Stanford University School of Medicine
The Robert G. Fenley Writing Awards: Solicited Articles - Gold
The essay “Adventures of the Mind: Barbecue With Dad, Dementia, and How Our Senses Contribute to Cognition” arose from the experiences of the writer, internal medicine and palliative care physician Dr. Karl Lorenz, caring for his own father during one of his most difficult passages in his journey with dementia. His father’s story was intended to remind readers of the need for greater humanity in the care of dementia sufferers and the irreplaceable value of rich lived environments during the dementia experience. The intended audience included caregivers, loved ones, friends, medical professionals, and other readers who will in the future or are facing now the challenge of dementia. It was published in Stanford Medicine magazine, Issue 1, 2021.
What was the most impactful part of your entry?
The most impactful aspect of my entry was humanizing my father and drawing a colorful comparison between the wise, loving, nurturing man he was before dementia with his diminished capacities and frailty after the onset of dementia.
What is one thing you learned from your entry/experience?
I heard personally from a number of people after my story was published, including a very elderly former business colleague of my father who I had not spoken to or been in touch with in four decades. These spontaneous contacts affirmed for me the role of storytelling in fostering human connections and empathy.