Wise Elder

Welcome To Blessings of Dementia

Mom & Evie, Feb 2010, Photo by Michael Conner


January 3, 2006    

My Mom was a University professor in her working years, and before that the Music Coordinator for 30+ elementary schools in Eugene, Oregon.  A bright and talented woman.  A single Mom since I was 12, she raised three beautiful and talented daughters and contributed so much to her community.  She has little or no short term memory these days and it is a miracle that she’s able to live in independent living in a retirement home with two meals a day in the dining room, but no other assistance other than her two daughters who live near.  Her cultivation of good habits in her 85 years is the reason I think she’s able to live independently.  She gets up, makes her bed, takes a shower, washes her hair, dresses appropriately and fixes her own breakfast.    

As sad as it is that Mom has no short term memory, I look for and find blessings of dementia that may not be apparent at first.  I know there are many people in her situation and many much worse off, suffering the ravages of Alzheimer’s.  Thankfully, my Mom does not have Alzheimer’s. My writing about the Blessings of Dementia in no way minimizes or ignores the challenges of those much worse off, or the challenges of their families and caregivers.  My writing about the blessings I see is just one way of seeing the glass as half full that allows me to enjoy some “sweet time” with her, instead of time dragged down with sadness.    

Added on January 22, 2008:    

I have come to see that lacking some capacities, whether physical or mental, in no way diminishes one’s gifts, nor one’s learnings.    

There are times these days when Mom asks the exact same question over and over.  I’ve counted 37 times in 25 minutes while driving her to the retirement home.  One of the things I’ve learned is that the TRUE GIFT is MY ability and willingness to just answer the question without upset however many times it is asked.  I’ve been working with myself and I’m good these days for about 20-25 repetitions of the same question in a short period of time.  After that I still sometimes want to throw myself against the wall.  But it’s the meaning I put on it that’s the problem – all she’s doing is asking a question repetitively.    

In my writing I’ll share some of the Blessings of Dementia that I’ve seen for myself.  I don’t pretend to have answers, but this perspective allows me to spend quality time with my Mom. My intention is to offer a new way of looking that might be useful to my readers. Seeing these Blessings has meant everything to me and my relationship with my sweet Mom.    


Karen Taylor-Good is a motivational speaker, author, singer and Grammy-nominated songwriter. She was the guest artist at my church in 2010 and she is truly amazing. She has written many songs that have been adopted as “flagship songs” for charitable organizations, including Childhelp USA, The Compassionate Friends and the National Hospice Foundation. Blending musical accomplishment with tender comfort, her music and her words have brought joy and solace to listeners around the world. Her songs have been recorded by Melissa Manchester, Al Jarreau, Collin Raye, Patty Loveless, Nana Mouskouri and numerous other artists worldwide.   

As a vocal artist, Karen has been heard on national radio and television jingles for United Airlines, Taco Bell, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, McDonalds and others. She has recorded with such notable performers as Dolly Parton, Al Green, Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers & George Jones. As a solo artist, she has had 9 nationally-charted singles.   

She currently lives in Tennessee. Listen to this sweet clip of her song “On Angel’s Wings” that she wrote when her own mother was suffering with Alzheimers. She has given permission for my website visitors to listen to this clip. Visit her website for much more information including her amazing program for caregivers called “Nurture the Nurturers”  www.karentaylorgood.com   

On Angels Wings Clip (click here to listen to a clip of Karen’s song about dementia)

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