Theater & Radio Producer
To reduce the impact of dementia, we need to involve those living with dementia in co-creating enjoyable creative ageing projects
Karen works with people living with dementia and their carers developing reminiscence theatre and radio broadcasts. She has a special interest in Lewy Body Disease (LBD) and is co-founder and director of Lewy Body Ireland.
Kevin Quaid - author of 'Lewy Body Dementia, Survival and Me' and 'I am KEVIN! not Lewy'
Words of Strength
Sparking Memories – Sharing Stories
To improve brain health, Karen believes we need to involve and include those living with all forms of dementia and their care partners to share their stories as the true experts living with these conditions. We need to start a conversation that dementia is not just about Alzheimer's Disease and older people, and memory loss is not the only factor to consider.
Karen is sharing the stories of those living with different neurodegenerative diseases on radio and in theater. She founded 'Making Hay' dementia-inclusive theater in 2017 and has produced and directed three co-created plays from intergenerational workshops. Her mission as director of Lewy Body Ireland is to raise the profile of this disease and build community for the estimated 10,000 living in Ireland with Lewy Body Disease.
As an Atlantic Fellow working during a pandemic, Karen wants to connect with the Lewy Body Community around the world, sharing their stories and raising awareness of this complex disease. She is passionate about starting a conversation that Alzheimer's Disease is not the only form of dementia and that younger people are also affected.
64,000 people in Ireland are living with dementia and half a million families are affected. Lewy Body Disease affects almost 10,000 people who are currently without support and turn to the UK and USA for help. Her aim is to create the first and only charity in Ireland specifically for people in Ireland and their carepartners living with LBD.
Education & Experience
Karen is a self-employed entrepreneur. She has worked as a brand manager, marketing manager, and sales manager with BWG Foods before opening her own SPAR shop in Dublin. She has been operating a successful retail and training consultancy since 2001. Her interest in dementia was sparked when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012. As a founder member of the Forget-Me-Nots choir, she witnessed the power of dementia-inclusive creative aging. She returned to college to attain a BA (Hons) Drama and founded “Making Hay Theatre” in 2017 and has co-created three plays through dementia-inclusive inter-generational workshops; “We Were All Young Once” (2017), “A Play with ME in it” (2018), and “The Lost in Time Bookshop” (2020). She is currently a presenter, researcher, and producer of “Reminiscence on the Radio” a dementia-inclusive weekly series on Near FM. “Reminiscence on the Radio” is a weekly series on Near FM Community Radio which features songs, stories, news items, and soundtracks and invites Karen’s guests to share their special poems on air. Making Hay Theatre is an intergenerational theatre group which meets in-person and virtually to co-create new dementia-inclusive plays. Three new plays “We Were All Young Once,” “A Play with ME in it,” and “The Lost in Time Bookshop” have already been produced and performed to a dementia-inclusive audience. She also has Dip Marketing and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Radio Training.
Awards & Honors
'Atlantic, Pacific and Beyond' is a new series, featuring the wider Atlantic Fellows community, which explores not just equity in brain health but also global social, racial, health and economic equity.
‘Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration’ gets under the dementia umbrella to discuss the hallmarks of different neurodegenerative diseases with a sprinkling of music and poetry.
In the 'Voyage Around My Brain' series Karen meets dementia experts to discuss Brain Health.
'Reminiscence on the Radio' features Karen talking with poets, writers and singers, including people living with dementia and caregivers - the point is nobody could tell the difference, stories are all stories on the radio.
Atlantic, Pacific and Beyond: Cindy Weinstein, Adolfo Garcia and Kuri Tituana
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Wendy Weidner, Rachel Thompson, Ken Greaney and David McNair
Communicating the Message of Brain Health
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Iracema Leroi, JP Connolly, David Loughrey and Ronald Cartin
Sensory Cognitive Health (Visual & Hearing Impairment)
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Mike Hanrahan, Roman Romero Ortuno, Dana Walrath and Magda Kaczmarska
Vascular Dementia and The Arts in Dementia Care
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Tim Lynch, Suzanne Timmons, Richelle Flanagan and Olwyn Lyons
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Simon Murphy, Jonathan Rohrer, Martina Cloak and Nahuel Magrath Guimet
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Gareth O'Callaghan, Paula O’Callaghan, Bruce Miller and Jake Broder
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Barbara Brennan, Virginia Sturm, Marc Bennett and Carlos Chechetti
Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Kathleen Quinlan, Craig Ritchie, Órla Horn and Shane Cassidy
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Gary Christopher, Sean Mackell, Seán Dónal O’Shea and Clodagh Whelan
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration:
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Ian McKeith, Kevin Quaid, Helena Quaid and Tylor Norwood
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration:
Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration: Iracema Leroi, Christine Maddocks, Peter Owens, Jacqui Cannon
Lewy Body Disorders
Voyage Around My Brain: Jane Ohlmeyer, Ian Robertson, Marina Lynch and Mani Ramaswami
GBHI in Trinity College
Voyage Around My Brain: Tomás León, Lidija Radacic and Luciano Mariano
Brain Health and Dementia in South America
Voyage Around My Brain: Ian Robertson, Helen Rochford-Brennan, Pat McLoughlin and Caitriona Doyle
The Importance of Confidence in Brain Health
Voyage Around My Brain: Lea Grinberg, Ronán Conroy, Geraldine Finlay and Michael Murphy
Sleep, Insomnia and Hearing Loss—Links to Dementia
Voyage Around My Brain: Peter Owens, Maureen Penrose, Nancy Dempsey and Veronica Forsgren
Voyage Around My Brain
Voyage Around My Brain: Wambui Karanja, Primrose Nyamayaro and Funmi Akindejoye
How is Brain Health Managed in Africa?
Voyage Around My Brain: Magda Kaczmarska and Peggy Finn
The Importance of Dance and Movement for Brain Health
Voyage Around My Brain: Dominic Campbell and Norah Walsh
Community Engagement in Dementia Care
Voyage Around My Brain: Rose Henderson and Roman Romero-Ortuno
Memory and Memories in Dementia Care
Voyage Around My Brain: Bruce Miller and Frances Elliott
Emotions in Brain Health
Voyage Around My Brain: Sarah Fox, Susanne Roehr, Berenice Werle and Francesca Farina
What is Brain Health?
Voyage Around My Brain: Phil Coffey, Paul Coffey, Niamh Coffey and Grainne Hope
The Importance of Music in Dementia Care
Voyage Around My Brain: Hanan Khalil, Marianna Flood and Pat Flood
Voyage Around My Brain: Dominic Trepel and Nora Owen
The Importance of Health Economics and the Impact of Brain Health
Voyage Around My Brain: Adolfo Garcia and Kate Murphy
What happens in our brain when we lose one language and start to speak in another?
Voyage Around My Brain: Brian Lawlor and Mary Whelan
Hope after Dementia Diagnosis
Voyage Around My Brain: Canice Kelly, Lizanne Kelly and Nicky Taylor
The Importance of Theatre in Dementia Care
Voyage Around My Brain: John Gore-Grimes, Kate Byrne and Francesca Farina
Living with Dementia
Reminiscence on the Radio
Reminiscence on the Radio
Have ideas for global brain health or a collaboration? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send an introductory note.