Be a Care Partner, Not a Caregiver

with Marilyn Raichle,

Executive Director, Maude's Awards for Innovation in Alzheimer's Care

This week on the Art of Aging, host Michael Hughes is joined by Marilyn Raichle, Executive Director of the Maude’s Awards. In this conversation, Marilyn talks about her experiences as a care partner for her mother with dementia. She discusses the transformative power of art in dementia care and her shift from a caregiver to a care partner mindset. She also talks about the Maude’s Awards, which recognize innovations in dementia care. Marilyn emphasizes the importance of joy, purpose, and involving individuals with dementia in decision-making, her personal growth, the challenges care partners face, her upcoming book that celebrates her mother’s life and art, and more.
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Highlights from this week’s conversation include:

  • The journey of a care partner (0:07)
  • Discovering the power of art (2:19)
  • The Maude’s Awards initiative (9:15)
  • Application and selection process (13:23)
  • Impactful programs funded by Maude’s Awards (14:27)
  • From caregiver to care partner (15:41)
  • Supporting those in the early stages of dementia (22:06)
  • Embracing joy and happiness (23:07)
  • The importance of meaningful connections (24:16)
  • Innovative approaches in dementia care (25:20)
  • Challenges in dementia care (28:35)
  • Human-centered approach in dementia care (32:30)
  • Inspiration for aging with abundance (37:40)
  • Future initiatives and inspiration (41:48)


Abundant Aging is a podcast series presented by United Church Homes. These shows offer ideas, information, and inspiration on how to improve our lives as we grow older. To learn more and to subscribe to the show, visit


Michael Hughes 00:07
Hello and welcome to The Art of aging which is part of the abundant aging podcast series from United Church Homes. On this show we look at what it means to age in America and in other places around the world with positive, empowering conversations that challenge, encourage and inspire everyone everywhere to age with abundance. Today, we’re pleased to welcome Maryland Reiko to the show. Marilyn is currently the Executive Director for the Maude Awards, which is an initiative to encourage, celebrate and share innovations that enrich the quality of life for persons living with dementia and their partners in care. Maryland comes to this role after a terrific and storied career in the arts, including a long history of theater production. Bathhouse theater and the Tacoma Actors Guild come to mind and is the founder of the Seattle International Children’s Festival, which introduces children to the two world cultures to the performing arts, something that has grown to be the largest such festival in the US, which is pretty darn impressive. More recently, inspired by her experience as a care partner for parents, especially her mother who lives with dementia, she has found the art of Alzheimer’s, which celebrates the creativity of those with dementia, and the power of the creative arts to enrich and empower their lives. Marilyn, welcome.

Marilyn Raichle 01:17
Thank you. Nice to be here.

Michael Hughes 01:20
Thank you for joining us. And just a reminder that this podcast series is sponsored by United Church homes is Ruth for us Parker center for abundant aging. To learn more about the center, including our annual symposium October, please visit So Marilyn, I like to start these podcasts off with a question that I asked a lot of our guests, you’ve come to this role with Maude’s awards from a very again, as we said in the opening along with a storied career in the arts, and you could be doing I think a lot in your professional life right now. But you’re doing this. What drives your passion for dementia care?

Marilyn Raichle 01:59
Well, it really was my parents, when I went to graduate school. And when I came back, I had plans. And mom and dad were both developing dementia, Dad living with Parkinson’s Mom, just beginning with dementia. And so And of course, it was during the recession, and there were no jobs available. So my family decided that I should be the family caregiver. And they offered to help me financially to do this, which was great. And I discovered a world I did not know was going to come at me because I didn’t want to be a caregiver. And so I was a reluctant caregiver. And I took mom to a painting class when dad died because she was so bored. And we didn’t expect anything. She thought the whole idea was ridiculous. She hadn’t painted since she was about six. And she thought this was children. And we didn’t expect anything. But you know, she was bored. So I was done to see this glorious painting. And I had no idea and my mother said, Oh, well, I must have gotten this from your father’s side of the family. And so it was just this amazing realization that mom was still there, that she was still living with joy, and with invention and with wit, which is something I had sort of put out of my mind. And as a result, I kept visiting her more, and discovered more and more about her and her life. And it was astonishing. It confounded everything I thought I knew about Alzheimer’s. But it also enabled me to meet mom and I learned them first and the most important lesson of my life as a care partner, which is I let go of the woman who used to be and I embrace the woman who was with me in the moment. And from then on for the next nine years. We live together as partners, and it was just the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. And so when I was approached by Richard fairy with Maude’s awards approach, really because I’ve been pushing all moms arch. And so that’s how this next chapter in my life began. And it’s the best chapter of my life.

Michael Hughes 04:27
I think that’s amazing. And what a testament just to the power of art to open up I guess, a new language for you and your mom. It and just again, you never knew your mother, as anybody that you would have thought to be as artistically creative, or whatever. I mean, what was it was did you feel at the painting for her and the experience, as you kind of enriched that experience over time was that it was that

Marilyn Raichle 04:54
Was that a language? Well, her family encouraged all forms of artistic expression except art. They all, they all played instruments. And they wrote poetry and they did many things, but are no. And so it was this. I think I know, mother was not attracted by the opportunity to paint, mother was attracted by the opportunity to sit at the table with her companions, and to be a part of a group. That’s what attracted her. And sometimes she would finish really fast. And then she’d leave. And then she walked by and saw this group of people sitting at the table, and she said, well, and may I join you? And they will say, yes. And so it was the group that attracted her and the art, it was still, she resisted the fact that she painted for the rest of her life. She always would say that it was a stupid thing to do. And if I said, What a beautiful painting, she said, I didn’t pick that. I didn’t it was really interesting. It was this wet really deep. The fact that she didn’t paint and only once did she acknowledge a painting as hers. And that is when John Zeisel, who is the founder of the I’m still here Foundation. And he said, I told her, I want that mom to be unable to remember the fact that she painted. And he said, Oh, I’m sure she remembers, ask her what she thought the person who painted that might have been thinking. So I did. And to my surprise, she pointed to the figure on the left. And she said, That’s me. And I said, Wow, wily, and who’s and then she sort of said Carsten sir, sarcastically, what a lovely woman. And then I said, I pointed to the little figure on the right. And I said, Well, who’s that and she said, that’s you. She said, You’re a lovely young woman. And the coolest thing about it is that she had tied us with a cord, I thought it was like an umbilical cord. So we were tied together, which I thought was the coolest part of the whole painting. And it didn’t happen again. But I was always in hope that she might relent, her inner resistance to painting was so strong, but one takes what one can get? I

Michael Hughes 07:16
get and have you tried anything before to kind of be on do group activities with your mom? Or is this kind of just like a, hey, let’s just try that sort of like a happenstance thing? I mean, what are you looking for way to communicate and connect, or were you just, I

Marilyn Raichle 07:27
I wasn’t looking for it, they had this wonderful program at the facility where she lived. And it was called elder wise, and it was a program and art program for people living with dementia. And so I took her there just because she was bored. She needed something to do. It was there, thank goodness. And that was why, but she was much more interested in singing, much more interested in, you know, power walking. But, and playing the piano, she played the piano. And she was much more interested in playing scrambled. But painting was something that I took to make sure she got there. And I learned early on to leave. Because if I stayed there, it would divert her attention from the painting. So I would take her there, make sure she was happily talking to all of her neighbors. And then I would leave and then I would come back the next week to find something fabulous that she painted.

Michael Hughes 08:32
And I think that’s I mean, it’s clear to me, you know, just how you found yourself in this position at Maude’s awards right now. I mean, this idea that, you know, there’s so many different angles into supporting those that have been diagnosed with dementia, the idea that these are people that these are it, I mean, so often when you medicalized thing, it just takes away just that fabric of connection that we can open up with things like this your personal experience. But I guess that’s a good point of transition. I mean, so can you tell us you’re now part of this organization model? Yeah, you’re asked to lead it. Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be in this position you are now and really what the intent of the model words is?

