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Dementia Untangled

Dementia Untangled

By Banner Health
This podcast explores unique topics related to dementia through conversations with physicians, experts, and community leaders—focusing on innovative ideas, practical strategies, and proven methods to create a supportive path for caregivers. Reach out to us with questions or comments at
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Season 2 Revisited (with Amber Ayers)
We look back and revisit some of our favorite moments from Season 2, as well as dive a little deeper and untangle the podcast experience of our hosts and editor/producer Amber Ayers. Join Heather, Janice, and Amber as they offer insight into the inspiration behind Dementia Untangled and how our listeners continue to guide our topics and conversations with guests. The team also shares their most inspiring conversations of the season, as well as uncover an underlying theme of “heroes” throughout each episode.
September 29, 2021
The Story behind Sundown Syndrome (with Dr. Allan Anderson)
When someone has dementia, it’s fairly common to see changes in their behavior in the late afternoon or early evening, often known as “sundowning”. Dr. Allan Anderson from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute helps us understand the what & why of this syndrome, and how to help alleviate some of the challenging behaviors caregivers may face because of it. He untangles the effects of changes in sleep patterns, degeneration of the brain, and a decrease in neurotransmitters that contribute to the agitated behavior associated with this syndrome. Dr. Anderson also encourages us to share our successes when helping loved ones through it, so that other caregivers and family members can be aware of the issues and the plan of action.
September 22, 2021
Cultural Awareness: The Hispanic Perspective and Alzheimer’s (with Dr. David Coon & Berta Carbajal)
Unique cultures and traditions surround us, built on passion which create a bond that celebrates heritage and history. For the Hispanic and Latino populations, this can often be celebrated with food, family, and music. But they’re also connected by the disproportional rate in which they face Alzheimer’s disease - more than 50% times more likely than non-Hispanic white counterparts. Dr. David Coon and Berta Carbajal from the Center for Innovation in Healthy and Resilient Aging at Arizona State University join the podcast to help untangle the challenges impacting the health disparity and efforts to improve it. Their efforts with the Promotores and fellow educators who assist with outreach, invite community members in to discuss options and learn about the vast support systems that exist.
September 15, 2021
The Power of Collaboration in Alzheimer’s Research (with Dr. Eric M. Reiman)
Scientists are working tirelessly to help find answers to better treat or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease for the millions of Americans facing this devastating illness. Inspired by colleagues, his community, and his passion for science, Dr. Eric M. Reiman set a goal to focus on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease – but recognized the challenges of tackling it alone. In this episode, he helps us untangle the need for collaboration that manifested through scientific desperation, and partnerships began to form allowing the field collectively to push beyond barriers of any single institution. The new wave of collaboration helped launch a new era of prevention research, giving us a real chance at finding an effective therapy within the next five years.
September 8, 2021
Flashbacks: Why do People with Dementia Live in the Past? (with Dr. Po-Heng Tsai)
The common fear of “when will my loved one with dementia forget me?” makes us all question just how our memory works.  We asked Dr. Po-Heng Tsai, a Behavior Neurologist at Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, to help us untangle the issue of time confusion and why people with dementia tend to revert to the past. He explains that memory is not one single entity, but different systems of memory that we have and how the emotional context of memories makes them stronger, causing it to last longer in our brain. Don’t miss his explanation of delirium and how to identify when something else may be going on with our loved one, besides memory issues.
September 1, 2021
Resilience through Mindfulness (with Angela Lunde)
Caregivers face many struggles as they navigate the dementia journey, but there is hope out there. Angela Lunde, a co-director for the Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement Core in the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic, talks with us about how to identify one’s own unique struggles and create a path of resilience, not resistance, through practicing mindfulness. She shares how she was able to untangle the feeling of acceptance and how she incorporates that into mindful practices, giving our full attention to whatever is happening now, leading to many health benefits. She also teaches us a quick and easy way to practice mindfulness by paying attention to the present moment and focusing on our own breath.
August 25, 2021
Real Talk: Living with Dementia (with Arthena Caston & Jay Reinstein)
What if you could gain some insight into your loved one’s journey with dementia? That’s exactly what our guests Arthena Caston and Jay Reinstein are hoping to offer in this episode. They are currently living with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and members of the National Board of Directors for the Alzheimer’s Association. They share their stories and how they have embraced this next chapter of their lives. You’ll be inspired to hear how they have found new purpose, a way to reinvent themselves and offer perspective and support to anyone on this journey. They warn against social isolation and choosing activities that do not offer stimulation; instead, they encourage others to keep communicating, exercising, accept help, take your prescribed medications, and work with your health team to ensure a higher quality of life. Stay positive and you can live well with this disease.
