The I’m Still Here Foundation was founded in 1996 by Dr. John Zeisel to promote and support the I’m Still Here principles for persons living with dementia (PLWD), a non-pharmacological approach to the care and treatment of memory loss and dementia. As founder and owner of Hearthstone Alzheimer’s Care for many years, John designed and implemented a carefully planned and managed environment for PLWD that led to lower rates of anxiety, aggression, and apathy, less dependence on medication, and fostered engagement and involvement by families and caregivers. Dr. Zeisel’s book, I’m Still Here: a New Philosophy of Alzheimer’s Care, published in 2009, established this paradigm-shifting approach in how dementia is viewed and treated. Several of the Foundation’s programs are described in the book, which also establishes the scientific and practical basis for the I’m Still Here approach. The broad reach of the book – with sales in the tens of thousands – is convincing evidence of the power of the I’m Still Here principles.
The Foundation fosters use of the visual arts and cultural events throughout communities and in care facilities to support persons living with dementia to remain engaged and fulfilled and to help caregivers maintain meaningful relationships. The Foundation is well known for its influential Artists for Alzheimer’s (ARTZ) programs which have served thousands of Persons Living With Dementia. These include the Meet Me at the Museum program, first implemented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and adopted by museums world-wide since its inception in 2001. The parallel Meet Me at the Movies program, launched in Boston years later, has been adopted by organizations in Seattle as well as Paris (France) and many others. The Foundation’s reach is thus both national and international. It Takes a Village, a more recent Foundation program, was originally piloted in Brookline, Massachusetts, and is the basis for a vibrant monthly and weekly citywide program for PLWD in Seattle called Momentia.
In 2020, the Foundation turned its attention to helping communities, organizations and care facilities to develop and implement these and other innovative life-giving programs to Persons Living with Dementia. Our grants provide seed funds to launch programs that utilize the I’m Still Here principles.
DR. JOHN ZEISEL
Dr. John Zeisel is Founder and Board Member of the I’m Still Here Foundation, which is committed to advancing nonpharmacological (eco-psycho-social) methods and interventions for persons living with dementia. His groundbreaking book I’m Still Here: A new philosophy of Alzheimer’s care, Penguin/Avery Books (2010), available in several languages (including Chinese in 2021), identifies the 10 Principles of ‘I’m Still Here’. The book describes neuroscientific evidence for this approach along with the major underlying social shift necessary for its acceptance. This shift requires replacing the public narrative of Despair with that of Hope – the acknowledgment that each of us can make a positive difference in the wellbeing of persons with dementia by the way we communicate, engage and relate to those living with this condition.
John received his PhD in Sociology from Columbia University, a Loeb Fellowship from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and an Honorary Doctorate from Salford University. He has served on the faculty at Yale University, McGill University, Harvard Architecture School, University of Minnesota, and Salford University in the U.K., as well as the Sorbonne University in Paris. His environment-behavior (E-B) research methodology textbook Inquiry by Design: Environment / Behavior / Neuroscience in Architecture, Interiors, Landscape, & Planning (W. W. Norton, 2006) is widely used in university courses.
John’s work has received numerous awards and citations from prestigious organizations, including Progressive Architecture, National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities, American Institute of Architects, National Association of Home Builders, and the Environmental Design Research Association’s Career Award. John has served on the Board of Directors of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture, and is presently on the Boards of the Kim & Glen Campbell Foundation, whose mission is Music as Medicine, and of Abe’s Garden in Nashville, TN.
Articles by and about Dr. Zeisel have appeared in the Times of London, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, The Gerontologist, Harvard Magazine, O: Oprah Magazine, Landscape Architecture, Retirement Housing Reporter, the Wall Street Journal, Banker and Tradesman, AARP Bulletin, Progressive Architecture, Contract magazine, the NAHB News, Professional Builder, and Generations.