Marilyn Raichle 09:15
Well, I was giving a presentation about art because I was doing an art exhibit featuring mom’s art, and also the art of 40 other people who are living with dementia, aged 60 to 102. And so I was giving a presentation about the exhibit. And this lovely, wonderful man named Richard Fairy was there. And he contacted me, because we’ve been there when he expressed interest in the program I was doing so we had a lot of interaction for the next several months. And then one day, you said I have this idea, and I’ve should give

Michael Hughes 09:52
to me, this is Richard fairy. That’s Korn Ferry International, right. That’s the biggest, most well known recruiting and employee employment management firm in the world. So this, this is a guy that has some chance,

Marilyn Raichle 10:04
I didn’t know any of that. What I did know is that what I didn’t know is that he was this extraordinary man with a lot of nice resources. And he had this, he wanted to start monster words in honor of his wife Maude’s, and they were married for 65 years. He always referred to them as the American dream. And they had six children, 12 grandchildren, as of right now four great grandchildren. And he always said that she was the wind beneath his wings. And in 2013, she developed dementia. And like so many people, he had no idea what to do. He didn’t know how to bring joy and happiness into her life. So he kept researching and studying and bringing in all sorts of ideas and people to talk to him, he couldn’t find out what he was looking for. So he thought, well, perhaps if I start an award program, so that’s when he contacted me, and he said, I’m interested in starting this program. And I wrote back and I said, Well, that would be wonderful. And he said, Well, I would like you to run it. And I said, Well, that would be even more wonderful. And so that’s when it started. It started in 2019. And it was, we were just entering our fifth anniversary. And so it’s basically this program where we will give him $100,000 every year. And this isn’t for grants. This is for awards for something people have done. And so there are 320 $5,000 awards for organizations, and five 5000. Awards to individuals. And people can apply for their programs of excellence in four categories. One is making connections. And that’s really bringing people together in shared experiences. Another one is supporting care partners. Another one is cultivating health. And then the other one, which is more mysterious, which is treated by design. And the coolest thing is that the awards are absolutely wonderful. But he wants to share all of these awards and these ideas with as many people as possible. So every year we print and create a booklet of all the great programs that have come our way. And it’s available to download on the website. And we can also send people a printed copy for free. So it’s just this sort of item, I was so impressed by the fact that he was looking for something to help his mood. And then he also wanted everyone to be able to benefit. This is incredibly noble personally

Michael Hughes 12:58
plug time for that. What is the website that people should visit to learn more about some of the model words,

Marilyn Raichle 13:03
it is Maude’s awards, and that is M A UDS awards, Maude’s So if you go there, and you check, actually, applications are open now. So they just opened. And the last few days to apply is May 13. So

Michael Hughes 13:24
Maryland, so that too I understand the cadence of the awards is one where you’ll announce that it’s open for application for the award in April, and finishes in May. And then from there, what winner usually announces the winners? Well, it

Marilyn Raichle 13:37
takes a really long time, because actually, we have an advisory board. And so each application is read by at least three people. And then they go through this long scoring process. And then I take all those scores and put them into this system. And then we take the top 10%. And then we do deep dives. And then each board member will be assigned organizations and individuals to talk to and say, What couldn’t you put into this application? And so then we’ll talk again, and so applications will, the decisions will be made at the end of August, the beginning of September.

Michael Hughes 14:20
Well, is there anything that comes to mind as something that you’ve funded in the past that really sticks out? Well, you’re not funding your awarding, I’m sorry.

Marilyn Raichle 14:32
Well, they’re just so many things, their programs. I mean, this one program I was thinking about, because it’s a program I’ll be wanting to talk about, which is the Jewish Family and Children’s Services Association. And they did a program called the percolator, which is to actually support and promote Memory Cafes all over the country, and they want to make all this information available. To as many people as possible, and they’re part of a program that is trying to increase the number of Memory Cafes all over the country.

