Doreen C



Support Group Facilitator with
Doreen Coulson Putnam

Doreen C Putman

I am the daughter of a woman who had vascular dementia.
My Mom lived through this disease for seven years following three strokes and died in 1978.
I was a naïve, long distance caregiver who knew nothing about the disease process.
My Dad was not well and had multiple medical problems.
As an only child, so much rested on my shoulders and that was tough because we were living 10 hours away from my parents.
My husband and I had two young children at the time and I wasn’t in a position to travel home to assist either my Mom or my Dad on a regular basis.
My Mom’s situation deteriorated dramatically.
She had been a vibrant, active member of our community.
Previously she was a teacher and an administrative assistant to the mayor in our hometown.
As the effects of the disease took away the Mom I knew, I was puzzled, frustrated, felt helpless and totally overwhelmed as to what to do to help her situation or my Dad’s.
Caring for my Mom and Dad has assisted me in understanding, first hand, what caregivers experience. There are many stressors that caregivers face andhaving cared for my parents prepared me for the role I now have in assisting other families through the Alzheimer’s/dementia journey. At a later point in time I was a full-time caregiver for my father and my father-in-law as well, who had COPD. My husband had MCI – Mild Cognitive Impairment – and died in 2016 from a TBI – Traumatic Brain Injury.
In the late 1980’s I became the Director of Education for the Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York.
I was responsible for developing and implementing educational programming for family caregivers and professionals.
A number of years later, while living in Grosse Point, MI, I was the director of an adult day care program for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
Our program provided a safe haven for patients whose families were caught in the “sandwich generation”… that is, taking care of parents and children at the same time.
From 2007-2013 I was the Senior Director of 10 assisted living communities for Benchmark Senior Living working throughout RI, MA and CT.
These communities provide residential care for men and women with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
I worked closely with residents, their family members and professional staff.
I recently (March, 2019) relocated to the greater Pittsburgh, PA area.
I am continuing my specialized work in the dementia field with great enthusiasm and excitement.
My vision for this site is to provide you with a professional perspective of caring for individuals in your life who are experiencing Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia.
There are many sites available that are written by family members who want to share their stories.
Certainly the national and regional Alzheimer’s Associations have very informative websites, brochures, training programs and current referral sources.
You should avail yourself of their wonderful services too.