FIND OUT EXACTLY HOW YOU ARE DOING AS A DEMENTIA CAREGIVER

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Have you ever wondered what life looks like after the caregiving journey ends? In this episode, we explore the profound journey of a widower who found new purpose and joy after his intense role as a dementia caregiver concluded.

Dennis Dulniak, a widower with a passion for dementia caregiving, discusses his foundation, Nana's Books (https://www.nanasbooks.org/), which provides educational resources to Title I schools.

Inspired by his late wife Nancy, who had dementia, Dennis emphasizes the importance of creating positive memories despite the challenges. He advocates for support for caregivers and aims to change attitudes towards dementia through early education.

Dennis invites listeners to support Nana's Books and join his men's support group to foster compassion and understanding around dementia and disabilities.

Sign up to Ask the Dementia Coach: https://www.dementiacaregivingmadeeasy.com/ask

How One Widower Found Loving Purpose After Dementia Caregiving

It’s often overlooked, but the phase after caregiving is pivotal. Many caregivers struggle with a sense of loss and lack of purpose once their caregiving duties end. Dennis shares his transformative journey from full-time caregiver to champion of a cause that both honors his late wife’s memory and supports the community.

Embracing a New Mission

After his wife passed away from dementia, Dennis didn’t retreat but chose to channel his grief into something impactful. Inspired by his wife’s love for reading, he founded a nonprofit organization that donates books to children. This initiative not only keeps her memory alive but also educates the younger generation about dementia, fostering empathy and understanding.

The Power of Community Support

Dennis highlights the critical role of community support in his post-caregiving life. Engaging in meaningful projects has provided him with connections and purpose, helping him to navigate his grief and start a new chapter. His work with the nonprofit has not only been therapeutic for him but also beneficial for countless children who receive the books.

Lessons in Resilience and Hope

The journey shared in this episode is a powerful reminder of the resilience of the human spirit. It shows that even after the caregiving ends, one can find ways to impact the world positively. This story encourages listeners to think about how they can use their experiences and passions to make a difference.

A Call to Reflect and Act

For those who are currently caregivers or those who see caregiving on the horizon, this episode is a call to reflect on the personal changes and growth that come from such profound experiences. It’s also a prompt to consider how to transform personal challenges into actions that benefit others, turning grief into a driving force for good.

The end of the caregiving journey could be the beginning of another beautiful chapter. Let this story inspire you to think about how you can extend your journey’s impact beyond caregiving, creating a lasting legacy that honors your loved one and supports your community.

Sponsor a book at https://www.nanasbooks.org/

Read More:

The 3 Most Common Mistakes Christian Dementia Caregivers Make

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widower a family caregiver

Transcript

Beginnings of Dementia Caregiving Reflection

[0:00] I know this isn't something most of us think about related to dementia and dementia caregiving, but one of the things we need to consider is what our life looks like when we are completed with this journey.
Today's interview is with Dennis Dolniak, who is a widower of his wife, Nancy, and our interview is talking about how Dennis found loving purpose after his dementia caregiving journey is completed.
And I invite you today to listen to this episode because as difficult as it is to think about, when we are finished being a family caregiver of anybody, but particularly a person living with dementia, we need to consider what our own life and our own health and our own well-being is going to be when we finish the marathon.

[1:06] So Dennis has a tremendous vision and I'm here to support him in that vision.

[1:14] Now, if anything that you hear on this podcast has led you to feel like you wanted to be able to actually ask a dementia coach a question, I'm very excited to announce that one night a month, I'm going to be opening up a free Ask the Dementia Coach session.
This first one will be April 25th at 6 p.m. Eastern Time.
So if you are curious about what it's like to actually have your questions answered, I invite you to sign up for this free one-hour time block where I will be gifting the opportunity to speak with me related to any dementia caregiving questions you might have.

[2:14] And we kick these off on April 25th at 6 p.m. Eastern.
And the link will be in the show notes for you to register so that you can get access to the Zoom room.
I hope you take me up on this offer. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to serve you.
So check out episode 105, how one widower found loving purpose after a dementia caregiving journey.