Michael Hughes 15:10
And the Memory Cafe concept is really fascinating. And I just love to see funding programs like that, because they really can be very impactful. But I’ll tell you something, one thing that’s sticking out when you’re talking about I haven’t heard I use the term caregiver a lot. The industry uses the term caregiver a lot. I haven’t even heard you really use the term caregiver use a care partner, which is kind of like what’s the difference in your mind between a care partner and a caregiver? Well,

Marilyn Raichle 15:41
and I use the term caregiver for people at the beginning of their journey, because that’s how we’re seeing things so that when I started my journey with mom, I was caregiver, I only saw the loss, I was not seeing the person, I was only hearing the confusion, I wasn’t hearing the thought. And so that’s how I was treating mom. And when I was her family caregiver, she was the object of my care. And she was, I took care of making sure that she could, you know, go to all her appointments, and all of those things, but I was not. I didn’t have a relationship with mom, my relationship with Mom is okay, I’m going to take care of you. And I have to say that when the day was done, I was exhausted. And I was happy to leave. And then one, and I’d also made a career out of her art, you know, which was, which is another thing. So that sort of got the problem. And I have to admit that near the end of this period, I was thinking more of the art and less of mom, which are terrible. But then I started to notice one day that her art was starting to deteriorate. Same image, same colors, scratchy lines, and she seemed less interested in it to me. And so one morning, I got there before the painting class, and I and by this time, I mean, I was always seeing her sporadically, you know, I was seeing her honor Brown, that painting class day. And so I got there early, and we did everything she liked to do. We took a walk, we played Scrabble, which we always did, we looked at the view. We just had a wonderful time. And then I took her to the painting class. And I was stunned to see the art had completely changed. Warm animals had warm colors, had comebacks or saturated colors, animal images, a story was being told and her painting. And that’s when I went, Oh, I see, I have a role to play in this. We’re in this together. We’re partners. Ah, I see. And so from then on. We navigated a life with late stage dementia together. And we did everything together. And the more I visited her, it was no longer a chore. It became something I needed to do, something I wanted to do, it became this wonderful experience I had where I was then exploring her life, and her life became my life. And for nine years, we did this and it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my

Michael Hughes 18:41
life. I love that. And I love how you’re so frank with gist. And I think I have to imagine that that many other you know, people who are Dementia Care Partners, think this way where you know, just the story that you have about this idea of seeing somebody as an object for carrying rather than a partnership that you enter into that the language, we see a lot of this language we’d say about dementia sufferers. Right. I mean, just the language around around just the care that these are people who are suffering their patients, their medicalized versus, and it just to say, like diseases labeled lots of people, right, you know, it’s like, versus somebody who’s living with like, I am somebody who’s living with dementia. I mean, that seems to be a very important kind of had

Marilyn Raichle 19:31
a really hard one. When I first started out, all these people, wonderful people in Seattle, that I met who were involved in this movement, and they would talk about people living with them. I kept thinking, well, that’s odd. And because I was still back in the suffering mode. And so, when I finally understood what they were talking about, is that it’s really hard to have a relationship with somebody who’s suffering because all you can really share is the suffering And it’s not your suffering, and it sort of limits the conversation, then it’s, you know, makes you, it becomes your job to make sure that they’re feeling okay. But when you’re a care partner, and when you are living with, then everything changes that this is a human being, this is a person living a full life, capable of joy, and capable of meaning and capable of purpose. And it changes the conversation completely. And suddenly, all sorts of things are possible. And when you realize that this is a person living with joy, and you’re able to experience that joy, then it changes you too. It’s such a wonderful transition, when you can move from a caregiver to a care partner. And I don’t mean because there are so many caregivers in the world, and their home caregivers, who are vastly under supported, and their caregivers are professional caregivers. And so I don’t mean to, in any way, derive home caregivers, because they’re doing the best they can with as few possibly as few resources as possible. And if I wanted to scream and yell, I would basically say we as a country have let them down. And mother is among one of what 15% Of this country who has the resources to live in a really good continuing care facility. So if I have a goal in life, it’s to basically say to people living with dementia that they are valuable human beings worthy of our support.

