Latest News

Living with Dementia: Help and Hope

On August 22, 2020, First Presbyterian Church, along with 10 other interdenominational, interracial congregations in the Tuscaloosa, AL area, offered a virtual dementia conference called Living with Dementia: Help and Hope.  The conference featured pre-recorded presentations by well-known experts, including Deborah Jackson, founder of Healed3D Ministries, and Brian LeBlanc, who is living with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  There were two panels, one of caregivers and one of dementia support organizations.

All the content of the conference, including a resource page, is featured for public access at the following link:

https://www.fpctusc.org/members/dementia-caregiver-conference/

New Podcast Features the Story of Lester Potts

Cognitive Dynamics is pleased to be a partner organization for TightKnit, a content series about care giving and care partnerships sponsored and created by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.

TightKnit features 2 short documentaries and 8 podcasts.  One of the podcasts, The Unseen Hand, features the story of Lester Potts as told by his son, Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN, founder and President of Cognitive Dynamics Foundation.

The podcast may be found at the following link:

https://ralph-c-wilson-jr-foundation.simplecast.com/episodes/the-unseen-hand

New Video Features the Story and Art of Lester Potts

This Is Alabama, in collaboration with Bryant Bank has released a video featuring the art and story of Lester E. Potts, Jr. as part of the Power of Caring video series, which highlights “people and organizations throughout the state of Alabama that epitomize the Power of Caring (from the Bryant Bank website).

The video may be accessed and shared via the following link:

https://www.thisisalabama.org/2020/07/30/this-alzheimers-patient-inspired-hundreds-with-his-stunning-art/

 

New Inspirational Video Resources from Cognitive Dynamics

Cognitive Dynamics would like to share links to 4 newly edited and released videos that we feel will be sources of education, comfort and inspiration for you and those in your circles, especially care givers/care partners, and those who work in dementia care. These videos highlight the powerful stories and advocacy of three individuals you know well, Lynda EvermanDr. Don Wendorf, and Dr. Richard Morgan

Below are public, shareable links to the videos, which appear on our foundation’s YouTube channel, CognitiveDynamics1, along with brief descriptions of the content of the videos. 

1) Dr. Richard Morgan: Still Ministering to Elders, Persons Living with Dementia, and Care Givers 

https://youtu.be/OVtZjX2NvrE

In October of 2016, Cognitive Dynamics Foundation President, neurologist Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN traveled to North Huntingdon, PA with fellow dementia advocates Lynda Everman and Dr. Don Wendorf to interview retired Presbyterian pastor, author and Clergy and Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalitions co-convener, Dr. Richard Morgan about his lifelong ministry to elders, persons living with dementia and caregivers. In this interview, rich in faith, as well as stories and wisdom gained over the decades, Dr. Morgan discusses his lifetime of caring for, and taking up the cause of the marginalized, and speaks of his many books, including No Act of Love is Ever Wasted: The Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia. In his late eighties in this interview, Dr. Morgan displays the passion and fiery love that still lights his ministry, which his friends and loved ones know so well.

2) Dr. Richard Morgan: Treasure for Alzheimer’s 

https://youtu.be/r-XyEq66d1o

In this shorter clip taken from the full interview above, Dr. Morgan speaks about his experiences using the art of Lester E. Potts, Jr., a rural Alabama saw miller who discovered hidden artistic talent in the throes of Alzheimer’s, to engage persons living with late-stage dementia whom he visited in long-term care facilities. Dr. Morgan shares how connections and relationships were forged which formerly did not exist, and gives hope to caregivers and others who seek to know the identities still deeply present inside each of us despite the loss of cognition. The book, Treasure for Alzheimer’s is available amazon. 

