‘Alzheimer’s Stole Her’: Changing Our Narrative About Dementia

My grandmother lived with Alzheimer’s disease for years. And for years, my family and I would say things like: “Alzheimer’s stole her from us.” “She’s not herself now.” “She’s a shell of who she was.” That’s our cultural narrative about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia — that it’s the aggressor. It has power over us, we say. It can take away our loved ones right before our eyes. If we’re lucky, we might catch a glimpse of them …

Meet 6 Inspiring Do-Gooders Changing the World

En español | An Episcopal priest and a former judge. A journalist and an artistic director. A doctor and an advocate for impoverished women. They’re the winners of the 2015 Purpose Prize, which recognizes people over age 60 who combine passion and experience to find new ways to solve tough social problems. The prize, announced Nov. 13 by the nonprofit Encore.org, will award a total of $225,000 to the recipients, selected by a jury that included such notables as Michael …

For World Kindness Day, What’s Your Good Deed?

Several months ago my parents and I had breakfast at a neighborhood restaurant in Cleveland. After finishing our meal I asked the server for the check. “It’s already been taken care of,” she said. “What?” I asked, thinking I had misunderstood her. She explained that another patron paid our bill and left. “He does stuff like that all the time,” she said. My parents and I received a random act of kindness. And it made our day. Donate to help …

A Millennial’s Musings on Returning to the Nest

I’m 32 and I live in my mom’s basement. (For now!) Let me explain: I recently completed a master’s degree program, the second year of which was in Thailand. Before I left, I packed two suitcases and a backpack, and locked the rest of my two-bedroom apartment in storage. That’s what I have now at my mom’s — two big bags and a backpack — as I search for a job and plot my next move. Oh, and I should mention …

Understanding Oprah

I’ve had the good fortune to interview a raft of fascinating folks during my 30-plus years as a journalist: Lionel Richie, Shirley Chisholm, Gwendolyn Brooks, Stokely Carmichael (aka Kwame Turé) and many more. But the one person I yearned above all to share time with, Oprah Winfrey, eluded me. I’ve long admired her as a woman who, despite meager beginnings, made it big and shared her wealth with others. Say what you want about Oprah, but you can’t deny that …

Green Peace: The Healing Power of Parks for Young and Old

One of my very best friends died three years ago. He happened to be my grandfather, who was 96 years old. He was ready. It was time. But it wasn’t easy. I missed him. It took me months to delete the calendar alert I’d set up to ping me every day at 11:20 a.m., a reminder to stop what I was doing and “Call PO9,” short for Pop Pop. (As a kid, when I was learning to write, I accidentally addressed …