Podcast: Leaders in Elder Care – Dr. Richard Taylor on Alzheimer’s- The Farthest Thing From the Long Goodbye

UPDATE: Thank you everyone for your support for promotion of the Leaders in Elder Care Series. I had many, many requests to integrate the series into Inside Elder Care.  I’m kicking it off with on my my favorites, so enjoy!

Once in a while, you have the unique pleasure of meeting someone that just stuns you.  While it is certainly their words that enter your ears, it is their demeanor that ignites their message.  For me, Richard Taylor is one of the people.  For me, Richard Taylor is nothing short of a hero.

There are volumes written about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but I’ve yet to find one that delivers its message with the character and courage that Richard does.  In our interview, Richard conveys such courage and leadership in his battle with Alzheimer’s that it has fundamentally changed the way I think about the disease.

This interview is a bit longer than our others (45 mins), but I highly recommend it for families grappling with dementia.  I also consider it a “must list” for people who have yet to spend much time with people affected dementia.  Enjoy!

How Richard Describes Himself

Richard Taylor, a retired Psychologist, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s-type dementia in 2001 at the age of 58. Now 65, he is a champion for individuals with early-stage and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and author of the book Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out (Health Professions Press, 2006). He serves on the board of the Houston and Southeast Texas chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and has started over 50 chat rooms worldwide for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones.

Richard lives in Cypress, Texas, with his spouse Linda, and his Bouvier des Flandres (dog), Annie. His son and family live across the street from him. He now spends his days playing with his two grandchildren, gardening, and writing. Originally, he started to write to better understand for himself what was going on inside of him. When he isn’t out speaking, he writes for two or three hours every day. Even as the disease progresses, he thus far has maintained his ability to look at and attempt to understand himself.

Richard is a passionate advocate for several issues concerning the involvement of people living with a diagnosis of one of the diseases of dementia. He was a moving force in the establishment of the Dementia Advisory Committee of the U.S. Alzheimer’s Association, looking at how to better integrate individuals living with the diagnosis in the leadership, program development, and delivery functions of the Association and its local chapters. He now serves as the chair of a similar committee he helped to establish for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. He continues to be a sought-after speaker at various professional conferences, assisted living and memory care communities, and public programs. He is constantly looking for new audiences, especially of professionals who work in the field of dementia, to help them with getting to know the people they serve.

Richard is an articulate, thoughtful, and thought-filled speaker to caregivers. Hundreds of them have used his insights as the basis for conversations and insights into what might be going through their loved one’s minds. Many Alzheimer’s chat rooms, across the United States and worldwide, were created in large or small part with his support. He publishes his own newsletter of, by, and for people with dementia, which you can sign up to receive.

While Richard still leads a vibrant life, control of his concentration is sometimes elusive. His language facility is still mostly intact, although he increasingly searches for the right word. His granddaughter Christina is learning to read and sometimes reads to him. His garden becomes smaller and smaller each year; he plays bridge (with a cheat sheet) once a week and is halfway through editing another book of his writings.

Contact Information

Richard’s website
Richard’s book – Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out

  • http://www.agooddaughter.com Olga Brunner, MS CMC

    What a wonderful opportunity to get to listen to Dr. Taylor’s experience in his own words and by so doing, listen to the truth about this disease. I am so humbled by his honesty about how family members and community staff should treat others with dementia. Quite an eye opener. We go in and assess an individual in their own home and look at the scatter rugs that aren’t nailed down and want to remove them in the name of safety. Wow! that one revelation hit home. We as staff don’t engage them in dining rooms. Family members take care of the safety issues them fly off to California. When what is needed is someone to engage and encourage them, and treat this as you would treat any disability. Thank you so much Ryan for giving us the opportunity.
    - Olga

  • Ryan Malone

    Hi Olga -
    Thanks for the comment. There are so many cool takeaways from this interview that the time just flies listening to Richard. I’ve listened to it several times and feel like I get something new each time. Glad you liked it.

  • http://twitter.com/JMDougall/statuses/3427338487 JMDougall (Joel MacDougall)

    RT @NSresearcher: Alzheimer’s called “long goodbye” Richard Taylor says “No – we’re ALL here!” http://tinyurl.com/kj2hsd gr8 podcast!

  • http://www.sunriseseniorliving.com Senior Caregiver

    I am a caregiver to my 90 year old aunt who suffers from several things including Alzheimer’s disease. You can only imagine how difficult this has been for me. I really appreciate this post and interview. Alzheimer’s is one of those things where you just don’t know when, how or if it’s going to strike. I’ve never known how to really go about dealing with my aunt’s Alzheimer’s, but your interview put things in perspective for me and for that, I truly thank you.

  • Ryan Malone

    Hi Senior Caregiver,
    Our pleasure. Your comment is one of Richard’s biggest points. The interview really changed my perspective on a lot of things re: dementia as well. We just have to gelp spread his message :)

  • http://twitter.com/iJimCoyle/statuses/7765474745 iJimCoyle (Jim Coyle)

    RT @InsideElderCare Alzherimer and Dementia Podcast Interview with Dr. Richard Taylor — Inside Elder Care http://tinyurl.com/kj2hsd

  • http://alzheimersdandyfunk.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/caregiver-resources-under-construction/ CareGiver Resources under construction | Alzheimers Dandyfunk for Caregivers

    [...] Alzherimer and Dementia Podcast InterviewLeaders in Elder Care – Dr. Richard Taylor on Alzheimer’s- The Farthest Thing From the Long Goodbye [...]

  • http://www.truthfulkindness.com Truthful Loving Kindness

    This entry chosen to be included in special edition of “Symptom Perspectives” in honor of Richard Taylor at https://paper.li/f-1408973778