Joanna LaFleur on Finding Joy in the Dementia Journey

An interview with Joanna LaFleur on Finding Joy in the Dementia Journey on October 24, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.




Joanna has worked in the Dementia care field for over a decade, and she knows first-hand what it is like to care for a loved one with Dementia.  She was 20 years old when her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  She understands how Dementia affects the entire family, and she saw just how limited their options were when it came to finding care.


For years, she worked for different companies in the eldercare industry and found that it was rife with low quality care and little to no support for caregivers. She understood that a client-focused, human-centric approach was needed, so she started to develop her own guidelines for Dementia care. When she proposed some of these changes, she was met with pushback and was often called “too sensitive.”


Please tell me a little about your background.


I first founded a Dementia focused Private Duty Homecare company and later an assisted living community, which converted residential homes into care centers that could accommodate smaller numbers of residents, provide a better ratio of caregivers, and create a healthier environment for people living with Dementia. I led a team of passionate, dependable, well-trained staff who shattered the status quo in the Dementia homecare industry and created a company that truly cared for the people they served.


Now I want to share my knowledge and expertise to help those with Dementia and provide support for their caregivers. I offer care consulting sessions for people who want to learn person centered practical tips on caring for someone with dementia.  I am ready to help people caring for a person with dementia to find the financial resources and grief counseling they need, as well as provide additional training and seminars for professionals in the community.


Can you tell me more about your advocacy?


My advocacy is about giving quality of life to people with dementia and giving their caregivers the resources, they need to succeed.


What is your passion and how did you get involved in Dementia awareness and hope for a cure?


My grandma had Alzheimer’s and as soon as I started working with elders and those with dementia, I knew it was what I was supposed to do with my life.


What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when working with you?


My goal is to decrease hallucinations/delusions, improve sleep, and improve my overall quality of life.


What type of training and how long are the programs?


My dementia 101 course coming out in a few weeks will give you a good overview of all thing’s dementia care. Topics range from the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia, types of dementia and their care needs, the abilities people with dementia maintain, difficulties people with dementia live with, and the use of therapeutic activities in dementia care. Find practical tips to use while currently caring for or living with someone with dementia.


What effect can your advocacy have on an individual with Dementia?


I have seen people with dementia not just survive but thrive with my care tips and innovative approaches to Dementia Care.


What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?


Continued opportunities to share my passion and knowledge.


How does your advocacy also assist the caregivers?


I started a nonprofit called “Memory Lane Foundation”. Memory Lane Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness for dementia, educate the public, provide advocacy, and offer financial and community resources. We are passionate about improving the quality of dementia care and enhancing the lives of those living with dementia and their caregivers. We support those with dementia and their families, caregivers, and communities with access to geriatric/dementia expertise, tangible assistance for financial hardships, and emotional support to caregivers. We understand the struggles families are going through and we’re here to help. Our goal is to revolutionize the eldercare industry by giving everyone access to the resources they need.


How can someone get in touch?  What is your website? or on social media (TikTok and Instagram) I’m Joanna Dementia Expert.


How can others also become advocates for awareness?


 Seek education and help educate others. I believe that is really where it starts.


What alternative or innovative solutions have you come up with in dementia care?


Creative dementia care by using therapeutic activities as a redirection tool and using Marijuana in dementia care.


 How can we better fundraise to support a cure for Dementia?


We need to put our finger on the pulse of what caregivers really need. Then reach out to people who believe in the cause and share knowledge with them. Most people just don’t know how big of a need there is in Dementia care.


In your opinion, what is the key to effective advocacy? 


Knowing the needs of the person you are advocating for and being relentless in fighting for them.


 Why should people who don’t have Dementia care about this?  


Because 1 in 3 people over the age of 80 have a form of dementia, and that’s not counting the people who get Frontotemporal or Early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s something that either has or will affect us all.

If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Dementia community, what would it be?


There is joy, peace, and hope after a dementia diagnosis.