Brenner Pathways - Tom and Karen Brenner

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About Tom and Karen Brenner

Tom Brenner holds an MA in Gerontology and has been working as a trainer, writer and consultant in the field of aging for many years. Tom is a trainer and researcher for the State of Illinois, Department on Aging. He also trains caregivers and case managers in the Illinois Community Care Project. Karen Brenner has worked in the field of education for 30 years as a teacher and administrator. She co-founded Montessori schools in the Chicago area, one of which specializes in the education of children who are deaf or communication disordered. Tom and Karen are authors of the book "You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello: The Montessori Method for Positive Dementia Care". Where they help people living with dementia, their families and caregivers navigate this challenging condition using techniques first developed by Maria Montessori.

A Day in the Life

Our first book, You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello: The Montessori Method for Positive Dementia Care has recently been published and is now for sale. It is a very exciting time for us. The book is the end result … Continue reading

The Gift of Caregiving

How you live with dementia depends completely on your own attitude. We cannot change the condition itself, but we can change how we approach this enormous challenge in our lives. We are still in a relationship, even a partnership with … Continue reading

Tom and Karen’s Story

The couple, a man and woman, stood just outside the door of the Scandinavian Home, arguing. The autumn leaves from the towering elms on the grounds of the nursing home swirled around their feet as the cold wind snatched their … Continue reading

The Storied Memory

When we began creating short stories for people living with dementia to read aloud, we were surprised by the journey that this simple exercise created. As people began reading our prepared stories, they started telling us stories from their own … Continue reading

Let It Be

Easy to say; really, really hard to do.  Does the idea of letting go mean that we are giving up, that this is all there is, that things will never be better, that we just have to sigh, shrug our … Continue reading

An Alzheimer’s Valentine

We were impossibly young and so beautifulWhen we met and fell in love. You were the cool guy from the big cityI was the shy small town girl. I bring you photographs of those days long agoYou look and smile … Continue reading

My Hero

*[This story is based on many people we have met during our memory support work. It is fiction but grounded in the reality of Alzheimer’s.] I wish there was someone I could talk to about this. Everyone here is very … Continue reading

Some Tips to Help Celebrate the Holidays

           One of the best ideas I ever heard for helping caregivers was from Denise Brown (the creator of the web site, Caregiving!). Denise encourages her readers to create a “Job Jar.” She asks caregivers to write on slips of … Continue reading

Where Does Memory Live?

My dad often said, “Karen is just like a duck. Every day she wakes up, it’s a brand new world.” I was never sure if dad was saying something good or bad about me, but this statement does bear some … Continue reading

The Raven and the Writing Desk

The Importance of Category Sort Exercises for People Living with Alzheimer’s We walked into the Alzheimer’s unit after our lunch break and instantly heard the raised voices. There was a real donnybrook going on in the dining room and we … Continue reading

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