About - Dementia Together
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Our mission

To see that no one walking the dementia journey has to walk alone.

Why “Dementia Together”?

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a year marked by separation and distancing, whether physical or social. At Dementia Together, we believe that being together is essential. Especially when so many things about the dementia journey pull us toward isolation and loneliness.

Formerly, “Dementia-Friendly Communities of Northern Colorado,” our new name seeks to reflect that sense of together-ness. But even though our name is new, we’re the same organization helping to cultivate joy and connection for people living with dementia and their care partners. Our commitment to listening to the experts – those living with dementia – isn’t changing.

We are working hard on developing new classes, new education programs, and exploring new ways to bring people together across all points of the dementia journey. (We even have a new method for online giving!)

Thank you for walking this journey with us – through 2020 and beyond.

How do we do it?

We listen to the expert advice of people living with dementia to craft events, education and support programs, and enrichment opportunities that bring hope and contentment to people living with dementia and their care partners.

Education

Training for senior care professionalsbusinesses and community groups, and care partners to create a culture of kindness and compassion.

Enrichment

Helping people impacted by dementia to live well through connections, programs, coaching, and support groups.

Hope

Providing answers and help for now while joining efforts to improve outcomes in the future.

Our Impact

“My husband never wanted to admit anything was wrong with him. He benefited from the knowledge I had… It makes his life more enjoyable and meaningful. He felt like he could still do things.” – Karel Applebee

Our Approach: Person-directed, family-driven care

We listen to the voices of the experts (people living with dementia).  These people serve in leadership and advisory capacities for all we do.  We help staff in businesses, health care, and senior care learn dementia-friendly communication strategies.  We offer education and support for family care partners of loved ones living with dementia.    Because Cyndy Luzinski, the only licensed SPECAL® Coach in North America (as credentialed by the Contented Dementia Trust in England)  provides much of our education, we often teach participants about the SPECAL Method to sustain lifelong well-being for people with dementia.  This starts with Three Golden Rules of “Contented Dementia,” understood through the framework of a simple and highly effective way of explaining how it feels to experience dementia, using the SPECAL Photograph Album. (The Contented Dementia Trust, Burford, England)

Don’t ask direct questions.

Listen to the expert.

Don’t contradict.

The experts are the people living with dementia. The SPECAL approach invites us to listen to them and learn from them.  “The SPECAL Photograph Album leads  to a set of guiding principles and a practical, positive approach to the management of dementia – the SPECAL method.

The SPECAL method can be learned and used by anyone who cares for a person with dementia.”

This approach to dementia care and advocacy is what enables us to become recognized as the local “in the meantime” organization, helping people discover that “in the meantime,” until cures for the various causes of dementia are found, we can make life changing differences NOW for people striving to live well with dementia.

Our Story

Dementia does or soon will touch all of us. We are an “in the meantime” organization. We help people discover that “in the meantime,” until cures for the causes of dementia are found, we can make life changing differences NOW for people striving to live well with dementia. We leverage and provide resources, expertise, activities, and education in Northern Colorado communities so that people living with dementia and their care partners can stay engaged and connected in relationships and meaningful life.

Originally Dementia-Friendly Communities of Northern Colorado®, we started as a volunteer initiative in November 2015 as a result of the incredible community support we received with the B Sharp Arts Engagement® program, a collaborative project enabling couples living with dementia to attend the symphony and participate in a research study. When the need for sustaining the volunteer initiative became apparent, we formed a 501c3 non-profit organization in January 2017. Dementia Together remains a local, grassroots, “in the meantime” nonprofit organization today. We are supported by private donations, corporate partnerships, grants, and a lot of collaboration and passion.

We are proudly affiliated with the Purple Angel Ambassadors, an international dementia-friendly awareness campaign. We also collaborate locally with the Alzheimer’s Association and many Northern Colorado senior care organizations. We are actively engaged with the North American Dementia Action Alliance. In a June, 2019 Dementia Action Alliance White Paper Response to The National Academies of Sciences, we were cited in the case study which stated: “one nonprofit organization, [Dementia Together], is leading the way in changing the predominant culture surrounding people living with dementia and their potential to ‘live well.’” Additionally, we participate in the World Dementia Council survey to collect global evidence base for the delivery of meaningful Dementia Friendly Initiatives (DFIs). More importantly, we create and share joy with our friends who are striving to live well with dementia.

Board of Directors

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Cyndy is an advanced practice nurse, certified dementia practitioner, and the ONLY accredited SPECAL® (Specialized Early Care for Alzheimer’s) coach in North America.

Cyndy Hunt Luzinski

Founder and Executive Director of Dementia Together
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Paul Matthews serves as our Board Secretary. He previously worked for the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix and is passionate about helping people who are living with memory and thinking problems.

Paul Matthews

Broker Associate/Partner at The Group, Inc. Real Estate
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Carol has a passion for helping people cope with dementia along with their caregivers. She believes the arts can inspire truly happy memories for people living with dementia.

Carol Fanning

VP of Branch Banking at First National Bank
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Ross G. Lane received his PH.D. in 1974 in counseling psychology and has invested much of his professional life working with older adults in nursing care, psychiatric facilities, outpatient settings, and with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illness.

Ross G. Lane

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Carol was instrumental in starting the B Sharp Arts Engagement® program in Northern Colorado which served as the impetus for launching the “Dementia-Friendly Communities of Northern Colorado®” initiative.

