"I have known and worked with Mark and Brenda and many of the other Dementia Minds in your article for several years. They and their example are making a great positive difference in the quality of life for thousands of persons living with dementia, and for their carers and friends. That includes helping me more clearly celebrate every moment I spend with my wife, although, in her 14th year of the journey, she has lost most of her words, the ability to walk and hold a fork. Yet she has not lost her smile, the ability to laugh, nor the capacity to say “I love you”—albeit not always with spoken words. And through the beautiful example set by the Dementia Minds, I appreciate that my wife will never stop being what each of the Dementia Minds folks also are---unique, wonderful persons, deserving of more admiration than sympathy, more love than griping, more respect than regret. Mark and Arnie and company helped inspire me to work to get my small town in Michigan recognized as a Dementia Friendly Community, and many people have a better quality of life because of the Dementia Minds."
"The members of the National Council of Dementia Minds made my life harder – for all the right reasons and because it needed to be. Frankly, it would be easier for me to think of my mom as lost, as not the person I knew. It would be easier to give up on a relationship with her. But after meeting the Dementia Minds members, listening to their stories, and asking them questions, I cannot. They showed me what is possible for a person living with dementia and what is required of me to love and support that person.
I wish I could say all this knowledge and understanding made life a breeze. It did not. But thanks to Dementia Minds, I know my mom’s dementia affects the way she perceives the world: her anchor in time, her sight, her sense of smell and taste. She is not “lying about things.” She is not “being difficult.” Dementia Minds gave me one of the greatest gifts imaginable – the understanding and tools to be a better daughter. I fail as often as I succeed, but that is how I will get better at supporting my mom on this journey."