Christian Caregiving Worldview Introduction

[2:50] Have you recently found out someone you love has dementia, struggling to wrap your head around how to be a Christian caregiver, searching for answers by joining countless Facebook groups but find them toxic, learning how to cope with dementia feels difficult, but learning a Christian caregiving worldview can be easy.
Hey, brother and sister in Christ, I'm Lizette, occupational therapist, pastor's wife, turned dementia coach, and a daughter of dementia.
In this podcast, you will learn the truth that the way to make dementia care easy is your faith.
Knowing that a loving God has decreed this hard providence in your life makes all the difference.
Here you will gain skills. skills.
You will be challenged by what God says in his word about caregiving, and you will learn exactly what dementia is and is not.
Find clarity and certainty from God's word so you have perseverance for this journey.
Use science-backed solutions and biblical principles to redeem your time.
Praying this blesses you as we dive into dementia from a Christian perspective.
Let's glorify God despite dementia.

Meeting Dennis Dolniak and Nana's Books Foundation

[4:16] Well, welcome to today's episode of Dementia Caregiving for Families.
I have a very special guest here today who I'm only going to introduce as Dennis because when I look at his name, kind of when I look at when people look at my name, I butcher it.
So I'm not going to say his last name, but he is from Nana's Books Foundation, and we met in a very special and unique way.
And when I met him and heard his story, I decided he was a good person to have on this podcast because his foundation is doing great things, but in just a little bit of a different way.
So welcome to today's episode 105.

[5:04] And Dennis, thank you so much for being here.
Now you can tell people your last name. I'm pretty sure I can do it, but just on the off chance, I'm not going to butcher it.
Well, Lisette, I am thrilled to be with you.
Good to see you again. My name is Dennis Dolnjak, and I live down in Orlando, Florida. And we had the opportunity to meet at a special opportunity, and that was on a cruise ship.
Wasn't it spectacular?
The cruise ship was actually sponsored, actually put together by Kathy Schoaf from Elite Travel, who does these dementia-supported cruises. Yes.
And this was my eighth cruise with Kathy as a member of the staff, as a member of the report team, support team, presenters, and dining companions.
And Lisette was one of the keynote speakers on that cruise.
We worked together extremely well. We cruised, I think, for nine days down to the ABC Islands.

[6:16] Yeah. Yeah. It was one of the experiences in my life that I will never forget at all.
Kathy was on the podcast a couple of weeks before your episode comes out.
I think hers comes out tomorrow.
So I slid her in there special because I really do believe what she is doing is a tremendous ministry to people and not enough people know, number one, know about it.
And number two, even consider traveling with somebody with dementia.
And I'll be very frank. And I told her this, you know, being on this cruise as a, as a therapist with a background as a therapist, it totally changed how I look at traveling with somebody with dementia, because every single therapist will tell you don't travel.
It's confusing to the person living with dementia.
Keep them in their routine. Stay as consistent as possible.
And I have turned into like a total convert that it is the best thing ever.
One of my clients right now, actually earlier this week, we just had this conversation.

[7:30] We're recording this right before Easter and she's bringing her her parents to her house in California for Easter, and she's worried about it setting her mom back.
And I just said to her, I'm like, even if it does, I'm like, go enjoy it take her with you don't consider what the impact is going to be as to if it's going to maybe change her thinking for a bit live go live and that is what the cruise that's the the biggest thing the cruise actually taught me is to encourage people to actually.

[8:11] Go away, spend time together, and not just stick in the routine and familiar.
So, you know, it's a very different viewpoint for a clinician to come to that agreement.
But anyway, that was my little plug for Kathy's Elite Cruises.
So, Dennis, tell us a little bit. Let me add to that, Lizette, because I think it's important that I embellish what you were were talking about. Absolutely.
My wife, Nancy, was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment in 2014.
She was then diagnosed with early onset in January of 2015 at age 62.

[8:55] And so once her diagnosis of MCI came in, I retired, she retired, and we put together the the idea that we were going to spend the time together and make memories while we still could.
And so we did extensive travel.
And in 2018, I found Kathy's group.
And so Nancy and I went on our first cruise with friends from the Orlando area and enjoyed it tremendously to where then I had Nancy go on her second cruise with Kathy's group.
And since that time, after that second cruise with Kathy, Nancy was no longer able to travel.
But that was five years into her disease.
And so we get a point to where you can't travel much other than to family.

[9:50] And the opportunity of going with Kathy's dementia-supported cruises really created memories.
Memories for me, not necessarily for Nancy, but I created picture books that allowed her to then take a look at what we did and maybe jog a memory or two, or at least give me the opportunity to tell stories about how important that time together was.
So I encourage, I'm a very strong advocate, and I think over the years, I've had at least a half dozen of my colleagues here in Orlando go on these cruises, and they are most appreciative, even though it was difficult at times.
They also learned and made memories that they're always appreciative for now after their wives have passed.
So very, very important.
Very important, for sure.

[10:50] So tell us a little bit about Nancy, because Nana's books is specifically related to Nancy.
So tell us how Nana's books came about, what made you decide to do it, and just the whole story about what you're doing.
I think it's such a phenomenal foundation.
I don't know if you call it a ministry, but I would call it a ministry.
It sort of is that ministry, but it truly is a foundation.
Nancy and I were married for 47 years, and she was a lifelong librarian.

[11:28] Loved books, loved reading, loved providing resources, and it was a tragedy when she could no longer read in her disease.

[11:40] Not only did she have trouble recognizing, remembering characters, but then putting words together into actual concepts became difficult for her in the disease.
Well, at Christmas time, we exchanged gifts in our family.
And for Nancy in her dementia, buying her a present really wasn't as important.
And my son, Mark, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, had a friend who was a teacher in a Title I school.
And she was teaching kids. And so Mark bought books for each of the kids in her classroom in Nancy's honor for two years.
And these kids then wrote letters to Nancy, which she absolutely loved reading or having them read to her.
The pictures, the love from that, it really was there.

[12:40] And just a month before Nancy died, my son Mark had visited me in his last visit to see his mom.
We talked about how we were going to recognize Nancy's legacy.
And the whole concept of giving books came to light.
And so my other son also agreed. And we decided to set up a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
We decided to call it Nana's Books because Nancy wanted to be talked about as Nana. Nana.
She loved the word Nana. She loved being a grandma.
And so we put it together with the Nana's books and the logo that you might be able to see on my shirt here, which shows a picture of an owl.
And she loved owls. And so I had a friend create this logo, the concept, and it was formed in December of 2020.

[13:44] Nancy died in January of 2021. Okay.
And I was able to share this with her while she was still alive, although at that point she was not commutative.
But I did share the concept. I put this sign on her wall that she could see, whether she could understand.
We don't know. But we make these efforts.
But you knew. We and the family knew. And that's the important piece.
And upon Nancy's passing, we asked that all donations that would be done in her honor be sent to Nana's Books.
And so that was the first creation of a fund, a nonprofit foundation.
Well, that summer in 2021.

[14:35] We decided to come up with a list of titles to donate to her hometown library in Granville, New York, and then reach out to her school district in Granville, New York, which is a Title I school, and donate books to that school.
Well, in 2022, we did do the donation to the books.
In 2021, at the time we interred her ashes up in Granville, we donated over 20 books to the Granville Pember Library in her honor.
And since then, we'll be donating additional books as we add to this collection because we're finding more and more great resources for adults and children that help them understand dementia.

[15:30] Alzheimer's, and disabilities because we intend to increase kindness and compassion among all in these communities.
And unfortunately, dementia is ever-growing in our population, and it's a tragedy that families struggle with how they're dealing with working through support for their grandparent, support for their parent, and then still feeling good about making memories.

[16:05] So since that time, this year we've had an absolutely wonderful year.
This year, we've gone from one school in the first year to three.
Five, no, two, two, how many schools last year? Five schools last year.
And this year we're at eight schools.
And so we're donating to our 16th school in three years with a grand total of over 12,000 books.
I am very excited to announce this next part of our journey together. together.
Once a month, on a Thursday evening, I'm going to do a segment called Ask the Dementia Coach, where you can actually come into a coaching session with me and other people.

