Maria Deneau works for The Alois Alzheimer Center as Director of Admissions & Marketing. The Center provides assisted living through certified nursing (total care) for all dementia residents in a long-term care setting. Specializing in dementia and behaviors, The Center was the first all dementia community in the United States when it opened in 1987.
Tell us a little about your work and your career. I have been in senior healthcare since 2007, when my Mom was showing signs of Alzheimer’s. I have experience in skilled/rehab nursing, home health & hospice, mobile physician group marketing and clinical nutrition. I am a Certified Dementia Practitioner (some may say I’m certifiable, but I’m okay with that ;). I love when I make a difference in a family’s life and when I can go stomp on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.!If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go money no object? Italy and South Korea
What is your biggest inspiration in life or in your job? What do you enjoy most about your work? My work is a calling. I am a public policy advocate (nationally & locally) for Alzheimer’s legislation and I do very much enjoy helping families navigate this “industry,” for lack of a better word. It has become a big industry and not all of it is great. It’s a huge bandwidth for people to learn about when placing a loved one or just needing resources. This is why I am excited to serve as advocacy chair for the APA! So much to consider with such a strong and diverse group! Advocacy means different things for different people and groups, so I want to narrow that down for APA members and help us cultivate our place in the Cincinnati area for senior advocacy and for our members. As far as inspiration, I am always inspired by my nurses and by families and other professionals who work for our seniors.
Do you have a special message to share with your neighbors or community? The Alois Alzheimer Center is very unique in what we offer for care. We are the best at what we do and there is really not another community like it. We are the only all dementia community with assisted living and nursing and we specialize in outward behaviors. Transfer trauma is the biggest thing that I see when admitting a loved one. Even from just their home environment, there is a lot of adjustments to consider because of the disease process. So add on top of that a failed move in at another community with possible hospital stays, etc. It is really very important to consider placing your loved one into a community with a lot of experience and training.
Do you have a funny story about your work? How do you make your work day meaningful or inspirational? Just taking a walk around the community is meaningful to remind myself why I do this. There are so many funny stories…I remember a resident who found comfort in a baby doll (she was a mom and grandma of many). She was very sweet and took good care of her “baby”, even dressing her up in baby bonnets. One day I found her singing to her baby and it was just so sweet. I asked her “How is your baby today?” She looked up at me without missing a beat and said “It’s just a doll, you idiot!” Hahahahaha- we both laughed pretty hard and she wasn’t sure what she was laughing at after a while ;)
Tell us about yourself and family: I am from Cincinnati’s west side originally, but now live with my hubby Al in Eden Park- we love it. I have one son, 2 bonus daughters and 1 bonus grandson! They are all good lookin kids and they keep us hopping. I am pretty adventurous and go cage diving with Great White Sharks every fall 260 miles off the coast of Mexico. I love music of all genres, hiking and water just about everywhere. I also love to cook and go out to eat! As far as other involvement, I am also in The Giving Voice Collaborative and serve on THEIR advocacy team!
Any additional information you would like to share? I am a published author of curated articles in The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and The Sunday Paper, both run by Maria Shriver’s media company where I serve as one of her ambassadors. I have met her and have been to her offices in LA and was on The Today Show in October 2019 as her special guest. She is my celebrity inspiration!