Toilet paper didn’t always exist. The need for toilet paper did, of course. Some cultures came up with better ideas than others.


Getting Creative

The Farmers’ Almanac gives a brief historical rundown of pre-toilet paper necessity-powered creativity. (Short version: The ancient Greek method sounds dangerous; I presume Rome was overrun with UTIs; props to the Chinese for figuring it out 500 years before the US.)

I wonder if Greeks ever thought, There has to be something better than broken shards of pottery! That sounds like a pressing concern, right? Maybe they were too busy with philosophy and wars to spend much time thinking about keeping delicate areas cut-free.

Were Romans too busy with building roads and aqueducts and empire-building (and delirious with infection) to develop something better than communal sponges?


We’re Not There Yet

It seems ludicrous now, that toilet paper didn’t always exist (especially in light of the early alternatives). I hope with all my being that it will one day seem equally ludicrous a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies, and Parkinson’s disease with dementia, and frontotemporal dementia, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, and primary progressive aphasia, and progressive supranuclear palsy, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob, and Huntington’s disease, and Wernicke-Korsakoff, and any and all other types and causes of dementia didn’t exist.

We’re not there yet.

Scientists are working on figuring out cures. Other scientists are working on figuring out treatments; some focus on figuring out reversal. Still other scientists are working on figuring out prevention.

Bless them all, and godspeed!

Meanwhile, people living with dementia and their care partners need support and assistance now, because dementia–no matter the cause or type–is chronic and progressive, 100% of the time.


A Third Choice

And that’s what we focus on in our Dementia Sherpa tribe: How can I best support and assist people living with dementia and their care partners right now? How can we make right here, right now, the best it can possibly be? What does that look like? What’s required? Who’s involved? What’s practical? What’s possible?

Right now, I consistently hear a couple choices: a) Struggle along until it’s time for memory care placement, or b) Hope/pray/wish everything’s okay until a crisis happens and it’s time for memory care placement.

To be clear, both choices suck. No one should have to struggle. Not you, and not your person. You both deserve better than that. (I know you know that, but sometimes it’s good to hear another person say it.) And hoping to avoid a crisis takes more energy than you probably realize. It’s like having an app on your phone running in the background, sucking the life out of your battery. Same thing is happening in your brain, leaving you with constant background anxiety simmering away. Again, no one should have to live like that. You and your person both deserve better than that.

Why Wait?

How about a third choice: Memory care at home. Why wait for your person to get the specialized care she needs until she lives in memory care? Why wait for your person to be around people with special knowledge and skills and training? If you could learn the knowledge and skills, get the training, create your own customized “memory care at home” for your person right now, doesn’t that make more sense than struggling or waiting for a crisis?

I think it does. That’s why I came up with the idea of the 6-week live audio class with Q & A, What to Do When Your Parent or Partner Has Dementia (an admittedly clunky but on the nose title). Many thanks to my beta group participants!

Survey Says…

Betas agreed to fill out a survey after every session. This is what they said:

100% of participants agreed each session was worth their time. Additionally, 100% of participants agreed each session with the statements “I learned important information in this session;” “Christy is knowledgeable on this topic;” “Christy understands people in situations like mine;” and “Based on my experience with this course, I would recommend it to others.”

Surveys were anonymous, so I’m not able to attach names to quotes. But here are a couple of samples:

  • Christy you are a gifted presenter and so very, very knowledgeable on the topic. Thank you so mulch for doing this series!
  • I’d like to thank Christy for allowing me to access this course. I have learned a lot and truly appreciate it.

About 67% of participants would’ve preferred a workshop experience (I think Australians skewed the result down, but can’t be sure), noting the benefits of an interactive/ visual experience:

  • In my case I could not attend live calls due to timing of the calls, while email is helpful, nothing beats an actual conversation to better explain and extract information in particular situations.
  • Just to be able to see a presenter’s visual expressions can add a lot to the impact.
  • It would be great to have some actual role playing opportunities.

All this to say, the beta group was influential in confirming the idea that a live full day workshop is the natural evolution to delivery.


Memory Care at Home

Maybe it’s because I’m a rebel, maybe it’s because I have experience as a family member and former memory care director, maybe it’s because I’m always looking for a better way…but I believe people should always have options. Especially in light of the fact the US national average for memory care in 2016 was $59,805.96, according to the American Elder Care Research Organization. The average here on the West Coast is $62,820.

My experience shows that the longer you wait to get help, the more costly it is. (Think getting so sick you have to go to the ER, instead of seeing your PCP.) Most families “choose” memory care when they don’t know what else to do.

But…what if?

  • What if you could delay placement for even just two months? That’s a savings of about $10,000!
  • What if you had a plan in place that allowed you to delay placement for a year?
  • What if you could at least make a choice–not be forced into something because you didn’t know what else to do?
  • What if you had the tools, tips, tricks, knowledge, support, and plan in place to avoid memory care placement altogether?
  • What if you knew an expert who could show you what to do? (You do!)

If this sounds good and you’re ready to move forward, please join us at the full day workshop in your area. For more information and to register, click on a link below:

Albany, OR April 25th

Troutdale, OR May 18th

Coos Bay, OR August 9th (registration page coming soon!)

Other locations

Until scientists figure out a cure–and I know they can, because a bunch of determined humans eventually got us from DIY pottery shards to mass-produced toilet paper–I’m here to support and assist you and your person. And I’m always, always rooting for you!


Christy Turner is a speaker and consultant, the founder of, and creator of the program What To Do When Your Parent or Partner Has Dementia. She’s a regular contributor on The Alzheimer’s Podcast with her segments “Guiding You Through Rough Terrain with The Dementia Sherpa.” Christy has enjoyed the privilege of working with over 1,200 people living with dementia and their families.