Michael Hughes 21:40
And if you were to meet somebody who’s entering this caregiving journey for dementia, I mean, it’s sounding I think a lot of the experience that you convey, it’s kind of in the middle of the late stages of dementia, we tend to see a lot more of the difficult behaviors. And the memory issues and the things that really do tend to draw a wedge in with family. And you’ve been through your own journey where you felt just that, you know, I mean, you were chosen to do this, you didn’t choose to evolve with your relationship with your mom, from more of a caregiver to a care partner. So it’d be I think, even just with you participating in podcasts like this, we hope to maybe accelerate people’s realization from giver to Bergner. What do we need to do to kind of create environments or conditions? I mean, you know, what would you say to somebody who’s sort of starting out on this, saying, I’m really afraid of those times, I’m really afraid of entering into that moment where mom or dad or my partner forgets me. You know, I mean, what carried you through that? Well,

Marilyn Raichle 22:45
it’s interesting, I had this really interesting conversation with someone a few years ago. And he called me because he knew I was working in the field. And he, his wife, was just diagnosed with dementia. And I said, Alright, the first thing I want you to know is that it is entirely possible, more than probable, that she can live with joy and happiness. And he said, You’re the only person who said that? And I said, Well, it’s true. And then he said, Now, what are the most important words? ” And if I were saying to someone who’s just starting out like I was, but you’re in the position of being a quote caregiver, I would basically ask you to ask her, or him, what they would love to do. Firstly, make them part of the conversation. What would you like to do? What would you love to do? And remember, and try to think about all the things that made them happy? And then try to incorporate that into what you do? It’s so important to ask, and it’s sort of like those cardinal rules of dementia, which is, listen, ask questions, and listen, and then do the best you can. It changes with each person, my father, because I didn’t know enough back when he was having a hard, really hard time. And it’s different with him. Because I could have made a list. I could have just been with him to make sure that he knew he wasn’t going to be abandoned. I could have given him shoulder massages, which he loved. But did I think of that? No, I could have brought him his favorite food. I could have brought him pictures of all the things he did with us and for us to make our lives better. I could have told him I loved him, which is a word we didn’t use in our family. Scottish Calvinists. We didn’t ever use that. But, but there’s so many little things that I could have done with debt. So they’re not they’re not the huge and massive things. But smiling is always good. It was easy with mom because mom I was utterly delightful and happy and cheerful and charming, every single moment of your life. But listen, I think the most important thing I learned was to ask them, make sure they know they’re part of this conversation that someone’s hearing. Yes.

Michael Hughes 25:18
No, I think that’s so important. It’s speaks to a lot of, you know, a lot of best practices that we hear about, and it’s like, don’t say, Don’t you remember, you know,

Marilyn Raichle 25:29
those rules,

Michael Hughes 25:30
those rules, you have that I mean, it’s just, you’ve seen them kind of work. And I got to think that you and the lake minus people that are behind lots of words, you know, just think about the way that you’ve kind of just framed up the four different areas of a prize, given that you’ve got, you know, the idea of making those connections, we’re talking about making connections here, meaningful connections, you know, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a whole kind of spectrum of things you could use in any given day, I guess one of them could pop up as it might uniquely connect you to it with a person to your care that your cares, supporting for us. That’s the left one supporting care for partners, cultivating health. And then we have this treatment by design, which I gotta say, has really stuck in my head here. And it seems to be a little bit more of the abstract. What can you go into this and what is the intent behind treating it by design?

Marilyn Raichle 26:16
Well, the intent behind that, in fact, I made notes, because you kind of have to send me these potatoes, leaving the audience. But it’s a lot to do with the living space in which someone lives to make sure that there’s ample mobility, to make sure that people aren’t in silos, but that they have the opportunity to come together. One of the motivating, focuses for Richard very, was that his wife was incredibly fashionable. And yet she was wearing these drab, horrible clothes. And they were really hard to get people into and out of. And so he’s always been looking for ways for clothing that is easy for people to get into. And also clothing that is attractive. It’s helping people live full lives. And it’s this is why it’s sort of a mysterious category, because it can be how it can be your living arrangements. That’s one thing. But then you bring in horticulture, people’s ability to have plants or to connect with plants. In fact, one of the many programs that Richard Ferry has found that is called the memory hub, and they have a Maude’s garden, and a Maude’s garden is filled with wonderful plants that people can touch and people can smell and enjoy. So that it’s creating anything that can help create a more meaningful living environment for people, which is why it’s difficult. Using all

