By Brian LeBlanc
#WeAreDementiaStrong is heading back to the Pioneering a New Culture of Aging Conference, July 27-30 in beautiful Denver! I couldn’t be more excited after a couple years off (due to that nasty Covid stuff) to laugh with old friends and continue important conversations around dementia – living with dementia, care-partnering with dementia and, yes, laughing with dementia.
The whole 9 yards. Oh yeah, Maureen will be there, too! (I’d better not forget that! She’d have my head – as if dementia wasn’t already trying to take it from me. Haha!)
OK, OK, jokes aside, the love of my life and I have a lot of important work to do as we return to this annual gathering of influencers and experts in elder care, dementia advocacy and life-affirming culture change hosted by the Pioneer Network.
So What’s My Part at the Pioneer Conference? Talking About Dementia, Of Course!
It’s what I do best, right? I’m honored to be speaking twice in an awesome lineup of outstanding minds addressing a range of educational topics pertinent to persons living with dementia, care partners and professionals who serve all aspects of the continuum of care. (Helpful hint: It’s a great CE credit opportunity for professionals.)
If you know me, I’ll sprinkle in a bit of humor. And I’m happy to be joined by my co-presenters, many of whom we’ve worked alongside for years to advance dementia-related education and advocacy nationally and internationally.
‘The Joy of Dementia (You Gotta Be Kidding!) – Creating a New Performance of Dementia…and Life’
Thursday, July 28th – 3-5 pm
I’m proud to join coordinator Mary Fridley and member Nancy Nelson of the Reimagining Dementia Coalition as we reverse the “tragedy narrative” and stigma around dementia. We will address the growing demand for more innovative, relational, improvisational, playful and humanizing approaches to dementia care. There’s ample opportunity to embrace community, creativity, joy and growth for persons living with dementia and care partners.
This will be an experiential workshop highlighting:
- Improvisational games
- Creative exercises
- Philosophical/performed conversation
All of which aim to foster a supportive environment to enjoy the “non-knowing growing” that’s possible, even in uncertain situations. As I often say, “I may have Alzheimer’s, but Alzheimer’s doesn’t have me.” Yes, we can still find joy with dementia.
Persons Living with Dementia Promoting Wellbeing Through Education and Advocacy
Friday, July 29th – 9:15-11:15 am
Let’s have a meeting of the minds – dementia minds! (And, our marketing director will be happy to know there’s a dog involved.) I’ll be joined by some fellow co-founders of the National Council of Dementia Minds, Mark and Brenda Roberts (and their cute service dog, Sophie), to offer first-hand perspectives on living with dementia.
Each of us has dementia. That’s what prompted us and our other awesome co-founders to launch NCDM in 2019. We’ve learned to cope and build a life worth living in our own special ways, and we intend to share those daily realities. We’ll also address the many ways we provide education and advocacy in our respective communities and spheres of influence.
And once again, we’ll share a few laughs with a funny video and undoubtedly some witty banter during the Q&A portion.
Join #WeAreDementiaStrong at the Pioneer Network Conference
We’re there to talk. But just as importantly, we’ll be there to listen. Maureen and I will be around the Sheraton Denver Downtown for the duration of the conference. We’re eager to check out a great mix of pre-conference workshops, general sessions and concurrent sessions. We’ll also be promoting the new #WeAreDementiaStrong e-magazine, which is absolutely packed with helpful insights!
We love making new friends, so don’t hesitate to come up and say, “Hi!”