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I Know You by Heart: a book on dementia care authored by former PHS leader

Angie Swetland author of I Know You by Heart: Navigating the Dementia Journey
Images courtesy of Crestingwave Publishing
Attendees at the 2020 DOVE Symposium, focusing on PHS’s signature memory care program, were delighted to meet Angie Swetland, former PHS Corporate Director of Customer Relations. Angie introduced her new book, “I Know You by Heart: Navigating the Dementia Journey,” which was released this past summer.
Angie joined PHS in 1996, serving in a variety of roles until she retired in 2014. In the years between, Angie came to be considered an expert on dementia care. She helped instill across PHS a profound understanding of the ministry of memory care and was part of the multi-disciplinary team that developed and implemented DOVE, the PHS dementia training and certification program launched in the late 1990s.  She said, “Early in my career I found myself drawn to those living with dementia and working with the DOVE program was one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.” She shepherded DOVE into the PHS communities and introduced it to state and national audiences through LeadingAge and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Her book, “I Know You by Heart,” is a collection of stories and resources for those living with dementia and the persons caring for them. She writes from her professional and personal experience, including caring for her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. She wants those who read it to remember two essential truths. The first is that the body may fail, and the mind may wander, but the spirit – the person inside – remains intact. The second is that caregivers are not alone; many have gone before, and others are walking the same road today.

Copies of her book were given to attendees of the DOVE Symposium. Angie told the group that she included many stories from PHS saying, “These are stories you will recognize. You will see someone that you’ve worked with and served.” She went on to commend their work saying, “All of you have two things working for you. One is that you have a God-given talent to work with people who have dementia. The other is you have the training. With the talent and the training together, you’re able to lift up the people you work with to help them live their best lives.”

After graduating from Luther College with a degree in Sociology and Religion, Angie’s first job was as an Activity Director in a small-town nursing home. Over her 40+ year career, she earned a reputation for being generous with her time and experience. She was a member of the task force that conceived and developed the Housing with Services Contract Act, a concept based on a senior’s right and ability to make their own choices that still stands as a unique model in the country.

Angie served on Aging Services’ Housing Leadership Council and was one of the creators – and original champions – of the groundbreaking Confident Choices in Senior Living quality program. She has served on numerous Minnesota boards, committees, cabinets and task forces. In 2014, Angie received the Lifetime Achievement Award from LeadingAge Minnesota for her visionary leadership, impact on older adult services and inspiration to others. Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors of Our Lady of Peace Hospice and Home and facilitates a Dementia Caregiver Support Group at Easter Lutheran Church.

Angie’s remarkable knowledge and skill, deep faith and big heart continue to cast her as a valued mentor to many at PHS and her expertise is recognized across our industry. We’re proud to call Angie one of our own.

Find “I Know You By Heart,” at Crestingwave Publications.

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