Finding a New Path With Dementia

Retirees and others living with one of the many different types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, are breaking the stereotypes.

(Image credit: Alistair Berg)

On a recent morning in Washington, D.C., Mary Radnofsky throws a bright yellow apron over her head, ties it around her waist and breaks into a smile. The 59-year-old is happily anticipating the start of her shift as an occasional volunteer at a downtown museum, where she supervises children eagerly exploring a hands-on invention lab. On other days, when she feels up to it, she visits art museums or chats with neighbors and fellow pet owners as she walks her dog. “I’m enjoying my life,” she says.

Radnofsky was diagnosed with dementia five years ago, but she hardly fits the stereotypical image of someone living with the disease. Instead, she typifies a recent movement to change the way people view and treat dementia. People with the diagnosis can defy its negative stereotypes and still find meaning and purpose in their lives, the movement asserts—a message supported by a growing number of people with dementia, their care partners, and clinicians and health professionals who specialize in dementia care.

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Mary Kane
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Retirement Report
Mary Kane is a financial writer and editor who has specialized in covering fringe financial services, such as payday loans and prepaid debit cards. She has written or edited for Reuters, the Washington Post, BillMoyers.com, MSNBC, Scripps Media Center, and more. She also was an Alicia Patterson Fellow, focusing on consumer finance and financial literacy, and a national correspondent for Newhouse Newspapers in Washington, DC. She covered the subprime mortgage crisis for the pathbreaking online site The Washington Independent, and later served as its editor. She is a two-time winner of the Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards sponsored by the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. She also is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, where she teaches a course on journalism and publishing in the digital age. She came to Kiplinger in March 2017.