Memory Care Cruise

By on Jan 26, 2018 in News

This fall, aboard Holland America’s MS Eurdam, caregivers and seniors suffering from dementia and their families will set sail to cruise the Alaskan coastline while learn moreing about the disease. The brainchild of Lisa Maria Chirico, CEO founder of Nursinghomeology, the event is designed to “inspire and empower caregivers and their families.”

First-Hand Experienc

Chirico herself is no stranger to the challenges facing caregivers and family members, having had to care for her father who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Kathy Shoaf, RN, BSN, ATP and the owner of Elite Cruises and Vacations, will be co-hosting the event with Chirico. Shoaf has 25 years of experience in senior care management. A specialist in accessibility travel and geriatric neurology, Shoaf also served as inspiration for the cruise.

“The idea for a dementia-friendly cruise grew out of Kathy Shoaf’s senior-friendly, ‘bucket list’ cruises,” Chirico told McKnight’s Senior Living in a recent interview. “Taking the idea to another level, Kathy began seeking out senior care professionals and former caregivers turned dementia coaches and consultants — like me — to co-host a cruise.”

Communication and Commiseration

Boasting an esteemed lineup of senior care practitioners and professionals, attendees will be able to participate in workshops, attend sessions and – most importantly – mingle with others professionals and family members experiencing similar challenges.

Featuring Brian Kursonis, Founder and President of and blogger at, the cruise will also include talks from dieticians, physicians and dementia care educators. AlzAuthors group plans to host a Book Circle, and there will also be a screening and panel discussion of the film Do You Know Me Now?, recently awarded the Silver Remi Award from the Worldfest Houston International Film Festival.

Chirico planned the event in order to provide professional caregivers, residents of assisted living and memory care communities and their families an opportunity to learn about the latest developments in dementia care while also providing a forum for discussion and commiseration. Trained support staff will be available on board for attendees in need of additional assistance, with many available for hire as well.

Ultimately, Chirico hopes attendees will get the chance to “share many of the same joys and sorrows,” adding, “there is the chance to build new friendships.”

The Beginning of a Trend

While the idea of an “Alzheimer’s Cruise” seem unusual, Chirico previously hosted a similar event and plans to continue the cruises in 2019 as well. In a statement about this year’s event, Chirico said, “Like others of my generation, I left the workforce to become a full-time caregiver, and experienced a lot of challenges during those five years.

“Now, I am focused on helping family caregivers discover their journey in a whole new way.”