A conversation with Dr Heather Sandison

Why did we create Marama? I created Marama because I know that Alzheimer’s is optional. Most people can reverse their cognitive decline. What I was seeing clinically, was that those who weren’t able to reverse their decline just weren’t able to implement the program at home. 

Oftentimes it’s a daughter who brings a parent to the clinic or calls Marama looking for support. I can relate to the daughters who are raising their young children. They have full-time jobs, and then they’re also wanting the best for their ailing parent. Unfortunately, they just don’t have the capacity to change their parent’s diet, encourage them to exercise, and to change out the toxic things that might be in their home. 

When I thought about how we could get the maximum out of the Bredesen protocol to really get  the benefits I realized we had to make it easier. That was why I created this immersive experience called Marama.

I am inspired to bring this protocol to as many people as possible. As a society, we can do better. Our elders are at the height of their wisdom and experience. They have so much to give. And if we park them in front of TVs and feed them cereal and sandwiches and cake and cookies, we are doing them a massive disservice. And we are also squandering a very, very valuable resource.

So, I’m excited that as Marama grows, as the Bredesen Protocol grows—as we change this narrative about what’s possible—that we will bring those seniors back into society. They will start to contribute to their families and their communities until the very end of their lives. 

I’ve created Marama because it’s the type of place I would be thrilled to have my parents living in. It’s the type of place where I wouldn’t mind living!

So, the goals for this blog are to describe the Marama experience. I also hope that you will take away things that you can do today at home.

Marama is in San Diego—and not everyone can make it here. And the most common question we get is, is there a Marama in my city? I don’t want my mom or dad to move across the country. I want them down the street or in my home.

I can completely understand wanting your loved one nearby. 

And yet, you know, there’s so many things that are totally accessible to you at home today. Below are a lot of those pieces so that even if you can’t make it to Marama, what we hope is that you can incorporate a lot of these great things at home.

What Marama Offers

Marama is a residential care facility for the elderly. This is licensed by the state of California. So we follow a set of standards that is created by the state.

Of course, our standards are higher than the state’s, where we have LPAs or analysts that are employees of the state who will come and check on us and perform unannounced inspections. They are looking to make sure there’s not an infestation of insects or the people are not being treated poorly. Our standards are much much higher than this, but we appreciate that. They are really looking out for the most vulnerable among us.

We are licensed as a 12-bed residential facility.

So just to be clear, I do have a clinic Solcere where we do the medical side of things, and then at Marama, what we do is the residential part. So this is the implementation of your doctor’s orders—whether it’s a medically prescribed diet, the supplements, medications—we help make sure all of that is implemented at Marama.

We don’t write any prescriptions at Marama. We don’t have nurses or doctors on staff. Day-to-day, there are caregivers that help to care for all of our amazing residents. We can take care of the hard part of what your doctor has asked you to do at home.

The Four Pillars of Marama’s Alzheimer’s reversal approach

On this blog, we’ll go through the four pillars of the Marama experience. They are: 

Stay tuned!

— Dr. Heather Sandison

For Disability Assistance Call

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