August 18, 2021
Genetic Testing: What to Know Before you Reveal What your Genes Mean (with Dr. Jessica Langbaum)
With endless amounts of information at our fingertips, we have quickly evolved into a self-diagnosing society where knowledge is power. Dr. Jessica Langbaum is the director for the Alzheimer's Prevention Registry (, and she helps us untangle the risk and reward of genetic disclosures. She explores potential risks by choosing at-home DNA kits instead of teaming up with a healthcare provider or genetic counselor, who are better equipped to guide you on what the results mean and how to integrate them into your life. We also discuss The Registry, a program that works to support Alzheimer’s disease research and to educate the public by sharing reliable information about Alzheimer’s and Alzheimer’s prevention efforts.
August 11, 2021
Managing Agitation with an Intervention Toolbox (with Piper Frithsen)
Agitation aggression can be distressing for those living with dementia and those who care for and about them. In this episode, we talk with Piper Frithsen, Administrator at Casa de la Luz, about her efforts in building a toolbox for caregivers to manage unwanted behaviors through non-pharmacological means. She helps us untangle the triggers for agitated behavior, how to identify them through focused efforts, and then how to use proven interventions to help meet your person’s basic needs and provide comfort. She reminds us that “there is hope and there is help.”
August 4, 2021
Utilizing the Caregiver Trifecta (with Katie Brandt)
Every superhero has an origin story, and most caregivers can identify with the idea of coming from a place of challenge; “not one that they asked to be in, but one they must face.” In this episode our guest Katie Brandt shares with us her experiences as a care partner turned caregiver, and how that helps guide her professional and advocacy efforts for others who are faced with challenges from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. She helps us untangle how to take the necessary steps toward caregiver self-care, and exactly who we need to lean on in order to consider all avenues of support by employing the “Caregiver Trifecta.” She shares stories of meaning, hope, and empowerment for anyone affected by these diseases.
July 28, 2021
Untangling the FDA approval of Aducanumab (Aduhelm) (with Dr. Alireza Atri)
It’s been nearly two decades since there has been an approved drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. In an exciting development, Biogen’s drug aducanumab (Aduhelm) received conditional approval from the US Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Alireza Atri, director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute and leader in clinical research for the past 20 years, joins the conversation to help us untangle the renewed hope in the field and the complexities surrounding this decision. Dr. Atri acknowledges that this is an important step forward in our fight to end Alzheimer’s before losing another generation, but it’s one step in a complex process ahead. Hear him discuss what steps care partners and those with the disease should take with their physician, and just how soon this treatment may be available to qualified candidates. Disclosures Dr. Atri disclosed relevant relationships with Biogen.
June 17, 2021
Season 1 Revisited (with Amber Ayers)
We look back and revisit some of our favorite moments from Season 1, as well as dive a little deeper and untangle our hosts and editor/producer, Amber Ayers. The team shares what led them to connect to the dementia community and just how the idea for this podcast came to be. Don’t miss their “light bulb moments” from the first 9 episodes and which ones you should go back and re-listen to. Listeners are also in for a treat when Heather & Janice give some insight into Season 2 and what to expect.
May 26, 2021
You Heard Right, Hearing Loss Can Lead to Dementia (with Dr. Briana Auman)
There is a totally treatable risk factor for dementia: hearing loss. Our guest this week is Dr. Briana Auman, a Clinical Neuropsychologist from Banner Sun Health Research Institute, who helps us untangle the stigmas and myths about both hearing loss and dementia. She helps us connect the dots between these two issues, stating a case for addressing both. She defines just what hearing loss is, why it happens, and how it affects the brain as we age. Dr. Auman recommends tools and strategies that can help with communication, including what we can do to address these issues before it’s too late.
May 19, 2021
Name the Feeling: Ambiguous Loss (with Susy Favaro)
Our guest, Susy Favaro, a social worker from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, shares with us her connection to the term coined by Dr. Pauline Boss, ambiguous loss, and how the implementation of her guidelines can help caregivers understand the emotions around their person’s presence & absence simultaneously. Susy helps us untangle the confusion around grief, guilt and a myriad of emotions that caregivers can feel at any time about their loved one with dementia. She creates a safe space for caregivers, reminding us that “it’s not you that is messed up, it’s the situation that’s messed up,” and how striving for perfection is no longer useful, that “good enough is good enough.” She assures listeners that once you embrace this idea of ambiguous loss and share it with others, you won’t look back.
