May-June 2023
Volume 14, Issue 3

A newsletter for caregivers of loved ones with dementia
Spring Education
Starting on June 8, 2023, MemoryCare will be providing an educational series designed for caregivers to learn more about how to care for themselves and their loved one affected by dementia. Courses are free, open to the public, and will be presented as a live online broadcast.

June 8, 2-3:30 pm: 
"Creating Time: A Practical Self-Care Workshop for Caregivers"
Presented by Elizabeth Lackey

June 15, 2-3:30 pm: 
"Challenging Behavioral Expressions in People with Dementia- an Attachment Perspective"
Presented by guest speaker Dr. Edward Shaw

June 22, 2-3:30 pm: 
"Alzheimer's Disease Prevention & Treatment"
Presented by guest speaker Dr. Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer

June 29, 2-3:30 pm: 
"Let's talk Caregiver Resources"
Presented by Carly Woods & Elizabeth Lackey

Visit to learn more and to register.

Greater Expectations
"My wife asks me the same thing over and over. How can I get her to stop?"
When something shows up in our lives that we don’t like, we tend to try to get rid of it, or fix it, or at the very least to distance ourselves from it. If we don’t like a particular food, we don’t eat it. If we don’t like a job, we change it. If we don’t like the color of a wall, we paint it. In our perpetual pursuit of a happier life, we have become adept at changing or tweaking or correcting nearly every aspect of our daily existence. We do it almost without even thinking about it. In short, we think we are in control.  

Then dementia drops in and turns our carefully orchestrated lives upside down.  

So, as we’ve always done with things we don’t like, we try to fix this too. This is where we’ve gone down the wrong road in caring for a person with dementia. We’re focused on trying to fix them. When things go awry, we tend to blame them because they’re doing something wrong or different. We’re expecting them to act or think or do the way we act and think and do, simply because that’s what they used to do. We forget, in the moment, that dementia is making them act and think and do differently than before. Without meaning to, we’re viewing them as something that’s broken and needing to be fixed. Our expectations aren’t keeping up with the times.

The truth is, we can’t fix dementia. We will try, of course, because that’s what we’ve always done…but we’ll find that dementia doesn’t play by our rules.  
It bears repeating: we can’t fix dementia.  We can dislike it, we can rail against it, we can grieve about it…but we can’t fix it. Neither can we fix the person who has it. Seeing your loved one as something that’s broken and needing to be fixed will pull you into the dark side of caregiving where you become bogged down in aggravation and argument and angst. It will result in additional stress for you and your loved one, and it will make this journey harder than it needs to be.      

When this happens, pay attention to how many times you hear yourself say, “How can I get him/her to stop?” The truth is, you might not be able to make it stop…because it’s dementia that’s causing the problem and we can’t fix dementia. So as long as you keep asking that question, you will be focused on fixing the wrong thing.

There are two simple shifts to this thinking that can help make things less stressful: 
1.      Adjusting your expectations
2.     Changing how you respond

Your expectations shape your reality.  Expectations set you up for how you view your world. If you expect something to happen and it does, you’re usually less inclined to be surprised or unduly upset about it, even if it’s something unpleasant. Not being surprised means that you can think and act more clearly without letting emotions get in the way. But human beings don’t like to be blindsided.  If you expect something to occur and it doesn’t, your reaction is more likely to be frustration, disappointment, or even anger.  
How often does this happen with your loved one? You’re expect one thing, but they do something completely different and voila, there goes your stress level again. You have, for the moment, forgotten that they have dementia, and that dementia, by its very nature, makes them act differently. In that moment, your expectations aren’t aligned with reality. When you feel this happening, when you hear yourself starting to argue or criticize, when you hear yourself saying “How can I make this stop?” this is the time for a reality check: “Oh yeah,” you should tell yourself, “it’s dementia.” Take a deep breath and let yourself reset and reboot.

Adjusting your expectations – realigning your thinking - can reduce or eliminate a big chunk of caregiver stress, a lot of which comes when you allow yourself to be blindsided. Margaret Titzel says, “Why are we surprised when fig trees bear figs?” And why are we surprised when a person with dementia forgets, or makes mistakes, or does something out of the ordinary?  A man doesn’t remember that he’s not supposed to drive – yet his wife becomes angry whenever he forgets. A woman consistently has difficulty following instructions, yet her husband is angry when she can’t keep up. We wouldn’t expect a person with a broken leg to run fast. We wouldn’t expect a 4-year-old to cook dinner. Why do we expect a person with a condition that impacts their memory, their thinking, their personality, and their comprehension to navigate the world like they used to?

