Dakim Blog

April 16, 2013

In Memoriam: Bernie Harris, our remarkable friend

Written by: Brenda Matteson

Mr. Bernie Harris, one of Dakim’s own, passed away peacefully Friday evening, April 12, 2013, at the age of 93.

When he came to our doors, volunteering to use our brain fitness system and provide feedback from his player experiences as an individual diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he was a gift to us. However, we did not know at that moment what a rare gift he would turn out to be and how he would change us forever.

Bernie was part of our family and came into our offices to play our system for more than 5 years. His feedback was invaluable–whether he was enthusiastically drumming on the table to the beat of a familiar song, cranking through story problems with his amazingly quick mind for math, growling when he found a typo or determined that our onscreen instructions were lacking, or expressing his constant dissatisfaction for any score lower than 100. And he was so much more.

Bernie Harris, 93, enjoying another well-earned score of 100!In the time he was in our midst, we came to know and be uplifted by a joyous, mischievous, vibrant, magnetic, and energetic relisher of life. He’d worked since he was 14 (and didn’t retire until he was 87!); was a personal aide to Dwight D. Eisenhower in World War II; built an international sales company from just four employees; traveled around the world 25 times; hosted annual reunions of family members from all over; helped out family, friends, and countless charities without a second thought; played tennis like a pro; tap-danced and sang at any opportunity; and never forgot where he came from.

He greeted every one of us at the office with the same warmth, generous spirit, and wicked sense of humor—flashing that million-dollar smile that had made friends, won over colleagues, and closed deals with his customers. You could see in his sparkling eyes that he was ready to tell or hear a good joke, turn a few dance steps with the women in the office, or belt out one of the oldies he was so fond of.

He was a hardworking man who didn’t live to work but worked to live a remarkably full life–which for a time he generously shared with us here at Dakim. He was the most wonderful and unique “regular guys” you could ever imagine. He inspired us, and we will all miss him more than we can say.

August 25, 2011

My Summer Vacation, Part 2: A Tour Guide, a Road Map, and a Master Plan For Coping With Memory Loss

Written by: Tina Harris Bergman

If you read my last blog, you know my husband, Mike, and I had made our way from Los Angeles to Sedona, Arizona, for a much-needed vacation.

Road sign for Sedona, Arizona, showing population and founding yearDespite getting off to a bit of a shaky start, we rebounded rather nicely. We enjoyed relaxing by the pool while catching up on our summer reading. We noshed and napped at our leisure, and each day we ventured out to explore the high desert and the magic of Red Rock Country. Life was, in a word, sweet.

I confess that en route to our destination, I’d had some serious misgivings about our relationship surviving this trip. Away from the familiarity of his “home turf,” Mike’s struggle with short-term memory loss was clearly amplified. So, for my own sanity and to help him feel more comfortable in our new surroundings, I came up with a game plan before we even crossed the threshold of our home away from home. It was an ingenious stratagem, if I do say so myself!

(more…)

August 16, 2011

A Virtual Classroom Serves Up Big Wins

Written by: Linda Milne

It was April 15th when I last reported about the memory impairments I experience from myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrom (ME/CFS). My symptoms, though not dementia (but ya coulda fooled me!), have left their mark on my thinking and caused me to doubt my ability to learn.

At that time I had been doing brain fitness in earnest for one year, but I still had a couple of basic questions:

Could these workouts help me recover some of my past knowledge?
And, even more important to me, could I learn new ideas and skills?

I wanted those answers., but even so, I knew I had to prepare myself for possible bad news.

I began this inquiry in earnest when I discovered a self-help course created specifically for people with ME/CFS. The 7-step online program was helping some people, to some degree, so I took the leap.

(more…)

August 10, 2011

My Summer Vacation, Part 1: It’s the Journey, Not the Destination, That’s Important,…Right?

Written by: Tina Harris Bergman

There’s nothing quite like a summer vacation! Getting out of town is a great opportunity to step away from day-to-day living and see the world from a new perspective.

Travel is also the stuff of which memories are made, but we had no idea how much a trip away from home would also reveal about my husband’s continuing memory loss.

Two weeks ago, Mike and I packed our car and headed to Sedona, Arizona. Road map in hand, we put the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles behind us. We looked forward to seeing more natural scenery, and, as we moved across the Mojave Desert, we weren’t disappointed.

(more…)

August 5, 2011

Like Mary Freakin’ Tyler Moore!

Written by: Sarah Hersack

Just one more thing about that “feeling pretty” business…

When I was just starting out in the working world, one of my paychecks, probably in its entirety, went to buying myself a new leather coat—my first. And, as new clothing is known to do for girls in their 20s, it indeed put a fresh bounce in my step as I headed off for work.

I had built an entire “outfit” (or, as my brother used to call each of my ensembles: a “costume”) from head to toe that played off this hip-length, caramel-colored, creamy smooth, fabulous-fitting jacket di tutti jackets. Yes, I was feeling fine and inviting any and all admiration as I stood there waiting for my bus.

Now, I lived in the Northwest at the time, and as any self-respecting Seattleite knows, you do not even go out on the porch in a jacket such as mine without first Scotchgarding it to within an inch of its life. And that was the case on this particular morning, so when I felt a little rain, I thought nothing of it, and it did nothing to dampen my feeling of elation. I was in the right mood to notice people were noticing me,…and they were,…and I was loving it!

In my jubilation (do you remember how a new piece of clothing could make you feel that good!?), when I got to work I swung in through the doors like Mary freakin’ Tyler Moore! I immediately began, like a heat-seeking missile, to hunt down the guy that I currently had a crush on. As I hurried along, in all my glory, I paused only once, to glance at my image in a mirror that I passed. I fully expected confirmation of a perfect picture.

What I saw, however, stopped me cold.

(more…)