May 12, 2021
Intimacy: Keeping It and Finding It (with Michele Grigaitis-Reyes)
Michele Grigaitis-Reyes, a nurse practitioner from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, shares with us her passion for addressing a commonly avoided topic of intimacy and sexual needs for people affected by dementia. She helps us define these topics and untangles the misconceptions and frustrating feelings around the inability to communicate needs around intimacy and sex with partners or caregivers. She helps us breach a difficult topic that isn’t always discussed when necessary or brushed off by those we may confide in for assistance. Listen in for her practical suggestions for creating moments of intimacy and how what some may deem as inappropriate sexual behavior, may just be an effort to communicate a different need by someone without the ability to do so.
May 5, 2021
How to Understand, Diagnose, and Treat (with Dr. David Shprecher)
Dr. David Shprecher from Banner Sun Health Research Institute shares with us his experience as a Neurologist specializing in movement disorders this week. He takes us through the basics, helping us untangle dementia and the less common forms, reminding us how important a specific diagnosis is. With treatable causes of memory loss like vitamin deficiency, sleep problems, or side effects to medications, the help of a specialist creates an opportunity to impact cognitive issues early and often. In addition, an accurate diagnosis of dementias like Lewy body, frontotemporal, and vascular are important to identify for treatments, family knowledge, and preparation for future stages to help improve quality of life.
April 28, 2021
How We Fight: The Trajectory of Alzheimer’s Research (with Dr. Alireza Atri)
This week is focused on how Alzheimer’s disease research is progressing, moving us closer to finding a cure or even preventing the disease. Dr. Alireza Atri, director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute, helps us untangle the complicated world of research by breaking down how far we’ve come, what renewed interest and dollars mean for advancement, and why it’s so important for people to get involved. He discusses current research efforts, new drug studies, and how multiple angles of focus will affect goals of ending Alzheimer’s without losing another generation.
April 21, 2021
When Repetition Becomes Problematic (with Helle Brand)
Our guest, Helle Brand from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, shares with us her experience as a Physician Assistant, working various age groups and specialties, currently working with persons with cognitive impairment and their families. She helps us untangle the common issue of repetition in people that are dealing with memory issues and how it can be a red flag in a loved one that may not have received a diagnosis yet. She takes us through how repetition is the key to learning when we are young but can be frustrating for caregivers as their person’s disease progresses and it is a sign of deterioration of the brain’s hippocampus. Her clear explanation of the science behind the issue and practical strategies for caregivers to deal with it, make this episode highly valuable for anyone in contact with the dementia community.
April 14, 2021
Not All Anxieties are Created Equal (with Michelle Faddoul)
Our guest, Michelle Faddoul, a social worker for Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, shares with us her thoughtful strategies for easing anxiety in a person with dementia, but also in general for anyone experiencing those emotions. Her experience as a therapist for over a decade helps us untangle the stressors and contributing factors that can intensify anxiety and worry, as well as practical resources and strategies to ease anxious feelings and concerns. Recent current events that amplify those behaviors can increase caregiver frustration and disturb a person’s need for rest and calm. She outlines how avoiding common practices or behaviors and replacing them with compensatory strategies and grounding techniques can help you and your loved one to stay more in the moment.
April 7, 2021
No One Has Ever Won an Argument with Someone with Alzheimer’s (with Mary Lou Hernandez)
Our guest, Mary Lou Hernandez, a social worker for Banner Alzheimer’s institute, shares with us her practical strategies for helping care partners avoid arguments. She helps us untangle what instigates these interactions and how you can validate the emotions of your loved one with dementia in order to move forward. She reminds us of the obvious triggers that create uncomfortable situations and how to promote an environment that’s more conducive calm, instead of conflict. Understanding that caregiving is a learning process, she implores us to find the positivity in our efforts and be kind to ourselves as we navigate the dementia journey.
March 31, 2021
Are They in Denial? (with Lori Nisson)
Our guest, Lori Nisson, a social worker for Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Banner Sun Health Research Institute, shares with us her expertise on the lack of awareness that most people with dementia can exhibit and the empathic strategies that can be used. She helps us untangle how someone with an ailment like dementia isn’t in denial but has an actual lack of awareness due to the deterioration of the frontal lobe of the brain. She reminds us that as people lose their awareness, it changes the way we communicate and how as caregivers, we must be aware of our own behavior and not force the reality of the disease onto our person. Lori also tackles the stigma around the word dementia and addresses common worries for caregivers like communication, driving, and making big decisions around transitions.
March 24, 2021
Introducing Dementia Untangled
We invite you to join Heather Mulder & Janice Greeno from Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and Banner Sun Health Research Institute to listen and subscribe to our new podcast, Dementia Untangled. Our show explores unique topics related to dementia through conversations with specialized physicians, experts, and community leaders. Each episode will offer innovative ideas, practical strategies, and proven methods to guide caregivers along a supportive path. Inspired by our world renowned, comprehensive model of care, this podcast creates a unique environment to untangle the complex world of Alzheimer’s and related dementias.
March 9, 2021