[17:03] Music.
on your own and may feel like you're at the end of your book.
And in order to help serve you better, I wanted to open up this opportunity once a month for you to register for a free Ask the Dementia Coach segment.
Like I said, it will be Thursday evenings, once a month, 6 o'clock Eastern Time in the evening, and the segment is called Ask the Dementia Coach.
So if you're interested in signing up for that, the link will be in the show notes below, and I look forward to seeing you on one of these special sessions. to us. That's amazing.
So for people like me, who might be, you know, not from the United States, and even though I do know what a Title I school is, some people listening may not actually know what a Title I school is.
Can you tell people what a Title I school is and why it is specifically important that these resources are going to a Title I school?

[17:04] If they register for the same time, so you can feel what it feels like to actually have dementia coaching.
The The reason I'm doing this is because I know so many of you guys are struggling

[18:31] Yeah, these Title I schools, schools. They're very numerous in the United States.
Telephone schools typically are in communities that have a lower socioeconomic status, meaning their average income is lower than the standard.
And they receive additional federal funds.
Well, they have a higher proportion of minority students.
They have a higher proportion of students who come from families that may not use English as their primary language.
And with the fact that they have lower income, these are families who really can't provide educational resources like books in their home.

[19:16] And so we've decided to focus on these Title I schools throughout the country and give them books so that each student gets at least one book that is grade appropriate, vetted by our organization, that pertains to dementia or disability.
And sometimes they get additional resources. And just recently, we've added books in Spanish.
Gosh and the feedback we're getting from not only principals and faculty but students i just got a note this morning from a school up in tennessee who says who wrote to her teacher and said i want to take the book out in spanish so i could learn how to communicate with some of my students, oh wow and this is a book that has both english and spanish on the same page so they're reading in english reading in spanish and learning the fact that they can communicate that's amazing so how do you guys find the books because when you a couple of things come out in my mind immediately when you say grade appropriate, you know, and Spanish.

[20:38] And the topic, dementia and, you know, disabilities, there aren't that many people who write books for that category.
So, how are you guys finding books and vetting the books that are going out to these kids?
Well, I have a board of directors that include previous book publishers, authors, teachers, educators who are connected as well as parent with disability to be able to identify these books.
And as we identify titles, and these titles are coming not just from our board of directors, they're coming from volunteers as well.
We use Scholastics as our main source, and they've put together a group of books, probably, I'm guessing, maybe over 100 books of their collection that pertain to our criteria of dementia or disability.

[21:48] And now some of their titles are in Spanish. And so they become a source of grade appropriate books because Scholastic does initial vetting and they identify the grade appropriateness.
And the additional titles we will actually vet by volunteers who will also look at this.
And frequently, I'll be writing to the authors, getting them to help clarify what grade level, age level this is appropriate for.
And so, yeah, it's a growing network that's happening.
And in year three, I'm just thrilled at how we're developing a very, very compiled and vetted list.
That's amazing. Amazing. So is it mostly for the lower grade children or is it like all the way through high school or are you still donating books to some of the libraries or both?
Well, all of the above, although recently we've been focusing more on the primary grades.

[22:55] I think it's important that our foundation support literacy and education.
And where does that start?
It starts at pre-K, kindergarten, grade one, where we have found excellent resources and been able to actually network with a foundation in New York City, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, who've written two excellent books.
One of them which is in Spanish now, and they've been able to be one of our main sponsors who are giving us these resources after we've paid for a couple of them.
And it's wonderful because they want to share the information too among Americans that want to help people and families that are suffering from Alzheimer's.
And it's a beautiful network.

[23:55] The fact that they now have one of the two titles in Spanish is phenomenal.
Oh, absolutely. We're putting this resource now into the schools and public libraries.
You talked about public libraries. Yes.

[24:09] We're giving books to their neighboring public library that are both at the adult and kid level.
And if we could find more resources at the adolescent level that we can vet appropriately, we're going to do more of that.
But right now, the focus seems to be more on the primary grades for legitimate reasons. Sure, absolutely.
So what I find fascinating, and I know this is going to sound a little bit out of left field, but I'm originally from South Africa.
And recently, like at the end of last year, I had lots of conversations with the Alzheimer's and Dementia Association of South Africa to see if there's a way that I could work with them.
Because dementia education and literacy in South Africa is vastly lacking.
And one of the things that they really have come out with as an identifying a need in South Africa is for the education not to be going to the adult children of somebody living with dementia, but to the grandchildren who are in primary school and in high school, because they are actually the primary caregiver.

