Exploring the human side of dementia helps put a face on this fast-growing affliction. This study reflects one elderly woman’s story of recovery from dementia that arose following a stroke. Painting a portrait of life with dementia can help us conceptualize the experience, how people live and how they would like to live. The woman is Marcia, my mom, and this is a qualitative inquiry with a collaborative narrative design to explore her experiences and to document my own. This study may help dementia patients and their support teams better understand the process of living with dementia and can perhaps lead to a more informed and supportive environment to optimize recovery for all concerned.


Dementia, Dementia Recovery, Quality of Life, Qualitative

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Deb Miller is an Associate Professor in the School of Management of City University of Seattle, USA teaching MBA courses to future leaders. Beyond the academic world, she has extensive industry experience having served as the vice president of global marketing and communications for multiple Fortune 500 firms for more than 20 years. She is recognized as a brand innovator for conceptualizing and executing B2B global experiences across audiences, an award-winning visionary with a unique combination of financial, business, communication, and marketing expertise. Her general research interests are related to organizational branding, rebranding, corporate identity, corporate brand management and corporate marketing. She holds a D.B.A, M.B.A, B.S. and is a certified public accountant (C.P.A.). Please direct correspondence to debmiller@cityu.edu.

Dr. Corey W. Johnson is a Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo. He teaches courses on inclusive recreation, social justice, gender and sexuality, qualitative research methods, and the philosophy of science. Dr. Johnson’s theorizing and qualitative inquiry focuses its attention on the power relations between dominant (white, male, heterosexual, etc.) and non-dominant populations in the cultural contexts of leisure. This examination provides important insight into both the privileging and discriminatory practices that occur in contemporary leisure settings. He sees this research as complimentary to both his classroom instruction and his professional service, and he uses advocacy, activism, civic-engagement, service-learning, and community partnerships to create unique learning opportunities for individuals and institutions. His research has been published in journals like the Journal of Leisure Research, Leisure Sciences, The Journal of Homosexuality, and the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education just to name a few. He has co-written the seminal text Fostering Social Justice through Qualitative Research: A Methodological Guide and is currently writing Collective Memory Work: Learning with and from Lived Experience and co-editing Digital Dilemmas: Transforming Gender Identities and Power Relations in Everyday Lives. He has received substantial financial support in his efforts to create safer environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in institutional settings such as camps, secondary schools, universities, and detention centers. He has also co-produced two documentaries, “be there for me”: collective memories of LGBTQ youth in high school, and “We exist”: collective memories of transgender, queer and questioning youth; distributing the films with a resource binder to +1000 schools in the state of Georgia. He was selected as one of the top ten educators (P-16) in Georgia working for equality by the Georgia LGBT Pride Committee and in 2012 he received the UGA President’s MLK Jr. Achieving the Dream award for his efforts. Please direct correspondence to corey.johnson@uwaterloo.ca.


We would like thank Marcia for her willingness to share of her lived experience and her resilient life.

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