An Alzheimer’s Journey: Vt. couple fights stigma & promotes understanding

In summer 2016, Sky Yardley, 66, was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no cure for this disease. He and his wife, Jane Dwinell, decided to begin writing and speaking about their shared experience of Sky’s dementia. “We started this blog as a way to erase the stigma attached to dementia and to increase understanding of the way it affects people on a day-to-day basis. People with dementia, and their loved ones, are not to be pitied or ignored, but to be treated with the full respect accorded to anyone, and with the understanding that they can meaningfully participate in life and in society despite their disability.” Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting 5 million people in the U.S., including 12,000 Vermonters. Their blog is called Alzheimer’s Canyon, Sky’s term for a place with “no trails, no landmarks, nothing.”  In this interview, Sky talks about his slowly deteriorating mental state, how the couple is dealing with it, and what gives them hope. (July 12, 2017 broadcast)

Sky Yardley and Jane Dwinell, authors, Alzheimer’s Canyon blog

Saving Europe’s refugees

More than one million refugees poured into Europe in 2015, the greatest migration of people since WWII. Most of the refugees are fleeing war, especially from Syria, but many are Iraqis and Afghans fleeing violence. Most are smuggled by boat onto the Greek islands from Turkey, which now hosts more refugees than any other country. Seventh generation Vermonter Jane Dwinell, a registered nurse and Unitarian minister, recently returned from the Greek island of Lesvos, where she volunteered with Lighthouse Refugee Relief  to assist refugees arriving in overflowing boats. She discusses the crisis and why she helped. She also wrote a daily blog account of her volunteer work in Greece. [Feb 10, 2016 broadcast]

Jane Dwinell, RN, Unitarian minister, refugee volunteer