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Minister And Chaplain Lynn Casteel Harper On Dementia

Renee Bright

Lynn Casteel Harper, a Baptist minister and nursing home chaplain, has born first-hand witness to the ravages of Alzheimer's. She says the way we think and talk about the disease often only adds to the pain and suffering.

According to Harper, we live in a "dementia-phobic culture." We describe the disease as “a thief, kidnapper, slow-motion murderer [that] robs, steals and erases one’s memory, mind, personality.” Harper is interested in how that kind of talk shapes the way the disease is experienced — and not just by those directly afflicted. As she puts it, everyone "in the at-risk population — that is, all of us who plan to grow old” are subject to these fears. Harper joins us this Friday at noon to discuss how dementia can be reframed as a window onto an essential aspect of what it means to be alive.

Lynn Casteel Harper's book is On Vanishing: Mortality, Dementia, and What It Means to Disappear [BookShop|IndieBound|Amazon}