3) Reflections on Care Giving: An Interview with Dr. Don Wendorf

 https://youtu.be/ehJHQqf30wo

On March 27, 2015, Cognitive Dynamics Foundation President, Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN interviewed Don Wendorf, Psy. D, retired psychologist, author and Alzheimer’s/dementia advocate about his care giving experience for his late wife, Susan. Don discusses how to remain focused on the personhood of the loved one living with dementia, and see their behavior from their perspective. He emphasizes the importance of empathy in caregiving to nurture the relationship and help with the care partner’s own emotional struggles. The interview, vulnerable, honest and authentic, is rich in insights which can aid other care givers on their journeys.

4) Reflections on Care Giving and Advocacy: An Interview with Lynda Everman 

https://youtu.be/XulxJ61RS-o

On March 27, 2015, Cognitive Dynamics Foundation President, Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN interviewed Lynda Everman, advocate, author and co-convener of several national dementia advocacy networks (ActivistsAgainstAlzheimer’s, WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s, Clergy and Faith United Against Alzheimer’s) because, in her words, “Love requires action.”  In this interview, Lynda talks about care giving for her late father and late husband, and how she channeled these experiences into effective advocacy. Lynda’s personal stories and reflections speak to the importance of the ministry of presence and convey her central message: “These are still  the people you love. They are valuable. Continue to love them and be present with them.”

We are grateful to videographer and editor, Brian Covert, of Covert Productions, for producing these videos. 

Urban Sensory Garden Innovation in Bringing Art to Life Chicago

Bringing Art to Life – Chicago, a program of art therapy, STEM education, multi-cultural intergenerational relationships, virtual reality immersion, life story appreciation and person-centered care started in 2016, has added a collaborative innovation: an urban sensory garden on the campus of Wesley Place memory care facility at Chicago Methodist Senior Services. 

Bringing Art to Life  – Chicago was made possible, in part, through a grant from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Read about the exciting new program here:

Urban Sensory Garden Finds its Roots at CMSS

Bringing Art to Life Chicago Innovations

Bringing Art to Life – Chicago, a service – learning program for high school students in the Chicago, IL area, engages students and persons living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia in art and other expressive arts therapies, reminiscence and life story-sharing. Students form multicultural, intergenerational relationships with their dementia partners, and participate in comprehensive educational sessions about dementia, including appropriate methods of interacting with persons living with dementia, etc.

Bringing Art to Life – Chicago is a collaboration between Cognitive Dynamics Foundation and Chicago Methodist Senior Services, and has received support from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and High Socks for Hope Foundation. Medical students from Rush University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois serve as facilitators of the program. Through the technology of Embodied Labs, students have virtual reality experiences living with dementia as part of their training.

During this summer’s session of Bringing Art to Life – Chicago, our high school student participants and their partners living with dementia are exploring the wonders of nature together as they plant and enjoy a sensory garden at Chicago Methodist Senior Services. The sensory garden complements the experience they are having together in art therapy, and the developing relationships help to combat stigma and build empathy.

The photos below were taken on 7-27-2019 at the sensory garden.

To learn more about Bringing Art to Life, check this link: https://www.cognitivedynamics.org/bringing-art-to-life/

Cognitive Dynamics Releases Documentary Short, “Do You Know Me Now?”

Cognitive Dynamics is pleased to offer our award-winning 27:30 minute documentary short, Do You Know Me Now?, for free access on our Youtube Channel, CognitiveDynamics1, at the link below.

Do You Know Me Now? shows ways in which care partners can connect in the moment and have a mutually fulfilling relationship – one which discovers the person beneath the disease and builds upon remaining abilities and personality traits. Life is about relationships, and these relationships need not be lost due to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Do You Know Me Now? explores relationships and personhood, taking a novel look at what it means to be a person with dementia who is still very much alive and possessing those traits upon which relationships may be built, even late into the disease. The project highlights stories of people living with dementia and their loved ones who have found ways to connect — who have discovered joy, beauty and self-expression despite the losses.

Do You Know Me Now? reminds us that while cognitive ability diminishes, deep personhood lives on.

