Maybe it takes a Village!

Our institutions of care are based on ideas developed during the industrial revolution when we found that factories and assembly lines worked so well for making things on a large scale. These ideas work well in fields of medicine that involve technology, such as surgery. However, for diseases of the mind – whether we are referring to mental illness or physical degradation of the brain that causes dementia – a medical care factory model doesn’t work quite so well. Continue readingMaybe it takes a Village!”

It’s Conference Time!

Back around 2012, I had just earned my license to become an assisted living and memory care administrator, and my partner Ed and I were attending a lot of conferences to learn as much as we could about Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of dementia. We invariably came away from these events frustrated and disappointed. We heard a lot of researchers talking about plaques and tangles and Tau protein and the “stages” of Alzheimer’s, and on and on, but we heard nothing that could be remotely useful to families and care partners who were in the actual journey of dementia. Continue readingIt’s Conference Time!

What about alcohol use?

In tackling the topic of alcohol use and dementia, I am going to begin with a “myth-buster” statement based on the landmark study conducted in England and published in The Lancet in August, 2018, which concluded that there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption.” The pervasive belief that alcohol use in moderation is not harmful, and can even have health benefits. is, bluntly stated, alcohol user and alcohol industry propaganda. Continue readingWhat about alcohol use?

No time for a sabbatical

Seven years ago, the Citrus County Chronicle asked if we might submit a monthly column about Alzheimer’s and dementia. We were thrilled and honored to be offered this opportunity. We took on this task, and have never missed a month. This month’s is our 85th column.
In academia, it is customary after seven years of hard work to take a year off. We call this a “sabbatical,” deriving from the Hebrew term sabbat, meaning “to rest.” Oh, I wish it were possible!
Continue readingNo time for a sabbatical

Dementia and pain

Some years ago, a woman asked me to check on her sister in a dementia care facility to evaluate how she was being treated. As I approached her room, I heard a tremendous commotion, and when I walked in I saw three staff members struggling with a woman who surely didn’t weigh more than 120 pounds. All three of them were on top of her, trying to hold her down, and she was struggling and screaming bloody murder! The confusion was amplified by all three of the staff shouting uncoordinated instructions at her. Continue readingDementia and pain

Dementia and the twin tsunamis!

It is estimated that seven million Americans 65 and older currently have some form of dementia. This population is expected to grow to nine million by 2030, and to 15 million by 2050. This trend is not being driven by the “spread” of a disease; it is being driven by changes in our population. Americans are aging, thanks to an event in our history known as the “Baby Boom.” Continue readingDementia and the twin tsunamis!

Sometimes we just need magic!

One of the problems with dementia care is that we go into it with a negative attitude. This is understandable. It is terrible disease through which those afflicted slowly lose almost everything they have; physically, mentally, and emotionally. This puts us into a mindset dominated by a focus on loss. We focus on what they CAN’T do, and we even design care and care facilities around what they CAN’T do . . . or soon won’t be able to do. Continue readingSometimes we just need magic!