Dementia Spotlight Foundation envisions a world that does not fear dementia and fully embraces the rights and needs of individuals and families living with dementia. We aim to raise awareness about dementia with the goal of helping people and communities to better understand it.
Dementia Spotlight Foundation is dedicated to supporting lives through advocacy, the arts, and dementia education. We are committed to educating both family and professional caregivers about dementia-related diseases and enhancing the supports and standards of care needed. There are over 120 medical diagnoses leading to symptoms of dementia & the journey of dementia differs for each person depending on age, health, and the type of dementia diagnosis.
Due to the complexity of dementia and the stigmas and fears associated with it, there is still an extreme lack of funding, education, and resources available for individuals and caregivers who need them. While research is thriving and we all hope for a cure, the fact remains: 5.4 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. With a focus on LIFE before loss, RIGHTS before research, and CARE before cure, we support the notion that life does not end after a dementia diagnosis and not all abilities are lost. There is life AFTER diagnosis and there is a way forward. Dementia Spotlight Foundation strives to identify service needs and establish approaches to fill those gaps for those families facing a dementia diagnosis. Dementia Spotlight Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Private Operating Foundation established in 2016.
Whitney DeMarlo Oeltmann
President and Co-Founder
Following her father’s 2012 dementia diagnosis, Whitney DeMarlo Oeltmann quickly discovered there was a resounding lack of information, family resources and support offered for those living with dementia and their caregivers. She felt called to help others facing similar uncertainty and in 2016, she founded Dementia Spotlight Foundation (DSF).
Oeltmann wears many hats at DSF, serving as Co-Founder and Executive Director. She leads employees, volunteers and advocates, taking great care to ensure all programs meet the foundation’s goals of providing a “guiding light” for those looking for a path forward. Having lived the challenges of those she now serves, Oeltmann is laser-focused on raising funds to serve and improve the lives of those living with dementia, their families and caregivers. Oeltmann is committed to raising public understanding of dementia-related diseases.
In 2020, Oeltmann was invited to serve on the board of Georgia Gerontology Society for her dementia care advocacy in Georgia. She currently leads Georgia’s Dementia Friendly Initiatives workgroup within the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Collaborative (GARD) and is one of the first Dementia Friends Champions trainers in Georgia. Through a partnership with DeKalb County, Oeltmann championed a grant to help DeKalb become the first dementia friendly county in Georgia – an accomplishment she hopes to help other municipalities in the metro-area also reach – and has led Dementia Friends sessions in senior services case management, youth services, library services and adult care facilities. Beginning in March of 2021, Oeltmann will help train local law enforcement recruits in a first ever 2-hour dementia specific training.
Oeltmann lives in the Brookhaven suburb of her hometown Atlanta with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not spearheading the next initiative for Dementia Spotlight Foundation or spending time with her family, she enjoys reading, cooking and birdwatching. Oeltmann is an active participant in the community, as she is a member of the GA Center for Nonprofits as well as the Georgia Council on Aging (CO-AGE).
Sheila has spent the past 23 years working with seniors to help them obtain the services they need to age with independence and dignity. Having experienced first-hand the stress that health issues place on families, she worked with her four siblings to care for her parents who passed away within two years of each other. She also assisted her grandparents many years ago when dementia was not widely discussed and was referred to as “hardening of the arteries”.
Her passion for building relationships and helping others in their search for the right balance in aging led her to make a career change from corporate for-profit leadership after 15 years. Sheila served on the Senior Management Board leading a $30M business with 15 sales managers and over 200 employees. She then became involved in not-for-profit leadership with United Ways in Sarasota, Florida, and Tucson, AZ, as Vice President of Major Gifts and Marketing. She later moved to the position of National Million Dollar Roundtable Director for United Way of America/Worldwide, all of which required multimillion-dollar fundraising plans.
