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About Us

Karen Stobbe

Karen Stobbe-Carter

Chief Purpose Officer

Karen was working as an actress, director, writer and instructor of theatre when her Dad, Manfred was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her life has taken on a new focus and new meaning in combining the knowledge of her two worlds into one life work.

Karen was the co-writer with Sonya Barsness of all the scripts and content for the Hand in Hand Training Toolkit produced by CMS and distributed to every nursing home on the country. She has also worked on curriculum for the National Alzheimer’s Association. as well as the Eden Alternative. 

Karen was the Director of Education for Pioneer Network and the Chair for the Annual Conference for 6 years.

Karen has presented over 700 workshops, keynotes and performances. She has written a book, has a training DVD, been on NPR’s This American Life and recently presented at the International TED MED Conference.

Mondy Carter

Chief of Creative Chaos

Mondy is a very lucky guy. Improv performer, actor and writer he gets to actually make a living doing those things. Of course it would be impossible without his wife Karen. Not only impossible but also infinitely less gratifying. One of his regular gigs is performing in the two person show he and Karen have called : Sometimes Ya Gotta Laugh. It’s a show about Alzheimer’s, caregiving, and the necessity of keeping your sense of humor. He and Karen have performed all over the country and Canada. Now they have been presenting many other talks that are entertaining as well as entertaining. 

Mondy was actually the main caregiver for his wife Karen’s Mom, Virginia when she lived with them for 10 years. He is a very patient person. Mondy is also talented in directing, filming, and editing videos  and creating animation.

Sonya Barsness

Sonya Barsness

Revisionary Gerontologist

I have been working in aging for almost 20 years. Well, technically, it is longer than that as I started working in aging when I was 11. I was a volunteer for a community friendly visitor program in which I visited community elders at least once a week for companionship, light chores, etc.
I always knew I would be working with elders. My undergraduate degree is in Psychology with minors in Gerontology and Biology. My Masters Degree is in Gerontology.

People ask me, “What got you interested in this field?” I think it is because I grew up with my grandparents living with us. Aging was always a normal part of life to me. My passion in aging is changing the culture of aging. Aging is living. Yet, it is often seen as something else- as negative and somewhat useless. We are scared of aging in our society and thus we ignore it. The reality is that we are all aging and we have to find a better way of coping with this! 

I am a proponent of “positive gerontology”. Just like the field of psychology has evolved to recognize the importance of focusing on individuals’ strengths rather than weaknesses, the field of gerontology also must go in that direction. Certainly as we age there are challenges we experience that impact how we are living. For some these challenges are quite significant, like for individuals living with dementiaBut there are also opportunities and gifts in aging. When we focus more on the things that are important to us, including our strengths, and obtain supports to fortify our weaknesses, we can live meaningfully for all our years. 
Check out Sonya’s blog: beingheard.blog/author/sabarsness/