A Magazine Designed for People With Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias
Blazing through a magazine or newspaper is an activity most of us take for granted. However, someone with cognitive impairment may have difficulty devouring content. Deciphering small print and graphics is challenging, and words on a glossy page can suddenly become incomprehensible.
Before she had Alzheimer’s disease, my mother relished being the first to handle the morning newspaper, and getting her hands on a good magazine was a treat she enjoyed. But as her disease progressed, she lost interest.
Nikki Jardin, a co-founder and publisher of Mirador Magazine, had a similar experience. Her aunt, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, stopped reading magazines but continued to cart them around. Jardin couldn’t help but notice that her aunt flipped through the pages without focusing on the images.
“I started looking for magazines designed for people with Alzheimer’s. Finding none, I went looking for books and found a few chapter books, but that wasn’t really her style,” Jardin recently told me in an online interview.
“Everything else was either puzzle books or picture books, and that just wasn’t where my aunt was at,” she added. “I wanted to find a fun, age-appropriate, general-interest publication that was just a little easier to read. I didn’t find any. So, having a writing background, I wanted to create one.”
Co-founder and managing art director Tavé Drake described Mirador as a “digital and print publication for the enjoyment of people experiencing brain change from Alzheimer’s, dementia-related conditions, traumatic brain injury (including concussion) as well as care partners, family members, and friends looking to make connections and share meaningful moments reading, chatting about a variety of topics, and doing fun activities with their loved ones.”
The first issue of Mirador was published in June 2021, about four years after Jardin’s aunt was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The sixth issue will be published in September.
“Nikki had the initial idea, and we began building up from there — doing research into the brain, but also looking at how we can each use more ways to connect with ourselves, the world around, and others cross-generationally in a positive, carefree way,” Drake said. “Nikki did the first mock-up in 2018, and by 2020 we had a full-blown prototype complete in addition to online content to supplement and augment.”
A positive response
The Alzheimer’s community responded positively to Mirador, and industry professionals provided immediate feedback. It’s also exciting to note that a professional freelance writer diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease several years ago is still writing and is a valued contributor to the magazine.
In addition to well-known advocates for people with dementia and their caregivers, family members of loved ones with the disease sing the magazine’s praises, Jardin said.
“We’ve had family members call or write to us and tell us how much Mirador is helping their mom or their husband or their neighbor. We hear how much the short stories are appreciated, and how people really just enjoy looking through it,” Jardin added.
“One subscriber’s sister flips through it almost daily and continues to find it engaging each time she looks at it. Another man, who had shown Mirador to his mother, was surprised she could still read. She started reading out loud from one of the stories and was delighted with the process,” Jardin said.
Mirador is not just a magazine for people with dementia and caregivers, though. Because of its formatting, coloring, content, and presentation, autistic people and those with sensitivity issues or autoimmune diseases are also finding the magazine beneficial.
The magazine isn’t for a single, specific audience, and its look and feel don’t scream “dementia” or “Alzheimer’s disease,” which is essential because there’s a stigma associated with cognitive impairment, and many who are diagnosed can feel shame.
The small, woman-owned company publishes independently, and Mirador Magazine is still in its infancy, but growing. Subscribers total just under 1,000 and are located in the U.S., U.K, and Canada. Single copies have even made their way down under to Australia.
You can check out Mirador Magazine and find more information at its website, linked above.
Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.