This site is dedicated to my maternal Grandmother and Aunt, both of whom were diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer's Disease. Growing up in a family with this reality inspired me, at a young age, to work toward improving care and support for other families facing this challenge.
Sailing is a passion for my family. Sailing on the West Branch of the Westport River in wooden boats was a daily experience in the summer for both my Grandmother and Aunt, and continues to be a devotion for my extended family.
The name "Tacking Upwind" was chosen to honor this shared passion and family history as well as to illustrate the difficulty families face while navigating the course of this terrible disease. On the river, you must battle the tide as well as the wind intensity and direction, while avoiding rocks and shoals. Sometimes these obstacles are obvious, other times they are hidden.
Sailing upwind, you must tack, or change direction frequently, in order to reach your destination. The wind is sometimes unpredictable and quick decisions must be made to avoid running aground, unexpectedly jibing or capsizing, putting your boat in danger. This is much like the experience of charting a course through this disease - unpredictable, stressful and at times downright intimidating.
This site is intended to be a landing space for those families. In my blog below, I will share some of our experiences as a family and welcome you to share yours. Perhaps together we can make the voyage a little less choppy.
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Dr. Pilcher was awarded her doctoral degree in Gerontology from the University of Massachusetts in Boston in 2005. Her professional experience has focused primarily on care and housing arrangements for elders with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, including policy and fundraising work for the Alzheimer’s Association of Eastern Massachusetts, the Alzheimer’s Association of Utah and the Massachusetts Association of Older Americans.
For seven years, Dr. Pilcher was affiliated with Hearthstone Alzheimer Care Assisted Living programs in Massachusetts and New York, where she held a number of management positions.
For 8 years, Dr. Pilcher worked both as a Care Manager and as the Director of Operations for AZA Care Management of Boston, MA.
In 2010, Dr. Pilcher joined Overlook CARE, a non-profit Care Management practice in Greater Boston, as the Clinical Director. In 2016, she was promoted to the position of Senior Executive Director of Care Management and Private Care.
In 2018, Dr. Pilcher founded Clear Guidance, LLC in order to return to her passion of working directly with clients and their families. Clear Guidance is a care management and consulting practice that specializes in working with clients and families challenged with dementia, especially atypical and young-onset dementias.
Dr. Pilcher also presently serves as President of the New England Association of Aging Life Care and is the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Aging Life Care.