Cindy Weinstein Untangles Finding the Right Words in Dementia Care

Untangling Alzheimer’s & Dementia, an AlzAuthors Podcast

Cindy Weinstein Untangles Finding the Right Words in Dementia Care

March 14, 2023

Cindy Weinstein Untangles Finding the Right Words in Dementia Care

Cindy Weinstein is an English professor at the California Institute of Technology and the author of the award-winning Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain, based on her experience with her father’s early onset Alzheimer’s in the 1980’s. During her father’s illness she was a graduate student at the University of California at Berkley, separated from her family in Florida by more than 3,000 miles.

Her family’s dementia journey had a long-lasting impact on her, and decades later she decided to write a book about it with the assistance of neurologist Bruce Miller, MD. It’s the tale of a daughter’s grief, of how she was studying and mastering language while her father struggled with word-finding. This irony intrigued her to the point she went on to study neurology herself with an interdisciplinary group of scientists, artists, social scientists, and physicians at The Global Brain Health Institute based at the University of California at San Francisco and Trinity College, Dublin. During this time, she worked with Dr. Miller on Finding the Right Words, which won third place in Memoir Magazine’s 2022 Memoir Prize for Books.

Cindy was born and raised in Verona, New Jersey. She received her B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University, after which she went to UC Berkeley for her Ph.D. in English. She is currently the Eli and Edythe Broad Professor of English and has been at the California Institute of Technology since 1989, during which time she has published three monographs on American literature, edited several volumes, and taught classes on Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, Women’s Fiction, and Black literature. She has had several administrative roles at Caltech, including Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer.

In this episode, we discuss the shock of her father’s death and her lifelong grief, her desire to study the language that surrounds a dementia diagnosis and her mission to help others by writing a book about it, and how working with Dr. Miller helped her better understand the changes dementia brought to her father’s brain.

After the Podcast

Read Cindy’s AlzAuthors post: Cindy Weinstein’s Memoir of Father’s Early-Onset Alzheimer’s

Purchase Finding the Right Words: A Story of Literature, Grief, and the Brain

Note: We are an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from books sales.

Connect with Cindy

Website: Finding the Right Words – Cindy Weinstein & Dr. Bruce Miller (

Cindy Weinstein – Professor Of English – Caltech | LinkedIn



Other Mentions

Emory and Aging Center UCSF

Bruce Miller, MD

Ruth Stevens Podcast

Susan Farese, MSN, RN, Podcast

Sign up for Laura Davis’ Writing Workshop


About the Podcast

AlzAuthors is the global community of authors writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia from personal experience to light the way for others. Our podcast introduces you to our authors who share their stories and insights to provide knowledge, comfort, and support. Please subscribe so you don’t miss a word. If our authors’ stories move you, please leave a review. And don’t forget to share our podcast with family and friends on their own dementia journeys.

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