It’s been seven years already since the Presence Care Project was born. It’s been a wonderful journey from taking what was at first just an idea, to making it into the Mindfulness-Based Dementia Care (MBDC), a national program that has been taught and shared with thousands of families and care partners. Along the way, I had the great privilege of meeting two very special women, Laura Rice-Oeschger, and Ymkje Dioquino, and I am now thrilled to turn the leadership of the Presence Care Project over to them.
Laura Rice-Oeschger, LMSW, is taking over as Chief Executive Officer of the Presence Care Project, after four years as Program Director and Lead Teacher. Laura has worked in dementia care since 1996 in a variety of capacities. She was the first Director of the University of Michigan Geriatrics Center Silver Club Memory Loss Programs prior to moving to California in 2000. During her tenure with the Alzheimer’s Association of Los Angeles, she was clinical manager of early memory loss services and the grant funded Early Stage Initiative. The initiative designed, launched and evaluated new community based “Memory Clubs” in the Los Angeles region for adults with mild memory loss and their care partners. Laura currently leads the Wellness Initiative for the University of Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center (MADC) where she designs, implements and evaluates well-being and mindfulness-based programming. She continues as a program consultant to the UM Silver Clubs and facilitates the weekly Coffeehouse Mild Memory Loss Wellness Seminar series. Laura holds advanced professional certifications in aging, dementia and contemplative clinical care. As a long-time meditator she began teaching mindfulness meditation in 2010 and has extensive professional training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Dementia Care (MBDC). Laura is a national and state presenter on memory loss and caregiver well-being.
Ymkje Dioquino, MS, LMFT is joining Laura as Chief Operating Officer of the Presence Care Project. She is a Family Care Therapist at the Ray Dolby Brain Health Center in San Francisco, where she provides psycho-therapeutic services and support to persons with dementia and their families and friends. She has practiced mindfulness since age 19 and started teaching Mindfulness-Based Dementia Care (MBDC) in 2014. Ymkje is passionate about the program after seeing how impactful it is in helping care partners navigate the profoundly painful challenges inherent in the dementia process. Moving from a place of helplessness and hyper-vigilance to a place of hope, strength and growth, these care partners in turn positively influence their loved one with their enhanced wellness, presence, and attunement. Ymkje presents on various dementia and caregiver related topics, including MBDC. She holds her Master’s degree in Clinical and Health Psychology from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, where she lived until 1996, before moving to the United States.
I will continue to be involved with Presence Care Project as a Board member and advisor to Laura and Ymkje. Please join me in welcoming both Laura and Ymkje in their new roles with Presence Care Project.
With much loving kindness and gratitude,