Jeni Cross

Director of Research, Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University
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As Owner and Executive Director, Gil oversees all activities for Senior Helpers of Fort Collins. He is dedicated to improving the lives of his clients and hiring compassionate caregivers that meet their specific needs.

Gil Atanasoff

Owner and Executive Director at Senior Helpers Northern Colorado
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Cynthia drives for SAINT (Senior Alternatives In Transportation) and has a mother with dementia. She is passionate about coming alongside others in their ``in the meantime.``

Cynthia Jensen

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Lisa’s passion for seniors started when she worked as a caregiver at Collinwood in 1993 while attending college for occupational therapy. For the past two decades she has worked with people of all ages encouraging independence and purpose.

Lisa LaFehr

Owner at Aging Resource Coordinators
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Dementia became a part of Dorsi's life when her husband Mark was diagnosed at 59 and passed at 62. Now Dorsi helps others through the journey as many helped her.

Dorsi Smith

Executive Director at Rocky Mountain Youth Sports
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Travis has more than 30 years of experience in the overall supervision of three different agencies’ creative output and specializes in guiding brands through strategy, positioning, creative development, marketing, and promotion.

Travis Barhaug

Founder/CDO at Bonfire Effect
cyndy-sized

Cyndy Hunt Luzinski

Founder and Executive Director of Dementia Together

Cyndy is an advanced practice nurse, certified dementia practitioner, and the ONLY accredited SPECAL® (Specialized Early Care for Alzheimer’s) coach in North America.

paul-sized

Paul Matthews

Broker Associate/Partner at The Group, Inc. Real Estate

Paul Matthews serves as our Board Secretary. He previously worked for the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Phoenix and is passionate about helping people who are living with memory and thinking problems.

carol-sized

Carol Fanning

VP of Branch Banking at First National Bank

Carol has a passion for helping people cope with dementia along with their caregivers. She believes the arts can inspire truly happy memories for people living with dementia.

ross-sized

Ross G. Lane

Ross G. Lane received his PH.D. in 1974 in counseling psychology and has invested much of his professional life working with older adults in nursing care, psychiatric facilities, outpatient settings, and with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related illness.

jeni-sized

Jeni Cross

Director of Research, Institute for the Built Environment at Colorado State University

Carol was instrumental in starting the B Sharp Arts Engagement® program in Northern Colorado which served as the impetus for launching the “Dementia-Friendly Communities of Northern Colorado®” initiative.

gil-sized

Gil Atanasoff

Owner and Executive Director at Senior Helpers Northern Colorado

As Owner and Executive Director, Gil oversees all activities for Senior Helpers of Fort Collins. He is dedicated to improving the lives of his clients and hiring compassionate caregivers that meet their specific needs.

cynthia-sized

Cynthia Jensen

Founder and Executive Director of Dementia Together

Cynthia drives for SAINT (Senior Alternatives In Transportation) and has a mother with dementia. She is passionate about coming alongside others in their ``in the meantime.``

lisa-sized

Lisa LaFehr

Owner at Aging Resource Coordinators

Lisa’s passion for seniors started when she worked as a caregiver at Collinwood in 1993 while attending college for occupational therapy. For the past two decades she has worked with people of all ages encouraging independence and purpose.

dorsi-sized

Dorsi Smith

Executive Director at Rocky Mountain Youth Sports

Dementia became a part of Dorsi's life when her husband Mark was diagnosed at 59 and passed at 62. Now Dorsi helps others through the journey as many helped her.

travis-sized

Travis Barhaug

Founder/CDO at Bonfire Effect

Travis has more than 30 years of experience in the overall supervision of three different agencies’ creative output and specializes in guiding brands through strategy, positioning, creative development, marketing, and promotion.

Strategic Partners

Chris Imsland of Imsland Consulting: An experienced consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the non profit industry. Chris is skilled in providing organizations with grant and proposal writing, fundraising strategy, organizational management, and business development services.  Because of our thoughtful strategy, engaged board of directors, and community energy around our work, Chris remarked at a recent board retreat, “Dementia Together is the best new nonprofit I’ve seen.”

Kim Fisher of Vision Catalyst who manages our financial records along with our treasurer, Lisa Loehr. Kim Fisher is the Chief Strategist at Vision Catalyst.  She is has over 30 years of experience as a nonprofit executive and coach and is passionate about partnering with visionary leaders to achieve their dreams.

Cindy McGrorey, CPA who independently prepares our 990 income tax documents and financial reviews.

Code Geek, who designed and maintains our website with updates and solutions that we don’t have expertise or time to manage…And they do it without complaining (to us)!

Community Advisory Board

  • Jim and Walta Ruff, experts currently walking the dementia journey
  • Phil and Joan Leathery, experts currently walking the dementia journey
  • Debbie Crandall, care partner
  • Andrea Scandrett, MA Gerontology, Life Enrichment Coordinator (including Memory Café coordinator and facilitator)
  • Deborah Bayliss, MS, RN, retired community case manager, program developer and community educator
  • Angel Hoffman, Regional Director, Alzheimer’s Association
  • Lynette McGowan, Larimer County Office on Aging Caregiver Support, Caregiver Support Program Coordinator
  • Peggy Budai, UCHealth
  • Sylvia Garcia, Old Town Library
  • Jane Davenport, Nursing Director, Banner Health

Dementia does or soon will touch all of us.

Give monthly and you’ll join a community that’s dedicated to walking the dementia journey together.