[25:36] They're the ones that go home from school and take care of granny or granddad, because either the parent, the child of the person with dementia or the parent of the child is either working to support the family or have passed away.
And so it's this groundswell of people, young people, who need to be educated about what dementia is and how to help other people.
So I truly see the value of teaching the children, especially in these more, a lot of times, you know, Title I schools are very rural or they're very much in inner cities.
And like you said, socioeconomically, not necessarily as many resources.
So I truly appreciate the fact that you guys are working towards getting the information into the hands of young children.
And then the second part of that is what a wonderful way of over time changing the narrative about dementia and dementia caregiving to become a little bit more.

[26:52] Positive and not so scary for people because you know quite frankly that's really all you ever hear is how terrible it is I was watching a television program and I find it very I find it really great that they're including more people more subplots and stories in television programs about dementia but then I get so frustrated because the very second thing out of somebody's mouth is well well, there's nothing we can do.
Well, maybe there's nothing we can do, but there's a lot we can do.

[27:25] We don't have to struggle. We don't have to make it so it does not need to be as hard.
But when there's this negative connotation that it's the absolute, yes, it's hard, but that it's the worst thing ever, by bringing books into children, we can really start to change the the long-term view of this process for people so it's exciting to me yes not only not only children but the adult books that we're putting in these public libraries also have a positive twist on it because i'm putting into these public libraries and adding to their collection i make sure they don't have these books first of all because i hate to waste our resource I'm buying books that might be duplicates.
But yes, there are books like Activities to Do, 101 Ideas to Have Fun, and The Positive Effects.

[28:22] I facilitate a men's support group who are taking care of wives or parents with dementia.

[28:30] And bringing resources like this to their attention gives them the tools that can make those experiences more enjoyable.
Absolutely. And granted, the fact that dementia is a terminal disease without any solution or way of curing it is not to throw up your hands and say, I give up.
Exactly. What do I have with time now that we can't predict how long that will be?
How do we make that the best experience we can and provide the loving care and compassion so that we enjoy that moment together?
And this disease has been called the longest goodbye for a good reason.
It is a slow terminating disease in many cases.
Other ways, it does go quickly. In my case, it lasted seven years from the time of diagnosis.

[29:36] And those seven years were involved, as I mentioned earlier, in travel, in taking Nancy to see family, getting involved in activities that supported her disease through brain fitness, musical minds, names, Arts the Spark at the Art Museum.
She loved plays. She loved music. We continue to do that.
She loved sporting events and look out referees because she was definitely going to get on their case when she saw something that was wrong.
So it was always a treat to do that with her until it got to a point where crowds became a problem.
Outside noise became a problem.

[30:30] Her mood swings became more regular. And I had to make that very, very hard decision of placing her in a memory care facility.
And that is difficult. And men struggle with this. Women, I'm sure, struggle with it because we think that we can take care of it.
And men, especially, who are fixers, are very frustrated because they can't fix dementia.
Yeah. I actually had a one-on-one conversation with one of my coaching clients this morning before we recorded this.
And I use evidence-based tools and practices to help track people's stress levels.
And the conversation was, you know, his stress levels are at a level where we need to implement.

[31:25] Actionable strategies now or else he will burn out and you know so it was a very open and honest and frank conversation and we did touch on what are the options is memory care an option our our goal in the coaching is to try to keep her at home but it also I also recognize like way back when when I was young and dumb I'm like try to keep everybody at home well you can You cannot ever say that.
Some people really do need a memory care.
Some people can stay at home. It depends on every person's unique situation.
I've had many people in lower socioeconomic situations, but where they're big families, where they all take turns and so they're able to do it.
So every person's situation is different, but recognizing that, yes, memory care is not the worst decision to necessarily make.
It is sometimes the best decision for the person living with dementia, as well as the people who are helping them.
As difficult a decision as it is, it can be the right decision for the entire situation.

[32:50] You know, there are a lot of people out there who say never put anybody in a memory care or in a facility, and I'm not like that.
If we can, we do, but if we cannot, it is a good solution for the right person.

[33:07] I know a lot of my guys worry about plan B, what happens if their wife succeeds them and they pass away first, because unfortunately...

