has played in my life since diagnosis. She had read my book, she had a lot of great questions, we talked about the gift of friendship DAI has given me, about the ways it has helped me forge a new life for myself, a life filled with hope and purpose. We talked about the importance of the peer to peer support, self facilitated, where being accepted on your worst day, and your best are not something you worry or question, you just know the acceptance and support will be there. They helped me find my laughter.
It was a great 1.5 hours, it went so quick, we talked about advocacy, about the importance of enabling instead of further disabling , by allowing people with dementia do as much as they can for as long as they can, sometimes it’s easier to just do it for them, sometimes you think you’re helping them but in reality you are further disabling them.
we talked about the need for better collaboration between organizations, instead of competing, competing helps none of the organizations and absolutely does a disservice to people living with dementia. We talked about more efforts are needed to help support people to have a good quality of life, instead of just focusing on a cure. Care until cure, is the only way forward.
I am grateful she reached out to me. I’m glad there is people like Regina who are helping us have our voices heard.

please see Regina info below and check out the work she is doing.


Regina Koepp, PsyD, ABPP, is a board-certified clinical psychologist, gerontologist, and an assistant professor in the Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She is also Staff Psychologist at the Atlanta VA Health Care System (VAHCS), where she provides direct patient care and consultation on the Gero-Psychiatry Outpatient Mental Health team. 

Dr. Koepp serves on several national, regional, and institutional committees aimed at enhancing care and services for older adults and their families. These include the Geriatric Mental Health Field Advisory Committee of the VA Central Office in Washington, DC, and the Georgia Psychological Association’s Ethics Committee. She is also a founding member of the Diversity Education Committee for Psychology Training at the Atlanta VAHCS and she serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee (DISC) in the Emory University School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Koepp specializes in the aging process, care of older adults and their families, individuals and families experiencing life-altering conditions, chronic and terminal illness, dementia disorders, caregiving, traumatic loss, end of life, and grief and bereavement. She is also the creator and host of the Psychology of Aging Podcast in which she discusses the aging process and its complexities.

Advocates Advocating Christine Thelker © 2020 Dementia Event For This I Am Grateful Living well with Dementia Silver Linings

My UFA guest piece