Sheila also held the position of President of a foundation and worked with a not-for-profit Senior Living and Memory Care Community as Senior Development Director, raising money to enable residents to live there after they had exhausted all their resources to pay. Additionally, she started her senior consulting business, assisting her clients with the resources needed to find the most suitable help for their situation. Empowering seniors to maintain their dignity and quality of life is a privilege, an honor, and a responsibility that she takes very seriously.
Sheila enjoys living in the Atlanta area, close to her family. She has been involved with several organizations, including Cobb Services for the Elderly, Atlanta Senior Care Network Niche, Senior Resource Alliance of North Atlanta, Atlanta Senior Business Network, and Amy’s Place/Caring Together in Hope.
Associate Executive Director
After a successful 25-year medical sales career, Alyss Amster felt called to tap her creative genius to develop helpful and artistic programs for aging seniors. In 2013, with a goal-oriented desire to serve others at the forefront of everything she does, Amster made her entry into the senior care market as a certified Zentangle instructor, teaching at Cobb Senior Wellness Center and Enrichment of Life Movement.
Amster joined the Dementia Spotlight Foundation (DSF) leadership team in 2021, assuming the role of Associate Executive Director. She will support the foundation by increasing the awareness and reach of memory cafes, a safe and comfortable space where caregivers and their loved ones can socialize, listen to music, play games and enjoy other appropriate activities. Amster will support DSF’s mission by offering educational support to the community through community outreach; collaborating with local businesses; and providing social and educational events for families, caregivers and their loved ones to remain connected within their communities.
A meaningful path of prior work brought Amster to DSF. Following her success as a Zentangle instructor, she served as the assistant director at Enrichment Life Movement, and in 2015, she purchased a ComForCare home care franchise, where she received a DementiaWise certification. This led Amster to get certifications as a Partner in Readmission Prevention and as an Alzheimer’s Educator. Amster conducted training for ComForCare caregivers on program specifics and consultations with families before she sold the franchise in 2017.
Amster’s next chapter led her to join Amy’s Place as the program director, where she was promoted to director in 2019. At Amy’s Place, Amster focused heavily on memory cafes since the organization was the first and only free-standing memory café in the US at the time. Additionally, Amster helped lead efforts to provide socialization, education and valuable connections for families, caregivers and their loved ones with dementia-related diseases.
Amster resides in Marietta, Georgia with her husband, Dave, and enjoys spending her free time catching up with her grandchildren, participating in creative crafts and working out to maintain an active lifestyle. Amster is an active member of Georgia Gerontology Society and Senior Services North Fulton Partner Program.
Gary Joseph LeBlanc
Dementia Spotlight Foundation Educational Director
As a passionate advocate and expert within the Alzheimer’s and dementia space, Gary Joseph LeBlanc brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, serving two decades as the primary caregiver for his father with Alzheimer’s and mother with vascular dementia. In 2009, after a challenging 12-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, LeBlanc’s father passed away from the disease. To fill the void of losing his parents to dementia related diseases, and to fulfill a deeply rooted longing for purpose, LeBlanc embraced his need to serve others, accrediting his “once a caregiver, always a caregiver” mentality. After founding several passion projects of his own, LeBlanc joined Dementia Spotlight Foundation (DSF) in 2018.
At DSF, LeBlanc taps his 20-plus year caregiving campaign as the foundation’s Educational Director. LeBlanc hones his expertise to curate educational conferences, host seminars, webinars and speaking events to reach audiences across the country, training police and health departments on best case practices for interactions with dementia-related encounters. He also plays a role in fundraising programs, utilizing an intimate and personalized approach to help Alzheimer’s and dementia persons and caregivers cope with the everyday challenges, hardships and emotional struggles of caring for the memory-impaired.
Previously, LeBlanc has written several books and hundreds of articles on dementia-related caregiving. He is an honored recipient of the 2016 U.S Congressional Coin and Certificate of Excellence in recognition of his invaluable service in raising dementia awareness. He is the founder of Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Project, and in 2014, LeBlanc founded Dementia Mentors, an online resource that hosts 46 memory cafes a month and features inspirational video testimonies from people living with dementia.