[33:19] People who are caregivers do die because of the stress or their medical conditions or a significant accident that takes their life away.
And so we frequently talk about what are the options? What have we laid out in advance?
Have you done all of the legal documents necessary and involve your spouse so that they're a player and the family knows what your wishes are?
Yep. And that is so crucial to be able to do that early on in the disease.
Absolutely. We are starting to get more and more opportunities for early identification.
I think the issue of why are we seeing such a growth in dementia numbers is because early identification and people are coming out and trying to find out.
Even though that information could be very, very negative, long range, the whole stigma, unfortunately, is there. And we need to break that.
And I believe Nana's Books is helping to counter that stigma with education.

[34:35] And I'm very, very proud that we're making inroads here.
I think I mentioned we are currently in eight states.
And my personal goal is to be in each state during my lifetime. time.
Oh, well, we have a lot of work to do, Dennis. We're going to get there.

The Impact of Nana's Books and Future Goals

[34:56] So what's the goal for this year? So you've almost doubled it from last year.
So what's the goal for this year?
And how can we support your goal? Our board has not yet set a goal for next year. No, I meant this year.
This year, we have almost finished our distribution.
Of our over 6,000 books to our eight schools.
And so next year, we will determine that.
We're in a process of obtaining the resources necessary to fund this venture because it doesn't come cheap.
These books are books that we are buying and then having to ship.
And USPS has raised their rates. And so, yeah, it becomes a factor.

[35:50] We're going to be looking for grant funding, And major corporate sponsors this year, besides individual sponsors.
But on our webpage, we have the opportunity to receive donations.
And our webpage is nanasbooks.org. Can't be much more simpler than nanasbooks.org.
And the opportunity to either donate or volunteer your time.
Volunteer time to vet books, suggest titles.
Or get involved in other ways, because the opportunities are here.
And unfortunately, the numbers keep increasing in terms of the number of families affected by dementia.
So I don't know if this came out on the cruise, but I'm in the process of writing a book.
And so it is supposed to come out at the end of this year. So I will see if we can donate, and they will not be for children.
I was sitting as we were talking, I'm like, you know, writing a book for children about dementia would be very difficult for me.

[37:02] I'm not like, I don't know that I could actually write a book for kids.
That would be like the biggest challenge for me to actually write a book for children.
But the book I'm writing is for adults and for family caregivers, because I believe that we are not doing a good job.
I believe the healthcare system has failed family caregivers.
They are making it even harder to be a family caregiver, and family caregivers do not have the help they need.
So I'm really focusing on family caregivers as opposed to, you know, it's not a lot of ink spilled about what is dimension, stuff like that.
My book is going to be very different and more focused on the family, more focused on the family caregiver.
Kind of like Tony's book. Yeah, the advocacy you're bringing, Lisette, to this topic is highly commendable.
And any Any proceeds you wish to donate to Nana's Books will be graciously accepted.
Oh, for sure. As I talked about sponsors.

[38:14] Did you know that caring for a person with dementia doesn't have to be this hard?
If you are struggling and you would like to join our next free workshop, I invite you to walk away with science-backed dementia caregiving skills that many professionals don't even know after attending this free workshop today.

[38:44] If you'd like to register, message me the word workshop on Instagram or check out the link in the show notes below.
The opportunity for a corporate sponsor is amazing here because for a $5,000 donation from a corporate sponsor, they will be able to identify a Title I school in their geographical area, their city, their state, and that's what's going to help us get to our 50-state connection.
Absolutely. Because there are companies here that have executives and staff who are affected by dementia or disability.
And it would be great support to their staff and their community and their educational system to be able to provide these resources.
And so that's the goal this year is to expand the amount of support we're getting so that we can then expand the amount of Title I schools in different states.

Dreaming Big with Nana's Books

[39:56] Yeah, I'm so excited that we're having this conversation because it's a different way of looking at dementia caregiving for families because we all recognize at some point or another, the dementia caregiving journey ends.
And I just think that you are such a testimony of what good can come out of the ashes, the way that you are bringing Nancy's legacy forward, but also how it's going to impact.
Impact this. It's like a tree, right?
The tree is growing.
We're not necessarily going to see the changes today, but impacting these children 10, 15, 20, 30 years from now, Nancy's legacy is going to still be there and it's going to continue to grow and expand as each of these children start to become more aware of how to interact or how to be around or what it even is or not to be afraid of it.
I just see such a tremendous mission for Nana's book. So I'm very excited about it.

