Renowned Alzheimer’s educator to speak in Sioux Falls


This piece is presented by Grand Living.

Anyone with a loved one experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can leave with positive tools and a sense of hope at an upcoming program.

Celebrated Alzheimer’s education speaker and author Jolene Brackey will speak Nov. 15 in a public forum at 7 p.m. at Grand Living in Sioux Falls. She’ll also visit with families whose loved ones are residents in the Luminations at Grand Living memory care program.

Brackey’s book, “Creating Moments of Joy Along the Alzheimer’s Journey,” has sold more than 100,000 copies. Here’s a preview of the valuable perspective she brings to Sioux Falls.

Part of your expertise involves helping people understand Alzheimer’s and those living with it. Do you find there are common misconceptions?

Absolutely. We’ve been playing roles for a lifetime with our parents or friends, and now the disease is asking us to redefine it. For families, a common misconception is that they can fix it, that they can figure it out. And this is a disease that has not been figured out. There’s a different area in which we can place our energy. From a community standpoint, some think people with Alzheimer’s are scary. They have this idea that they’re violent or have certain behaviors, particularly because of our history of what it means to lose your mind. From my experience, I would rather hang out with a person with dementia than certain cognitive people. 

You offer some positive tools for people whose loved ones are living with Alzheimer’s. Are there some common takeaways people find once you’ve spoken to them? 

Yes. The biggest one is to stop correcting them. To accept them as they are and that this is a disease that progresses. People will leave with a sense of hope. That’s the biggest thing people go away with. They leave with a sense of hope that they can do this. That’s the biggest feedback I get.

You talk about helping people with Alzheimer’s “get their greatness back.” How can people do that?

Let go of their expectation that they should do it the way they always did it. Put back in their hands what’s been in their hands many times. A woman told me when her mother sees her embroidery work, sees her bag and the work left undone, she gets really frustrated because she knows she can’t do it. But when you put in her room things that she has made, then they can show off who she is.

Your book is titled “Creating Moments of Joy.” How do you suggest people turn challenging situations into moments of joy?

Smile. Literally. And be lighter. It can get pretty simple if you do those two things. Smile, be lighter and accept what’s happening. If it’s a really challenging situation, leave the room. Take a 20-second, 20-minute break, breathe and come in differently. If I know it’s not going well, there’s something I’ve got to do different. It’s my responsibility to do something differently because they can’t change. I’m the only one who can change.

Who should consider attending your talk in Sioux Falls?

Anyone and everyone who has been touched by Alzheimer’s — if you’re a friend, a sibling or a family member. I think at this point we all will be touched. Anyone who’s along the journey with someone with Alzheimer’s.

Grand Living takes a very intentional approach to offering memory care. What are your impressions of their programs and services?

The leadership has personal experience with loved ones and Alzheimer’s, and that makes all the difference in the world. That evokes empathy and acute attention to detail because you just want to do something that supports these people. These are friends and neighbors. They have done a fabulous job. The intention was pure and from the heart.

Grand Living is located in the Lake Lorraine development at 2815 W. Lake Drive in Sioux Falls. To learn more about the Luminations program and Jolene Brackey’s visit, click here.

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Renowned Alzheimer’s educator to speak in Sioux Falls

Anyone with a loved one experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can leave with positive tools and a sense of hope at an upcoming program.

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