Michael Hughes 27:51
of the sense. I mean, this is part of the again, this is such a mysterious condition where it has so much to do with the effect on all five of your senses. And just to think that there are you know, it just seems to me that there’s a bit of a throw line here into what’s not happening enough in dementia care, which is this idea of being able to spend time with people to kind of really draw out those personal. Well, actually, let me put the question to you, because if we take your personal journey, and the types of things that are being recognized by Maude’s awards, you know, do you think it’s addressing things in the dementia care spectrum that you’re just not seeing enough of? What are we not seeing enough of in dementia care that really should be out there? Oh,

Marilyn Raichle 28:35
gosh, we don’t have it. Couple of hours, do we? Because it’s, first of all, you’ve got the issue of care, partner caregiver exhaustion. Because if you’re at home, and you’re taking care of a family, and you have a job, and you’re also taking care of your mother or your father, and you’re trying to juggle all of that and have a meaningful life with all of that, then you’re exhausted. So respite programs are really important. And so one of the things I would say at the summit is make contact with your local senior center. They might not have all of these programs, but they might also know how to reach them and how to access that. Memory Cafes, opportunities for people to come together. And you as a care partner can relax. There are some programs like HFC Hilarity for Charity that actually have respite grants that really help people but it’s not enough that we as a society have failed people. I am not afraid of Alzheimer’s. I am afraid of living as I like to put it in a squalid snake. Yes, I know. I’m going to be there. I want to make you know what sort of fun it is. But I feel it is so important for people to have options to have resources to help them. And there aren’t nearly enough. So I would start with your senior center and say, What do you have? Tell me everything you’ve got. And then also, you as the care partner, have the ability, let’s hope to get online and start researching what you have in your community. Seattle is blessed to have all sorts of wonderful programs. There was one program called momento that actually lists every single thing that is happening in this area that might be of interest to people. But that’s, you know, we’re lucky. Not everybody has that. And one of the things you notice about Maude’s awards, is that what is innovative, or new here, or somewhere else is, you know, we have a lot of it. But if you go outside Seattle, it’s not so much. And so it is heartening to see with matzo words how the number of programs that we hear about every year are broadening out across the country.

Michael Hughes 31:11
And it seems to me that you know, what’s going through my head right now is just that, you know, dementia, Alzheimer’s, it’s so much the most human of ailments and conditions because it affects our humanity. And our individuality, you know, who we are as individuals, and our agency and all those things that we hold near and dear to our hearts. And, you know, the stories that we hear often are of support programs, or for treatments that seem to lack that humanist view, or that lens and the programs that you describe and the discoveries that you have made yourself, which I think is a great inspiration for the monster wars are programs that really bring out humanity, reconnect to your inherent human character. And it seems that you yourself with your own journey, looking through that lens. That’s what really broke it open for you. Right. When you said earlier that I was mourning for the woman who was lost. I didn’t see the woman who was there, which is still someone that had a sense of agency and had a sense of expression and all of those things. I mean, would it be fair to say that? I mean, I don’t want to, I mean, people who are listening to this are likely people that are then applying for Maude’s awards, right?

Marilyn Raichle 32:29
Please play, right? And again,

Michael Hughes 32:31
for our listener, Maude’s. Are you looking? Do you prefer solutions that are necessarily human in that way? Or is it really just we’re open to anything,

Marilyn Raichle 32:46
we’re open to anything. It’s interesting that we’re open for profit, nonprofit, professional caregivers, home care partners. We want to hear about things that have managed to bring joy to people’s lives and to help them live better lives. It’s really, it’s a wonderful thing. And it’s the kind of program where we don’t worry about raising money, because Richard fairy is funding the entire thing out of the goodness of his soul. It is a program where we want to help people live better lives, and we want to help people in this situation. And I have learned so much about all of this. You know, every year I learn something new. And in fact, we heard, we heard I heard from this incredible woman the other day, and she was calling me on behalf of her son, who is 11. And he called her and he heard about Maude’s awards on Instagram. And he said I want you to apply on behalf of this program. He started when he was 10. And for both of his grandfather and his father, he had been giving them ducks, little rubber duckies and they loved them. And his grandfather when he died had rubber duckies in his hand. And so he started this program called ducks for dementia, which is collecting ducts to share with people all over the country. And right now it’s turning into a national program. Wow. And this is the kind of thing it’s like that he’s going to apply.

