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.
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.
‘Talkin’ About Neurodegeneration’ is a new series which gets under the dementia umbrella to discuss the hallmarks of different neurodegenerative diseases with a sprinkling of music and poetry.
'Voyage Around My Brain' is a new series where Karen Meenan 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.