This line of thinking can then help us with the second part of the strategy: changing how you respond. Being prepared for your loved one to make a mistake is only half of the solution. Altering your response to that mistake is how you can direct where things go from there. People living with dementia will do some unusual, unexpected, and even upsetting things. It’s inevitable. When this happens, we are typically so focused on blaming the person with dementia that we fail to realize just how much of the situation is our fault.  Maybe we’d make some progress if we realized that we actually share a goodish portion of the blame in nearly any given situation. For instance, most of us know that we’re not supposed to argue or explain or reason with someone with dementia – and yet that’s exactly what we find ourselves doing over and over.  
Whether the situation becomes more volatile and escalates into an argument is largely up to you. You can accept the unusual and unexpected and off-the-wall things your loved one does by reminding yourself, “Oops, I’m starting to argue or reason with her, I need to try something else!” or you can have the same arguments over and over and wonder why you don’t get a different result. Remember that you are the one with the brain that works, so you are the one who can choose.  

When dementia comes uninvited into your life, it doesn’t play by the rules you’ve always known. Because of that, your loved one can’t be who they used to be. The thing to remember is, it’s not about fixing them…it’s about fixing how you respond to them.

(Stay tuned for the next issue of CNN when we explore some strategies for better responses)
Programs and Events
MemoryCaregivers Network
Peer Support & Education Groups
All MemoryCaregivers Network Support Groups are currently being held online on Tuesdays from 1:00-3:00pm

Network meetings are open to the public. Participants will receive a link via email the day before each meeting.

If you are not currently attending a MemoryCaregivers Network support group, please email to join the mailing list. If you do not use email but would like to talk with a support facilitator, please call Mary Donnelly at 828.230.4143.

For more information about the MemoryCaregivers Network, contact:
Mary Donnelly
The Network relies on charitable support to keep its program going.
Caregiver College
A series of six free lectures will be provided for caregivers of persons with memory disorders. Sessions are designed to improve caregiver understanding of different aspects of dementia care. The course is led by MemoryCare staff members with guest lecture by attorney
Caroline Knox, Esq.
2023 Course Schedule
Thursdays from 2:00-5:00 pm
Until further notice, Caregiver College will be provided as a live-broadcast for online attendance. The ability to access Zoom through a computer, tablet or smartphone with a reliable internet connection is necessary to attend. If you are unable to attend virtually and would need to join in-person, please reach out to us at 828-771-2219 or Related course materials will be provided via email.

We gratefully acknowledge
for their support of our program.

Call 828-771-2219 or email with questions.

Move for Memory
Join us for MemoryCare's Adult Exercise Program, led by Rebecca Carter, PTA. Classes are free and open to the public and will be provided weekly through Zoom for online attendance.
This class is intended for people with memory impairment to participate with their caregiver in fun and simple exercises. The exercises incorporate movements that can improve daily activities and general mobility. Group exercise will be approximately 40 minutes, followed by a time to answer questions. Exercises can be performed standing or seated.
Please note you will be required to read and acknowledge a disclaimer when registering to join. The ability to access Zoom through a computer, tablet or smartphone with a reliable internet connection is necessary to attend. Email or call 828-771-2219 with questions.
Starting 6/19
10:00 - 11:00 am
 Do you need a program for a group event?  
The MemoryCaregivers Network staff presents on a variety of subjects, including Recognizing Early Warning Signs of Memory Loss, Facts and Fiction about Dementia, Better Communication Techniques, and more. 

We are happy to speak at your event to raise awareness and knowledge about Dementia. Contact Mary Donnelly at
To see a list of 
A special thanks to the sponsors of this newsletter:
Caregiver Network News and The MemoryCaregivers Network are auxiliary programs of MemoryCare. Caregiver Network News is written and compiled by Mary Donnelly.
Contact for more information. 
is a charitable non-profit organization whose mission is three-fold:

To provide specialized medical care to older adults with cognitive impairment;
to support caregivers with education, counseling, and improved access to services; and to provide community education.

We rely on charitable donations to continue these programs!

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who depend on the services that MemoryCare provides!

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Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section at 919-814-5400. The license is not an endorsement by the State.