IamA, writer and speaker, Judy Cornish, believer in supporting the abilities of dementia. AMA!
I am Judy Cornish and I’m the creator of the DAWN Method and founder of DAWN (the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network®). I am also a recovering attorney, avid skier and gardener, devotee of the Met Opera HD, and dedicated pursuer of the perfect shot of espresso.
Like any endeavor of the heart, finding a better way to provide dementia care wasn’t my plan back in 2010. I’d moved to this small town in northern Idaho to semi-retire and practice elder law part time. But I couldn’t stand by when a neighbor with Alzheimer’s needed help, and then another neighbor, and another, and soon I was completely absorbed in finding a way to design better dementia care.
What I came up with was this: Dementia is bad, but not all bad. Dementia takes away rational thought but not intuitive thought—and it’s intuitive thought that lets us do the fun things in life. Dementia takes away the remembering self but not the experiential self—which is only bad news if caregivers don’t understand what an experiential self does. And finally, dementia causes emotional distress, not craziness or behaviors. It’s the emotional pain that’s the problem (we all act a little crazy when we’re upset or can't figure out what's going on).
I’ve spent the last two years developing a training program and writing two books. We’re videoing my classes this spring and plan to have my first book, The Dementia Handbook – How to Provide Dementia Care at Home, out on Amazon in March.
Our goal at DAWN is very simple: We want to equip every family and every caregiver to provide truly supportive dementia care, so people can stay home and families can avoid the incredibly high cost of long-term care. But, more than anything, we want every person who experiences dementia to have a partner who understands the beauty of living intuitively.
So, I’m here to answer any questions you might have about this kinder way to provide dementia care, one that makes dementia care less painful for everyone involved.