Recognizing And Dealing With A Parent’s Dementia

When dementia comes. “Father of the Bride” and “Nashville” star Kimberly Williams-Paisley opens up about facing — dealing with — her mother’s dementia.

Kimberly and Ashley with their mother Lynn Williams in 2003. (Jonathan Skow / Corbis)

Kimberly and Ashley with their mother Linda Williams in 2003. (Jonathan Skow / Corbis)

When a parent hits dementia, it’s a tough passage for any family.  Every family.  Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley had, literally, a Hollywood life.  Starred young in “Father of the Bride.”  Starred in TV’s “Nashville.”  Married to country music superstar Brad Paisley.  But when her mom, Linda, was hit at 61 with early dementia, this daughter’s family was hit like anyone else’s.  She’s written movingly about the denial and confusion and decline.  About the emotions and upheaval and, finally, acceptance.  This hour On Point:  when dementia hits home, with Kimberly Williams-Paisley.

— Tom Ashbrook


Kimberly Williams-Paisley, actor and director. (@Kimwilliamspais)

Darby Morhardt, clinical social worker, associate professor at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Gurney Williams, father of Kimberly Williams.

From Tom’s Reading List

Redbook: “How I Faced My Mother’s Dementia” — “Nine years ago, it was my mother’s turn for a horrifying, life-changing moment. She was diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) at age 61. It’s a degenerative brain disease, a form of dementia with no treatment or cure. Since then, I’ve watched a passionately joyful woman, a devoted mother, an engaged listener and friend deteriorate and transform into someone almost unrecognizable. It’s been agonizing to slowly lose her.”

The Guardian: Dementia care: what should housing providers offer? — “One in three people aged over 65 will die with dementia, and it is thought that more than 60% of all care home residents aged over 65 have a form of the condition. Dementia is one of the main causes of disability later in life – ahead of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

HBO: The Alzheimer’s Project — “There are currently 10 million Americans providing 8.5 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s disease or otherdementias, according to an estimate from the Alzheimer’s Association. Seventy percent of people with Alzheimer’s live at home, cared for by family and friends.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 27, 2015
Josh Baldonado, an administrative assistant at Brown & Brown Insurance, works at a treadmill desk in the firms offices in Carmel, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP)

The end of sitting at work. A new call to get up off our chairs. To stand and move! We’ll look at how that works.

Nov 27, 2015
The punk rock band Sleater-Kinney (from L: Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) (Courtesy the Band)

Feminist punk-rockers, the band Sleater-Kinney, is with us. Reunited. Hotter than ever.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

Nov 26, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »