About Our Counselor
Loving, empathetic, and caring, Ruth has a huge heart and deeply cares for everyone she meets. Her heart sets the foundation for her as a person but only scratches the surface of who she truly is. Her education combined with her professional and personal experience, as family caregiver, is truly unparalleled.
Born and raised in rural Arkansas, Ruth attended the Kansas City Art Institute in the Mid 80’s where she obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a double major in Ceramics and Painting. After obtaining her degree, she spent time in Philadelphia, upstate New York, and South Carolina as an Artist in Residence working in Senior Centers and with troubled and gifted children.
In 1991 she attended the esteemed Cranbrook Academy of Art where she obtained her Masters in Ceramics and independent study Architecture. Quickly realizing the Art scene was not for her Ruth found her way to New Mexico. Ruth spent several years in New Mexico, and Western Texas, using her talents to help those impacted by drug addition, developmental disabilities, such as down syndrome, autism and fetal alcohol syndrome. Working in Gallup with the Navaho and Suni Nations Ruth recognized the need to expand her knowledge on psychotherapy. By 1998 she obtained her master’s in art therapy from Southwestern College in Santa Fe.
1998 was the year Ruth’s life would change forever. Joining the Vista Family that year, she also became full time guardian for her brother Morgan. Morgan was an amazing individual born with downs syndrome to which she dedicated her life. The most amazing sister, and “Mom” you could ever ask for, Ruth knows deeply what it is like to be a family caregiver balancing life, loss, and grief, particularly in his later years when Morgan developed dementia. Never getting licensed as a therapist, Ruth used her extensive education to positively impact many elders and families coping with the impact of dementia in their lives. Ruth spent the first decade at Vista developing activities from a therapeutic point of view. With over 30,000 hours of time spent working directly with Elders, Ruth has a unique perspective and understanding of all thing’s dementia. Her second decade with Vista shifted towards Social Work where she used her understanding of dementia to support, guide and educate families coping with the disease. Also from a therapeutic perspective, in this decade, she gained a deeper understanding of loss, grief, and conflicts associated to spouses and families coping with the impacts of Dementia.
As Morgan got older, his health became more complicated. Knowing she could never regain this time, Ruth shifted her in-home work to part time spending more time with Morgan while also writing our book, Mindful Dementia Care. Her tens of thousands of hours of work with elders, families and being a full-time family caregiver combined with her education in the arts and therapy gave her a tremendous foundation to share knowledge.
Serving as the Director of Education for the last few years, Ruth has spent her time supervising the activities program, facilitating Stress Busting for Family Caregivers. In the Fall of 2022 she formally became a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and in 2023 became the first Counselor at Vista Listens.
Ruth truly is amazing. Her decades of experience give her expertise in helping elders living with dementia live the best possible life they can. She is a national treasure in the world of dementia, loss and grief and a person loved deeply by so many, especially the Vista Family.