Don't miss the first part of our exclusive interview series with the incredible Amy LaGrant!
Discover her remarkable journey and unwavering dedication to making a difference in the world of Alzheimer's and Dementia care.
Amy is a TEDx speaker, Owner & Co-Founder of BrandMETTLE, and a board member of the Alzheimer's Association Tennessee Chapter.
Thank you, Amy, for your time and sharing your expertise as part of Home Helpers Water Cooler Chat. Also, a very special thank you to our friends at TVGuestpert, that helped to make this interview happen!
#AmyLaGrant #TEDxSpeaker #AlzheimersCare #DementiaSupport #CompassionAndPurpose
To watch Amy’s TEDx talk, watch below or click the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jj9cWKcrmv0
Contact: Amy LaGrant
Owner & Co-Founder, BrandMETTLE
[Jonathan] Welcome to this edition of Home Helper’s Water Cooler Chat. Today we present to you the first installment of a captivating two-part series featuring a remarkable guest, Amy LaGrant, who has dedicated her life to making a difference. In this first installment, we dive into the inspiring journey of Amy LaGrant and discuss her recent talk on the TED stage.
Amy LaGrant is an esteemed marketing and gerontology professional with over two decades of experience serving seniors and family caregivers. She also possesses a degree in gerontology and a master’s in social anthropology, enriching her understanding of the aging process and its impact on society. Amy’s dedication to the senior audience is evident through her active involvement on the boards of esteemed organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association in Tennessee and Aging 2.0.
In this interview, Amy shares her personal motivations and experiences that propelled her into the world of Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Her insightful perspective sheds light on the challenges faced by caregivers and the importance of fostering a connection and supportive environment. Are you ready to meet the incredible Amy Lou Grant? Prepare to be enlightened, inspired, and moved. Let’s go.
So thank you so much, Amy LaGrant, for joining us today for this episode of Home Helpers Water Cooler Chat. How are you doing today?
[Amy] I’m well. Thank you so much for having me.
[Jonathan] Thank you. So I want to dive right into it. The first question I have for you is how you get involved in working with those that are living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
[Amy] Oh, that is a bit of a weighted question, especially this week. Tomorrow is going to be my dad’s 80th birthday, or would have been my dad’s 80th birthday. I lost my father and my grandfather both to Lewy body dementia. I started at a very young age getting involved in gerontology. And actually, I say this joke like I’ve been working with seniors since I was five years old because I used to volunteer at skilled nursing communities and adult day centers in my early days and then kind of fell in love with seniors. And then, when my grandfather was diagnosed with dementia, which was very early on in the dementia journey for our world, I guess it is the best way to describe it. And where treatments were not available. And we, I remember actually, I saw his medication list in the bathroom when he was visiting my family. And I went down and asked my grandmother and my mom and asked why Grandpa was on Aricept. And they said, ‘What’s Aricept?’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s actually the most prescribed drug for Alzheimer’s and dementia.’ And after that, my grandmother discovered that my grandfather had been diagnosed with dementia. He didn’t even tell her. And so ever since that moment, I have really fallen in love with helping people understand this disease, raising awareness of this disease, and really the benefits of early diagnosis.
[Jonathan] Thank you so much for sharing that. I mean, that is important to raise awareness, right? And to do that, whether just in your community or worldwide. So thank you so much for doing that. So, Amy, you actually did a TED talk, and I’ve watched it twice. And so I’m anxious to share more about your TED talk with the world. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
[Amy] Yeah. I had the wonderful opportunity to be able to share my caregiving story via TED Talks. And if everybody who, I think everybody falls in love with Ted when they watch their first TED accent, I will tell you being on the TED stage was an absolute bucket list dream for me. I’ve been a TED groupie for many, many, many decades. And having that opportunity to be on that stage and then, on top of it, to be able to share my caregiving story. So my talk, I hope everybody who is listening here today will take the opportunity to check it out is really about being a gerontologist and then being a daughter. And one of my favorite lines in that talk is that it’s completely different when you call your patient dad. And my talk is about what that journey was like for our family and me, quote-unquote, being an expert in gerontology, and the fumbles and the falls that I had in my journey as well.
And the main crux of my talk is about connection and creating connection. I think there’s a lot of advice out there about what you should be doing, and I think every journey with dementia and every family is different. And the experience of dementia is different for every person. And I think that’s what makes caring for somebody with dementia so challenging is that there’s no true roadmap on how that’s going to go. And everybody’s experience is so different. You know, Lewy bodies dementia is very different from Alzheimer’s. And what that looks like and how that represents individuals can be very different. And the talk really talks about the way that we created connections within my family.
And I share a couple of stories that allowed my dad to experience some autonomy, allowed him to be able to participate, and allowed us to be a part of something more than dementia. And I think that’s what happens when you’re a caregiver of somebody with dementia. I feel like all the conversations you’re having are about dementia, are about caring for dementia, about working through, you know, the adults, and you lose sight of the relationship that used to exist. Your relationship before had nothing to do with dementia. And what I think people need to do and what they need to work towards is trying to figure out how do we have a relationship again that is not just patient caregiver. And that was where I wanted to focus and really figure out, you know, because I had a very challenging relationship with my dad before dementia. And I knew that I wanted these years to be good years, very challenging years. But I wanted to have some moments. And I will say, you know, he passed away in 2020.
And I look back with some level of fondness for those memories. There were definitely those stories that I could share of not-so-great memories, but we also were able to make connections. And I end my talk about that story, about what our relationship evolved to and what it looked like and what it could be, and that there are glimpses of hope and there are moments of joy. I will not make light of the moments of pain that exist as well, but that being able to share that and hopefully give people a different perspective on what it looks like and also allow people to acknowledge that it’s ugly and you’re not perfect every day, and you’re doing the best that you can. And so I hope that’s what my talk gives people when they listen to it.”
[Jonathan] Excellent. Thank you, Amy. Yes, that was a very important talk. And I think all of our viewers should watch that TED talk. I think it was about maybe 12 minutes long or something like that. So it won’t take them that long to watch, and I will certainly, certainly share the link or the information about that TED Talk in this video and in the comments.
*A line from Amy LaGrant’s TED Talk*
“You see, I approach my dad’s dementia with the way I was taught, with my research in hand and the list of all the things you should do when caring for somebody with this disease.”
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