Spotlight on Care: Alzheimer's Caregiving-logo

Spotlight on Care: Alzheimer's Caregiving

Health & Wellness Podcasts

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


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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








Cognitive testing with Dr. Michelle McDonnell

Steve and Virginia are joined by Dr. Michelle McDonnell, a neuropsychologist at UCI MIND, who discusses the importance of cognitive testing. She discusses the process involved in the testing, tips to encourage your loved one to participate, and the benefits of tracking Alzheimers as it progresses.


Why you should start early with end of life wishes and details.

Susan Papiri, Community Relations Director for Dignity Memorial. She discusses involving loved ones earlier regarding their wishes, preferences and religious traditions. These conversations can give honor to their legacy and reduce family stress. If you are in the Orange County/San Diego area and wish to learn more about services offered, you can call their toll-free number at (949)-622-7171


The dangers of denial with Elizabeth Lonseth

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


Reducing caregiver stress with Dr. Natali Edmonds

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


Caregiving Two Years Later; a Revisit with Lisa Up de Graff

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.


Long distance caregiving with Irene Olson

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:


Alzheimer's Disease and the Rise in Pseudomedicine with Dr. Joshua Grill

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.


Caring for a Famous Parent with Alzheimer's with Patti Davis

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:


Keeping the Holidays and Celebrations Happy, Healthy and Safe with Dr. Miriam Galindo

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!


Learning to Adjust with Dee Ransom

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.


Wandering with Erin Light, MA

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.


The Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease with Lindsay Hohsfield, PhD

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


Choosing the Right Hospice Care with Heather Kruse

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.


Taking Away the Car Keys with Bob Simpson and Jeanette Marantos

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.


Traveling with a Loved One Affected by Alzheimers with Jeanette Marantos

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.


When You're Not the Caregiver: Guilt and Grief with Cindy Weinstein

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.


Caring for a Child with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease with Jim Russell

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.


Cognitive Impairment from a Physician’s Point of View with Dr. Steven Tam

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.


End-of-Life Planning with Roger Lisabeth

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.


Creating a Safe Living Space for Your Loved One with Mark Wilson

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 .