-why I do this work-
"This work feeds my spirit"
Growing up in a remote area of the Pacific Northwest had a significant influence in my life. We did not have electricity or running water, and we had very few visitors in our remote location.
My mother, a nurse, worked at the only hospital in the county which provided all the services many rural hospitals do: an ER, labor and delivery, nursing home and hospice.
The highlight of my week was going to work with her, as it was my opportunity to visit with the nursing home residents, my friends. There were many hours spent watching television, brushing and braiding hair, playing with dolls.
These early years of exposure to dementia, death and dying and complications that can come with aging influenced my life dramatically.
The nurses modeled compassionate, loving care to the residents that lived there and I was able to witness the tenderness and importance of supporting and respecting our elders.
Most of the residents there had some form of dementia. I received a beautiful gift from them, the gift of seeing through the memory impairment and joining their world, a world that still experienced laughter, creativity and connection.
While I would never imagine at that age that this experience would have such a direct impact on my life's work, I always felt a deep respect for our elders and the mystery of the life cycle. This work feeds my spirit every day.
RESPECTED, EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONAL
Laura Vaillancourt, MA, LMHC, GMHS
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Geriatric Mental Health Specialist
Laura began her private practice in 2012 after working several years in hospital, skilled nursing facility and dementia unit settings. She quickly recognized a need in the community for guidance when navigating difficult decisions in the world of aging.
She has extensive experience as a consultant, coach and providing counseling and care management to families that are in the midst of making difficult decisions related to their loved one’s care and health transitions.
Laura specializes in supporting individuals and family members in areas related to:
Dementia and memory impairment
Changes in family roles
Difficult decision making
Family care giving
Coping with new diagnoses
Medically related complications
Challenging and difficult behaviors
Choosing new living situations
Her passion and much of her experience has been working with individuals and family members that have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Laura is a passionate speaker and educator about many aging related topics. She has been a contracted provider with the South Sound Alzheimer’s Council, Washington State Home and Community Services, Area Agency on Aging’s Family Caregiver Support Program, and WA State Dept of Labor and Industries. She has participated as a clinician in NYU’s Family Caregiver Study, and educates physicians in residency at Providence St Peter's Hospital for their geriatric rotation. She was nominated by her community and peers for the 2019 Dennis Mahar Memorial Community Caregiver Award, an award that exemplifies community service and outstanding leadership in the South Sound community. Laura continues to participate in creative endeavors that better the lives of older adults and their families.