Seeking Positive Pathways

Carol Waarala, MSW, LMSW, Certified Specialist in Aging & Dementia

About Carol


Carol is a retired medical social worker with a Master of Social Work degree and a Gerontology Specialist in Aging Certification (1998) from the University of Michigan. While at U of M, she was part of a research team that studied solution-focused approaches to “problematic behavior” for persons with dementia in nursing homes. Their project was presented at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in November 1998 and published in the journal Social Work in 2003.

She credits many of her end-stage dementia patients with being her best teachers. Carol has also had hands-on experience as a family caregiver for her father who had Alzheimer’s and Vascular dementia for 20 years.

As a hospice social worker and dementia speaker from 1998 to 2014, Carol has spoken to families, professional caregivers, and at conferences throughout the state about Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. She received certification in Dementia Care from The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Carol developed a faith-based dementia educational series to help create dementia-friendly churches. Between January 2014 and June 2016, Carol delivered 40 different educational presentations on Alzheimer’s and dementia at churches in the Metro Detroit area (Macomb County, Northwest Wayne County, and Downriver community) with over 5,000 attendees.

Her knowledge of dementia, many tips for supporting positive approaches to care, insight into family dynamics related to dementia, and personal stories are blended into all her enlightening presentations. Audience members continually express their deep appreciation of the information they receive and leave feeling they have new resources to use in their personal journey with dementia.

Carol believes, “Until we find a cure for this disease, education and information are the best tools for creating a better understanding of all types of dementia and discovering ways of improving care for persons living with dementia and their families.”

Downloadable Speaker Information Kit