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Rachael Wonderlin, a published author and dementia care expert, is beyond knowledgeable in the dementia care world. Rachael runs a company, Dementia by Day, which provides content to help others learn more about dementia care. She begins her journey with roots just outside of Philadelphia, where she gained her interest in dementia care before her college days even began, causing her to pursue an education in the healthcare area. Rachael always loved working with older adults which sparked her interest in becoming a geriatrician, but later realized she wanted to spend time with the patients themselves. This led her to a few internships and ultimately a job working at a Brookdale Senior Living Community. At Brookdale, she was named the dementia care director, putting her in charge of all things dementia.
Dementia By Day
Rachael initially took off in the dementia world when she began her blog, “Dementia By Day”, in 2014 while working at Brookdale. The blog gave her an opportunity to share stories about her everyday experiences. Along with that, it allowed Rachael to dive deeper into her interactions which provided her with a unique perspective that feeds into her work today.
Passion For Dementia Care
Rachael’s passion for dementia care is almost entirely fed by working with people who live with dementia. Her biggest area of emphasis is the idea of workers attempting to step into the patient’s world. Rachael is known for her phrase, “Embrace their reality”. This approach though is often controversial. Many people see dementia care as black and white. Rachael sees a gray area. Although each dementia diagnosis is different, the general idea is the same. Their world shifts and their concept of time changes, it is no longer the same as ours. Rachael’s ultimate goal is not to bring the loved ones back to our timeline, but rather have us jump into theirs. This is where the “Embracing their reality” phrase springs from. Us jumping into their world, rather than being stuck on opposite sides.
Dementia Books by Rachael Wonderlin
To further educate and create a new environment regarding dementia care, Rachael has published two books and is currently working on a third. The first, published in 2016 by the Johns Hopkins University Press, is titled, “When Someone You Know is Living in a Dementia Care Community”. Her second book, “Creative Engagement”, which came out in 2020, is also published by JHU Press. Here at HCAN, we are very thankful for Rachael’s books and for her approach. We try our best to soak up as much of her content as we can. Rachael’s passion and knowledge in this field are admirable, and we hope to embrace as much of her work as we can.