The film, directed and co-produced by Canadian film maker, Judith Murray, and edited and co-produced by American film maker, Brian Covert, features Ed and Naomi Feil (Founder of Validation Therapy), Rita and James Houston (Founder of Regent College), Joan and Cathie Borrie (Author of The Long Hello), and Lester and Ethelda Potts (Parents of Cognitive Dynamics Founder, Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN).

Building a Dementia-Friendly Community Through a Framework of Faith

Below is the transcription of a plenary address,”Building a Dementia-Friendly Community Through a Framework of Faith,” offered at the Andrew Gerow Hodges Chapel of Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama on April 26, 2018 by Dr. James M. Houston, Professor Emeritus of Spiritual Theology at Regent College. The event was part of a faith-based dementia-friendly initiative of  Cognitive Dynamics Foundation in collaboration with the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, funded by a grant from Dementia Friendly Alabama.

A video of the event can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFG8GQhxxMI

For inquiries about the Dementia Friendly Initiative from Cognitive Dynamics, please contact project directors, Lynda Everman and Dr. Don Wendorf, at ldeverman@icloud.com

Click here for a transcription of Dr. Houston’s address.

Dr. James M. Houston

Andrew Gerow Hodges Chapel

Cognitive Dynamics Hosts Renowned Theologian

Cognitive Dynamics Foundation, in collaboration with Dementia Friendly Alabama and the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition, is sponsoring a free lecture, “Building a Dementia Friendly Community Through a Framework of Faith,” featuring Dr. James M. Houston on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. in Beeson Divinity School’s Andrew Gerow Hodges Chapel in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Houston, a pupil and friend of C. S. Lewis and a world-renowned scholar in Christian spiritual theology, was also the primary caregiver for his late wife, Rita, who had dementia. He brings this foundation and a most personal perspective into discussion of what the faith community can do to serve families impacted by dementia.

In addition, Dr. Houston will be speaking to a group of students and faculty at the University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center on April 27, 2018 at 1 pm on the topic, “Wisdom for the Journey.”

For more information, contact Lynda Everman ldeverman@icloud.com 865-406-6178

Dr. James M. Houston

 

Cognitive Dynamics Begins Dementia Friendly Initiative

Cognitive Dynamics Foundation has partnered with Dementia Friendly Alabama and the Faith United Against Alzheimer’s Coalition (a network of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s) to more effectively support and serve Alabama residents who are living with dementia and their care partners and families.

Supported by a grant from the Central Alabama Aging Consortium via its Dementia Friendly Alabama Initiative, projects leads Lynda Everman and Dr. Don Wendorf, internationally recognized dementia advocates, will provide resources and education to faith communities in the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa area.  During the Feb. 1 – July 31, 2018 grant period, visits will be arranged with staff of faith-based organizations to talk with them about what constitutes a dementia friendly faith-based community and leave them with tangible educational and caregiving resources and ideas to initiate or expand this ministry of compassionate dementia care.

The program is aimed at two underserved populations: 1) individuals with dementia and their care partners, who due to the cognitive, physical, emotional, and financial challenges presented by this disease, are no longer able to fully participate in their faith communities; and 2) faith communities who may not know how to recognize, interact with, and support their members with dementia and their care partners.

As part of the initiative, Cognitive Dynamics will host a Distinguished Lecture by renowned theologian James M. Houston, MA, BSc, DPhil in collaboration with Beeson Divinity School at Samford University on April 26, 2018 at 7 pm.  The topic of this lecture will be “Building a Dementia Friendly Community through a Framework of Faith.”

Cognitive Dynamics hopes to collaboratively raise awareness of the unique needs of this population in our community, help reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and foster dementia friendly faith communities where those living with Alzheimer’s and their care partners feel respected, supported, and included, and where they can continue to participate in activities that are meaningful to them.

For more information about this program, please contact us at info@cognitivedynamics.org.