Michael Hughes 34:25
You know, deservingly so be it because I just again, I just love that element of it. It’s so human, it’s a connection. It’s building bridges. It’s arcing joy, which is something so simple, right? Yeah, I mean, I just love the elegance of that and I know that you guys just must be you know your hearts must be full and you there’s so many I mean, I know you probably want to get processed by everybody. Yeah, you’re in such a unique place to see all these things. Celebrate not just the ones you were but everybody through your website. I mean, I just want the Part of your year, you’re going to build up this wonderful inventory of programs that are unique and impactful. And that’s going to be a wonderful crucible for people that are looking to develop their own program. So we think Yeah, and I just think that this guy’s such a great future with Maude’s and words. So I am I, I’m gonna put you on the hook for a couple of questions at the end of these. Oh, I

Marilyn Raichle 35:23
I love your questions. I know. So I just wanted to say that there’s another program that we funded two years ago. I’m still here at the Foundation, which does innovation grants, which are also equally wonderful.

Michael Hughes 35:36
So that’s the I’m still so the I’m still here is that you work with that foundation.

Marilyn Raichle 35:39
I’m on their board of the I’m still here Foundation. They do innovation grants. And so they collect their request applications and these are grants, but they give applications usually around five to $10,000 for programs that are again, using the arts to enrich people’s lives.

Michael Hughes 36:01
So okay, so matzah works. Soda. org and what’s the website for the I’m still here foundation?

Marilyn Raichle 36:07
I’m still

Michael Hughes 36:09
I’m still

Marilyn Raichle 36:10
behind anything good.

Michael Hughes 36:14
I know. But so I’m Still, I’m still here foundation.

Marilyn Raichle 36:19
Yeah, I’m so it is it’s just this thing, then, the more and more we just, there’s it’s growing. It’s not nearly enough, but it’s growing.

Michael Hughes 36:32
And again, as at the top of the call, we could be doing a lot of stuff right now. But you’re choosing to do this. And the energy that I’m just getting from you talking about this is just so infectious. And it inspires me. I know that you guys are to be the one to do some really wonderful reading of this initiative. So past thanks to Richard Fairy as well. And, I again, just watched access to you guys in the future for doing this great work. But

Marilyn Raichle 36:58
Richard fairies, a man who truly lives his faith,

Michael Hughes 37:01
clearly want us to have him. And again, all kudos to him for bringing a child in this program. luckiest person in the world. You’re not off the hook with the three questions, though. Oh, no, I

Marilyn Raichle 37:14
I love them. Three Persons. Okay. Okay. All right.

Michael Hughes 37:16
So we always ask our guests three questions and every single show but their own experience with aging. And I just think it’s just so cool. Just to hear people from different backgrounds and just answer these. So we’re going to put it to you now. Okay. Question number one. So Maryland, when you think about how you’ve aged? What do you think has changed about you or grown with you that you’re really like about yourself? And

Marilyn Raichle 37:40
all of these things I’m going to mention, I really learned from mom. But this is one that I did learn from all that, that what I learned is that it is always better to think of others first. And when you’re talking to someone, it’s best to start with a smile and something positive to say, I have no idea how well that works. When I first saw mom do it. But then years and years later, I started doing it. And it was like, oh my goodness, this is amazing what a difference it makes. And I thought to myself, Oh, no. And then I thought, Oh, of course mom knew.

Michael Hughes 38:12
Well, Calvin was new. I

Marilyn Raichle 38:14
mean, come on. Yeah. Well, that was the big one. I

Michael Hughes 38:19
I love that. I’m jotting that down. I think it’s a wonderful sentiment. And then that sort of leads into our second question, What has surprised you the most about you, as you’ve aged?

