Dementia Caregiving Consultant Talia Wandrum Discovered How To Make Dementia Caregiving Easier For Families
Today we’d like to introduce you to Talia Wandrum.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
When I was younger, I had a dream of changing the world of Gerontology. To see Dementia Care Advocates take off and change thousands of families lives is truly a dream come true. I was twelve years old when my grandmother received her Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease diagnoses. My father and I were her primary caregivers in the early stages of her dementia. In the beginning, I found it quite fascinating when my grandmother would hallucinate fairies and tell make believe stories. But quickly, that fascination turned into fear when she would suddenly become violent or irritated. We would try different tricks to keep her mood stable, and I enjoyed learning more about her diseases. This is what sparked my love for the the aging community and led me to pursue dementia caregiving professionally, graduate with a degree in social work, and become a CARES® Dementia Specialist™. During my time interning at memory care facilities and working as a private caregiver, I saw the lack of proper dementia education in nurses and families which led to caregiver stress, burnout, and unhappy loved ones. It became my mission to share with families an easier way to care for their loved ones, so in 2019, I partnered with caregivers, gerontologists, and nurses to create an easy-to-understand, life-changing dementia caregiving course. Dementia Care Advocates is now a worldwide community supporting and educating families on how to care for those with dementia efficiently, effectively, and passionately with our approach.
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
I have always struggled with imposter syndrome due to my age. Because I entered this industry in college, I was always at least twenty years younger than everyone else in the room and that was intimidating. So for years, I threw myself at every course, every certificate, and bought every pantsuit known to man to try to look the part. I had a mission to help show the world an easier way of caregiving, but who was going to listen to someone half their age right? It wasn’t until I realized that an “expert” isn’t what I was trying to become. I wasn’t trying to be the most experienced or the most educated. I was just a caregiver with a huge heart to help families find a better way. I just wanted to be the bridge connecting them to better resources. After this realization, I stopped caring what people thought of me because I knew I wouldn’t be everyones’ cup of tea, and that’s okay. It’s part of the job. Looking back, I laugh because I’ve helped thousands of people worldwide anywhere from 15-50 years older than I am that never cared about what I looked like or my age as long as I was getting them results.
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
Dementia Care Advocates specializes in educating families on dementia caregiving through our affordable online courses and resources. We created the A.D.V.O.C.A.T.E.’s caregiving approach that helps manage dementia-related behaviors and promotes easier caregiving. Due to the nature of our mission and audience, we don’t believe in competition. When we see other organizations serving the dementia community, we seek out collaborations to further our world-changing missions.
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
I have four core values and standards I live by that have contributed tremendously to my success. The first one I learned from the infamous Tony Robbins, success is 80% mindset. There isn’t a more true statement that describes entrepreneurship. No matter what obstacles arise, your decisions and perceptions determine whether the obstacles will strengthen or weaken you. The second is failure is just a redirection. Many times the fear of failure holds us back or gives us anxiety, but if we can view failure as something positive then fear is removed from the equation. I believe that God works everything out for the good and everything happens for a reason, so the more you embrace the detours, the easier your life becomes. The third one is what you do today creates your tomorrow. Procrastinating will keep us from achieving our goals 100% of the time, guaranteed. It’s up to us to chase our dreams and become the best versions of ourselves because no one can do it for us. The third is never to settle for less than excellence. Excellence requires thorough preparation and thoughtfulness which both will make a hugely positive impression in your personal life and business. The last one is never to stop learning. Growth and transformation spark from an “ah ha” moment, so read more, get a mentor, and invest in yourself.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success is when you can look at your life and are proud of the person you’re becoming and the person that you are despite your past hardships. Success isn’t about reaching the goal or desired lifestyle. It’s how you feel in the present moment. If you only feel successful after you reach a goal that feeling will fade and you will be left with nothing because you’re only going to have more goals. You will feel as though you are chasing a feeling instead of experiencing that feeling at every stage of your life. Remember, success is a mindset.
What’s next for you?
In the next couple of years, I see Dementia Care Advocates fully staffed and working towards our goal to reach 100,000 families.
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
Our courses can be found at dementiacareadvocates.org and make sure to follow us on Instagram @dementiacareadvocates. Thank you so much for having me!