[41:19] Well, I appreciate you inviting me, Lizette, because this podcast is is another opportunity to share this information and perhaps reach out to somebody who either individually wants to get involved or know somebody who's affected, who could be inspired by the fact that they too can make a difference.

[41:43] And that's exactly what Nana's books is doing. We've now touched over 6,000 students in these schools and, And eight communities. Yeah, that's amazing. And so it's a start. It's a start.
But we have to dream big.

[42:02] And I've done with 50 states. I think that's a pretty good dream.
There are over 40,000 Title I schools in the United States.
Wow. We won't touch them all.

[42:14] But by starting in this way, we'll break down some barriers.
We'll break down some of the stigmas.
We'll get people talking and showing that kindness and compassion.
That's essential from grandkids to grandparents, sons and daughters to mom and dads.
Because we need to have that strong support team that can only help create memories.
And that's my personal goal. and I believe I'm reaching out at the appropriate time to be able to do this.
Yeah, I think you're going to get into all 40,000 Title I schools.
Not in a year, but I think that if a foundation like this has the potential of doing that over time, For sure. I'm going to dream big for you. I'm going to dream big.
So for people who are wanting to reach out, the website again is nanasbooks.org, correct?
Correct. And there's an email address that they can write to us at nanasbooks21 at gmail.com.
Well, there you go. And for anybody who is listening, we will be putting all of this information in the show notes.

[43:41] Dennis really has a heart for people living with dementia.
I can attest to it. I have seen him work with, we had nine adults on the cruise that we went on, and just the love and support and care that Dennis demonstrated to the person living with dementia, but not more than just that, the family caregivers.
Dennis was one of the people who did the caregiver circles to provide the caregivers some opportunities to appropriately talk about some of the struggles that do come with being a family caregiver.
I had the joy of taking care of the person living with dementia while the the family caregiver circles were being done.
So I never got to see that side, but Dennis's heart is for these people living with dementia and supporting their family caregivers.
So Dennis, when you send me all of the information for the show notes, also send the information for the men's group.
Perhaps, you know, you do that virtually, right?

[44:50] I do one time a month virtually virtually on the third Thursday at 10 a.m. Eastern.
Zoom call. Matter of fact, I have people now attending from four different states.
Exactly. And so that's why I wanted to put it out there because men's groups are not as well formed as groups for women, daughters, you know, wives, that kind of thing.
So actually having a men's group, if there are people who are listening and are able to join virtually once a month, I think it's another resource we can give people.

[45:35] If they don't join, I send out a rash of attachment and information that can help support and sometimes provide just the incentive they need to do better. Not a rasher.
Not a rasher, because as we learned on the cruise, a rasher is? Bacon.

[46:00] One slice of bacon. One slice of bacon.
That's an inside joke because I did not know what a rasher of bacon was.
So Dennis edumacated me. So it's a long state. It's going to be a forever joke between the two of us.
Dennis, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate you being here.
Thank you for all these resources and for doing this for Nancy and doing Nana's books because this is definitely definitely a work of love, but such a legacy.
And that is the encouragement I want people to actually take today, is that we can make legacy after a dementia caregiving journey.
And somebody else's legacy may look a little bit different, but we can still create a legacy for the person that we loved and supported.
And I just am excited to see where Nana's books goes. So I thank you for being here today, and I look forward to maybe being on another cruise with you later.
Very good, Lisette. Good luck to you, and thank you again for this very generous invitation.
You are very welcome. All right. Well, thank you guys for being here today, and listen to the next episode.

Wrapping Up and Call to Action

[47:23] Thanks for joining me today, Success Seeker. I pour my heart and soul into this program to serve you.
You can serve me by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts and join our free Facebook group, Dementia Caregiving for Families.
It's a positive and proactive space to navigate dementia caregiving together.

[47:48] Music.

[47:48] Get practical tools and find support, but without the verbal vomit.
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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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