The holiday season is a time of new and old traditions, and sharing in the joy and togetherness of spending time with friends and family. But for families whose loved ones are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, the holidays can be stressful and overwhelming; and for caregivers, oftentimes difficult to remember the joy that holidays can bring.
Join Kensington Senior Living and The Institute on Aging for guidance on How to Navigate the Holidays with Your Loved One with Dementia. From purposeful gift ideas to creative, meaningful ways to spend time together, our experts discuss how to adapt while caring for your loved one; and new ways to find joy in the wonderfulness of the season.
Alison Moritz is a dementia care specialist who develops and oversees innovative programs and direct support for elders and their care team. With over ten fifteen years of experience in dementia care Alison offers a unique and grounded approach to caregiving. She has worked in memory care, rehabilitation, as an activity consultant, and most proficiently in dementia day programming. She facilitates numerous support groups and works with families throughout California. Her educational background is gerontology, she is certified in CARES dementia care, and is a Clinical Dementia Practitioner. She lives in the heart of San Francisco with her husband and two children who love every opportunity they get to come and play with her clients at the IOA Enrichment Center in the Presidio.
Vanessa Souza is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a focus on supporting older adults. She has a particular interest in ensuring people living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and their family and friends have the knowledge needed to prepare for the future. She has worked as an assisted living administrator, memory care director, and as a social worker in adult day healthcare. Today, she works as the Senior Manager for Community Engagement at the Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada. Vanessa holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Seattle University and a Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University.
Mia currently service as the Vice President of Integrated Care Services, overseeing IOAs PACE program (Program for All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) and the Friendship Line. With decades of experience in health care settings including inpatient and acute care, community based care and client advocacy, Mia brings a robust understanding of the complexities of the healthcare system and understanding of client journeys and person centered care. Beyond her extensive experience, Mia was deeply impacted growing up in rural Maui – which gave her a unique, respectful, and honest view of aging. As such, she now focuses IOA’s Integrated Care Services through the lens of client empathy and efficacy. Before joining IOA, Mia was the Program Director for Buckelew Programs transitional and residential adult programs, serving those with severe mental health diagnoses, substance use and complex medical diagnoses. Mia is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and received her MS from the University of San Francisco.
Taara Hoffman is a Care Manager collaborating with families to enhance coordination of care, navigate transitions, and improve quality of life for loved ones both at home and in residential communities. She is a Certified Consultant in Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach to Care (PAC), a method that focuses on the strengths of those living with cognitive impairment and dementia, while providing support for their families and care partners. Taara also works with On Lok, implementing the NCOA’s ‘Aging Mastery Program’ curriculum. Taara was a Commissioner with First 5 San Mateo County, and has served on the Board of Directors for Thrive: the Alliance of Nonprofits for San Mateo County; Children’s Council San Francisco; and Alliance for Girls. As often as possible, she attends concerts, hikes in the redwoods, and appreciates small kindnesses.
Erwin Garcia has been in the healthcare field for over 12 years serving the elderly population specializing in Dementia. With a combined degree and certification in Computer Science, Nursing and Early Childhood Education, he always finds a way to integrate the three into his care plans. His thirst for knowledge is never-ending which is why he considers himself a lifelong learner and continues to study and earn other degrees in the field of Public Health and Health Education at a local college. Apart from his studies, he is also a polyglot, a volunteer, an avid traveler, a cat dad, and you can find him on the tennis court – weather permitting. One of the philosophies he lives by is “Never go to bed angry because it will flow over the next day.”