DiscoverSpotlight on Care: Alzheimer's Caregiving
Spotlight on Care: Alzheimer's Caregiving
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Spotlight on Care: Alzheimer's Caregiving

Author: UCI MIND

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Welcome to Spotlight on Care, the podcast where we share stories, experiences, tips and advice on caring for loved ones affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Spotlight on Care is produced by the University of California, Irvine Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, UCI MIND. Please subscribe to the Spotlight on Care podcast wherever you listen. For more information, visit What would like to hear about next? Email us at
35 Episodes
Steve and Virginia are joined by Elizabeth Lonseth, an author and caregiver, who discusses the dangers of denial in Alzheimer’s caregiving. She touches on the many ways that both patients and caregivers can suffer when caregivers do not come to terms with the realities of the disease.  Elizabeth also gives listeners a few tips to help improve the caregiver journey. To learn more about Elizabeth visit
Virginia is joined by Dr. Natali Edmonds, a board certified Geropsychologist and founder of Dementia Careblazers, an online resource for dementia caregivers. Dr. Edmonds talks about 4 mistakes caregivers make when dealing with their loved ones, and the steps we can take to avoid these behaviors. You can learn more about Dr. Edmonds and Dementia Careblazers at
Virginia and Steve are joined once again by Lisa Up de Graff, one of their first guests, who gives an update on her mother’s Alzheimer's disease journey. Lisa describes new challenges she has faced as the disease has progressed and recounts how she has dealt with transitioning her mother into hospice care.
Virginia is joined by Irene Olson, author of the book, “Requiem for the Status Quo'' and a state long-term care Ombudsman. Irene shares tips and challenges she faced with being a long distance caregiver for her father. She emphasizes the importance of building a strong relationship with the staff at the care facility, which in her case, allowed her to remain involved in her father’s care, even at a distance. Irene Olson is a member of AlzAuthors, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that serves as a carefully curated resource for caregivers and family members of those living with dementia. Find them at: To purchase her book, "Requiem for the Status Quo", visit:    
Dr. Joshua Grill, PhD, is a professor at UC Irvine in the departments of Psychiatry & Human Behavior and Neurobiology and Behavior, as well as the director of UCI MIND. Dr. Grill joins Steve to discuss risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, steps people can take to lower their risk and the promising investigational therapies. He also cautions listeners about the prevalence of pseudomedicine for dementia.
Virginia and Steve are joined by Patti Davis, author of the book, Floating in The Deep End, and daughter of former United States President, Ronald Reagan. She recounts several different experiences she had while caring for her father who publicly lived with Alzheimer’s disease. She also provides the listeners with sage advice she learned from her caregiver journey and from her time with Beyond Alzheimer’s, a caregiver support group she started at UCLA. To learn more about Patti’s experience, purchase her book, Floating in the deep end: How caregivers can see beyond Alzheimer’s visit:
Virginia and Steve speak with Dr. Galindo, who cared for her father with Alzheimer's disease and helps the listeners understand the importance of simplifying the holidays to maximize enjoyment for everyone.  She gives tips on focusing on one or two traditions and recruiting help  instead of trying to balance caregiving with all of the pressures of maintaining family traditions.  For more caregiver resources  at the holidays and throughout the year visit or call the helpline at 844-373-4400. Happy Holidays! 
Dee Ransom joins Steve and Virginia to discuss some of the adjustments she has had to make being a caregiver for her husband, John, who lives with Alzheimer’s disease. Dee shares her experience learning to advocate for her husband, adapting to changes in their relationship and the difficulty and hidden blessings involved in placing him in a residential facility.
Erin Light, MA, is a gerontologist and a senior administrator at Silverado Senior Living, a memory care company based in Southern California. She joins Steve and Virginia to discuss how to manage wandering in a loved one with dementia. Erin begins by giving an overview of what wandering is and provides some early signs to look out for. She also discusses what precautions caregivers should take to help keep their loved ones who wander, safe.
Steve and Virginia are joined by Lindsay Hohsfield, PhD, a neuroscientist at UCI and co-founder of a non-profit organization called Youngtimers, to discuss the role that our genes play in Alzheimer’s disease. She helps the audience understand the difference between sporadic and familial Alzheimer’s, early- versus late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and gives advice to those who are concerned about their genetic risk of developing the disease. To learn more about Lindsays organization, Youngtimers, please visit 
Steve and Virginia are joined by Heather Kruse, a licensed RN who specializes in dementia and hospice services. Heather was the hospice nurse for Steve’s wife, Patty at the time of her passing. She discusses the different services offered during hospice care and the things to keep in mind when deciding on hospice for a loved one.
Our hosts are joined today by LA Times writer Jeanette Marantos and Virginia's brother, lawyer Bob Simpson, to tell us how they knew it was time to stop their loved one with Alzheimer's Disease from driving. They share stories on the challenges they faced and the clever ways they were able to get around them. 
Jeanette Marantos joins Virginia and Steve to discuss her experiences traveling with her husband, Steven, who had Alzheimer's disease, as well as sharing her tips on making travel manageable. 
In this episode, Virginia and Steve are joined by Cindy Weinstein, Ph.D., who co-authored a book with neurologist, Dr. Bruce Miller titled, Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain. Dr. Weinstein talks about the guilt and grief she dealt with after her father was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease. She describes the challenges of being away from him while in graduate school, and the different strategies she used to stay connected and to manage her sadness.
Virginia and Steve are joined by Jim Russell, MBA, PhD, who shares his emotional story of being a caregiver to his mother with Alzheimers and then to his daughter, Lynne,  who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease at 48 years old. He describes the challenges in managing his daughter's finances and her family as the disease has progressed.   
Virginia and Steve are joined by UCI Senior Health Center physician and UCI MIND researcher, Steven Tam, M.D., who describes some of the early symptoms of cognitive impairment, and the general approach he takes when assessing a patient.   He answers questions about current treatments.  He emphasizes the importance of gathering a complete history of the patient prior to making a diagnosis. 
In this episode, Steve and Virginia are joined again by friend and caregiver, Roger Lisabeth who describes his experience in end-of-life planning while his wife Lucy is still alive. Roger emphasizes the importance of being properly prepared when the day arrives and describes some important details many of us may overlook when planning a funeral.
Mark Wilson is back with co-hosts, Virginia and Steve to share his tips on outfitting your loved one's home to be safe.  He reflects on his experience caring for his mom  who lived at home with him for the entirety of her Alzheimer's dementia journey.  Mark provides low cost solutions to many of the unique challenges that caregivers face in a home environment like protecting against hard slippery surfaces in the bathroom or curtailing wandering at night .  
The co-hosts are joined by business owner and friend, David Willke who recently lost his wife Jill to early-onset Alzheimer's disease.  David shares his experience raising his children while serving as a caregiver to his wife and the challenges he faced trying to create a normal childhood for his girls. 
Virginia and Steve are joined by Linda Abbit, an eldercare professional and caregiver with over 25 years of experience in dementia caregiving. She has authored a book called, The Conscious Caregiver: A Mindful Approach to Caring For Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself (Simon and Schuster, 2017). In this episode, the trio discuss the importance of prioritizing self-care for the caregiver, tapping in to mindfulness, how to identify burn-out, and utilizing respite care. To learn more about Linda's work visit her Facebook page at: If you like this episode, please rate, review, subscribe and share it with your friends. We're eager to hear topics you want us to discuss. Please email us at and let us know your thoughts. 
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