LeBlanc currently resides in Spring Hill, Florida. He has served as a weekly columnist of “Common Sense Caregiving” for over 12 years, which is published in the Tampa Tribune, Hernando Today, Hernando Sun, Feather Sound News and many other health publications. LeBlanc is a Dementia Communication Specialist Author of “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness,” “The Aftereffects of Caregiving”, “Managing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors” and the co-author of “While I Still Can”.
Lynn Ross, LMSW
Information & Referral Director
Caregiving has been a part of her life since childhood. At eight, Lynn Ross helped her parents care for her younger sister, who was born with a rare intestinal condition. She learned, at an early age, the importance of providing an environment of empathy for those needing help coping with a difficult situation. Not only for her sister but for her parents, as well.
In contrast to joining a helping profession, Lynn decided to pursue a different course for her career. Still, after years of working in retail selling cookies and crackers for Nabisco to a buyer of ladies’ ready-to-wear for a well-known clothing chain, she realized her heart was not satisfied.
In 1994, when offered the job of an Activity Director in a 99-bed nursing home, she thought this would be an excellent outlet for her creative side. She accepted the position, not knowing anything about what the work entailed. She fell in love with the residents and realized she needed a better understanding of dementia, not only from the resident’s perspective but also for the families. Around this time, her mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia, so learning more took on a personal objective.
Fast forward a few years, and by 2002, Lynn had been the primary care partner for her father, spouse, and mother, and for a brief time, her grandmother, who was living with Alzheimer’s dementia. Dealing with hospitals, assisted living communities, in-home care, and hospice care gave her insight into the barriers other families face. Through this experience dealing with the healthcare system, she learned how much help other families would need to navigate and receive the services they and their loved ones deserved.
After receiving her MSW from Valdosta State University in 2001, Lynn moved to Atlanta to work in the aging field. From her caregiving experience, as well as working as the director of an Alzheimer’s Day program, a geriatric care manager with a local elder attorney, and as a medical social worker for ten years, Lynn brings a wealth of knowledge to the Dementia Spotlight Foundation. She retired from the Department of Neurology Movement Disorders program at Emory University in 2017. In this position, she provided information and education to people and their families living with Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and several other neurological conditions involving movement. This work was done through counseling in the clinic, facilitating support groups, and coordinating educational meetings. A large part of her work included assessing needs and using her knowledge of the services and programs in the metro Atlanta area to connect families to the agencies that could meet these needs.
Lynn has found it hard to retire. She has two part-time jobs and has volunteered with several organizations serving those living with dementia in Georgia. Lynn serves on the Advisory Councils for Culture Change of GA and Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related
Dementias (GARD) State Plan. With GARD, she is an Outreach & Partnership Workgroup member and serves on the Advisory Council representing Georgians living with dementia. By the way, she was diagnosed in 2018 with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Her younger sister lives in California and enjoys good health.
Dementia Spotlight makes it a best practice to provide the following documents for public inspection.
- Exemption letter
- Articles of Incorporation
- Conflict of Interest Policy
- Conflict of Interest Policy Acknowledgements
- Form 1023
- GA Charitable Organization Permit
- GA Professional License Certificate
- 2021 FL Certificate
- Certificate of Business Authority - Florida #F18000005019
- 2019 Annual Registration 4.5.2019
- 2018 990
- 2017 Form 990-PF - Full Return copy
- 2016 990
- Dementia Spotlight Foundation, Inc. 2019 Tax Return
- Dementia Spotlight Foundation, Inc. 2020 Tax Return
Dementia Spotlight Foundation 2017 Board of Directors:
- Linda DeMarlo
- Whitney DeMarlo Oeltmann
- A. Kel Long, lll