Cultivating a community wealthy in hope, creativity, joy, and faith. Working in a range of settings, including community organizations, care communities, and in the home. 

Kathryne Fassbender

CDCS, CDP – Creative Gerontologist, Speaker, Catholic Innovator

Each day I seek to accompany others, walking the dementia journey, magnifying the importance of creativity and human connection. I am a classically trained musician, studio artist, and theatre maker, with a background in the creative arts therapies. I believe in cultivating a community that is wealthy in creativity, connection, hope, and joy. 

I am also the granddaughter of someone who lived with Vascular Dementia

20 years ago, I started my dementia journey. 

It did not come in the form of a person I love being diagnosis with a form of dementia, a job (I was, after all, a 6th grader), or via a parent’s career. It came through a comment made by a classmate in my science class.

In my 6th-grade science class, my peers started talking about dementia. At the time I had no clue what it really was, nor was I aware of anyone in my life who had dementia. I knew enough though, that when a classmate started calling it, “old timer’s disease,” that the correct behavior was to be appalled by that comment.  This launched my passion for working with dementia as a volunteer. In 2005 when my grandmother was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia, the story become personal. My view of dementia as well as a greater awareness of what it means to live with dementia drastically changed. I experienced the struggles, stereotypes, shame, and the family journey. The world of dementia that I had moved into continued to grow, evolve, and transformed once again as I worked to make dementia my career recognizing that I was uniquely created for this purpose.

The Dementia Letters Project started off as a blend of Life Enrichment work and volunteering (which at the time was named, Bonae Memorie.) In 2017, I started the shift towards working as an independent contractor, and in 2018 I officially launched the Dementia Letters Project.

Over the last 16 years I have recognized the need for those living with dementia to tell their story, and for the greater community to start having a different type of conversation. There exists a longing to move away from the doom and gloom and into joy. I started the project as a way to help all of us share our story of dementia and move into that joy. As I write the current pages of the Dementia Letters Project story, I invite you to join me, to co-create a new narrative of dementia.

Want to Partner with Dementia Letters Project?

All of us are living with dementia so follow along and join in on the conversation on social media @dementialetters or email me at KLFassbender@dementialettersproject.com