Marilyn Raichle 38:30
I’m so much happier now than I used to be? Yeah. Very

Michael Hughes 38:36
cool. Is that just something that? I mean, you’ve told this whole story about being a care partner for your mother. I mean, it’s stressful. It’s like,

Marilyn Raichle 38:45
I mean, it was a lot. It was part of that. Because I mean, at the understanding, I grew up, I’m with someone for whom the Art of War was light reading. And so the whole aspect of slowing down and starting to listen. And living a life together, together was not a word I was ever using in my life because he was so competitive. But then I just started to slow down, calm down. And that was a gradual process. It took years but I am much happier now.

Michael Hughes 39:19
So awesome. That is awesome. I love hearing that. And then this last question is something that I expect that you’re saying, I mean, he’ll throw a little surprise in there. But is there someone that you’ve met or been in your life that has set a good example for you and aging somebody there’s so we hold the age with abundance or abundant aging as part of our mission? Is there somebody that you’ve met or been in your life that has inspired you to age with abundance?

Marilyn Raichle 39:45
I’m actually going to read something because this is something I wrote about Mother. Yes. I hope I can age like mom. Living a life abundant with love, purpose and friends. Fascinated by The World curious about the future and filled with laughter, focusing on the positive, accepting the inevitable and enjoying the ride.

Michael Hughes 40:09
Could you read that again?

Marilyn Raichle 40:11
If you want me to read that again?

Michael Hughes 40:12
I do want you to read again. Yeah, yeah. Isn’t

Marilyn Raichle 40:14
Is it wonderful?

Michael Hughes 40:15

Marilyn Raichle 40:16
I hope I can age like Mom, leave living a life abundant with love, purpose and friends, fascinated by the world, curious about the future, and filled with laughter, focusing on the positive, accepting the inevitable, and enjoying the ride?

Michael Hughes 40:37
Well, I gotta say, Marielle, what a wonder I hope to age like your mom as well, if that is the template that you’re following. I want to thank you. I mean, it’s so many great inspirational things that you said, but what was the name of your book?

Marilyn Raichle 40:49
Well, it’s gonna be called don’t walk away, and it’s called don’t walk away, because that’s what mother told us to do, walk away. And it took me a while to learn not to do that. So it’s called don’t walk away. And we’re putting in the dedication. I don’t have it. It’s not a habit. It’s all in my mind yet. But the first part is, to all the caregivers who have just begun their journey, may they begin with joy and blah, blah, blah, I haven’t memorized it. But the second part is important. And for all of those who may already have walked away, perhaps this will be a nudge to reconsider.

Michael Hughes 41:31
Well, when you finish that work, he will have you back on to talk about that. Because you unpack a lot of great things on your own. From nettle your own story. I’m just kind of overwhelmed at the moment with it. And

Marilyn Raichle 41:44
in the book are illustrated by her paintings. Oh,

Michael Hughes 41:48
All right. So before I start bawling like a baby here, I just want to thank you for being such a great guest on the show, Maryland. Thank you. And again, Maryland. You know, they have Maryland Raychel Executive Director, mobs awards, that’s mod awards, or the I’m still here foundation, I’m still here door. But most of all, I want to thank you, our listeners. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Our Aging, which is part of the abundant aging podcast series from United Church homes. And we want to hear from you what is your experience with being a care partner for someone that may be living with dementia? You know, what are your tips? What do you wish you would have had? What subjects would you like us to cover on future episodes of the show? We want to hear from you. So please visit abundant aging to share your ideas. And you can also listen to all of our podcasts on abundant aging as well as on YouTube at United Church homes. And feedback is also appreciated on our Ruth bras Parker Center website. You can see that at United Church Again, Maryland, thanks for being a great guest on the show. So, so amazed by your work and so excited to see what you’ll accomplish in the future. You know, I’ll just, I’ll just end it there. Thanks so much, Marilyn, and our guests. We’ll see you next time.

Marilyn Raichle 43:03
What a pleasure. Thank you.