About The Dopamine Diaries

I hope to provide a down-to-earth glimpse at the heartache and humor of witnessing a parent’s journey through dementia and to offer a forum for related discussion and support.

On a larger and longer-term scale, I aim to promote the idea and practice of holistic aging and community-based holistic elder care, which is strangely absent from the discussion in most communities at present.

My perspective is somewhat unique as a younger than usual caregiver (I just turned 40), and one who strongly opposes social segregation of the elderly and mentally ill.

That said, I found myself completely pummelled by the realities and hardships of trying to care for my mother at home, and was surprised to find that it didn’t get much easier once she moved to assisted living.  Due to dementia issues and a few med-induced scary emotional episodes, Mom currently lives in memory care, which is hardly where she and her children had envisioned her last few years, but we’re making the best of it until there’s a better solution in sight.

My mother has probably had lewy body dementia for numerous years, though at the time she was diagnosed, they could best associate her symptoms with Parkinson’s disease.  Both diseases are treated with similar medications, especially when the issues of concern are more prevalent in the mind, which has always been the case with Carol Jean, my mother.

About the blog name:

My mother’s dopamine levels have been the tumultuous thermostat for great fun or much angst the past five years.  Lewy Body dementia and Parkinson’s disease both interfere with this much needed brain substance.  The drop in dopamine used to be fairly predictable, so we could plan our days accordingly, but lately as she has progressed, we never know.  It’s always an adventure.

About me:

I’m a gardener, part-time teacher, herbalist and a big fan of Peace Pilgrim, Wendell Berry, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Pema Chodron.  I keep my exact location and identity mostly private, so I can vent freely about medical and residential issues without fear of liability and also to protect my mom’s identity.  I currently live in Wisconsin with my bike-happy husband, our two spirited cats, and many, many plants.

Blog Fantasy:

I’m hoping that this blog will be one avenue to connect with like-minded, creative, holistic, forward-thinking, inclusive dreamers to brainstorm and eventually create better models of residential and community care for elders and ultimately ourselves.  I want to see dementia-care integrated into communities, surrounded by accessible gardens, parks, and children’s playgrounds.  I want to work towards this vision so that one day such places will exist so that that isolation and exclusion does not have to be an everyday reality for us when we reach the final stages of life and health.

Carol Jean, on leave from memory care, cleaning up our back yard.

To contact me: 

Thanks for stopping by!

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4 Responses to About The Dopamine Diaries

  1. Katie says:

    I think you will really enjoy this link. Make sure you check out all the areas on this site as well. Hope it helps. Changing Aging

    http://changingaging.org/about/

    • Katie,

      How kind of you to pass that on! I did enjoy it and was thrilled to find a like-minded idealist who had published a bunch of books on aging the way I would love to see it. I subscribed to the feed.

      Thanks again!

  2. Pingback: Plotting their escape | The Dopamine Diaries

  3. Katie says:

    You are most welcome, and I have several other links that you might be interested in. The links I have are based on years of searching. The links researched were based on my mother, then an elderly lady I care for, and then for my goal to open up my home to elders. Long story concerning opening my home, which consisted of court cases, neighborhood objection and their case against me. I ended up winning both cases, but it took 14 months, and drained all my funds waiting for the outcome. I am praying that even though I won the battles, that I did not loose the war. So great to see your blog. If you even need any help or advice with links, law, etc. just let me know. You are more then welcome to email me as well at yngathrrt@yahoo.com Katie

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