Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a term that describes a wide range of symptoms caused by a number of diseases. The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. However, others, including Parkinson’s disease, can result in dementia. So can non-disease events, such as traumatic brain injury. Continue reading
Caring for a loved one with dementia is more art than science. What works one day does not the next. There are some basic rules of engagement, but most of the time it seems we must be flexible and creative in dealing with a person who is in a frequent state of change. Continue reading
It is a common belief that individuals living with dementia are, or will become delusional. Delusions are beliefs that are contradicted by reality or rational argument, and they are often associated with a mental disorder. Continue reading
As January arrives, we often think of what we might do differently in the coming year, and sometimes we make resolutions, hoping for better results.
Caregivers for loved ones living with dementia know that the stress and the demands on our time will probably not change in the coming year. For some, it may become even more difficult, which is good reason to assess our situation to see if we can do things a little better, a little smarter, and a little easier for ourselves.
So, let me suggest a few New Year resolutions for caregivers: Continue reading
Daily, we are surrounded by danger. There is that throw rug with the corner turned up; that low foot stool or extension cord we might trip over. How about those power tools, solvents, and insecticides in the garage? There are sharp knives in the kitchen, and under the kitchen sink are toxic cleaning agents.
With the holidays come large gatherings with lots of activities. For a person living with Alzheimer’s Disease, stress levels will soar with increased anxiety and life is no longer“normal.” This environment of stress affects both the care partner and the individual living with dementia. But for them it is worse because they will also feed off of your behavior and emotions.
This is when we must make a special effort to manage our own stress, be more sensitive to our loved one’s feelings and behavior, and make a special effort to keep them safe, comfortable, included, and purposeful. Continue reading
My primary training is in The Positive Approach to Care, developed by Teepa Snow. Teepa’s slogan is, “Until there’s a cure, there’s care.” This trips nicely off the tongue and seems too obvious to be profound, but there is so much more meaning in this statement than we might see at first glance.I had this brought home to me recently when I had the opportunity to attend a two-day Alzheimer’s conference in Orlando.
I came away feeling quite unsettled, for two reasons. First, we heard nothing very optimistic about the state of research for a cure. The more research we conduct, the more questions – not answers – we seem to uncover. I did not see even a glimmer of that hoped-for cure at the end of the tunnel. Continue reading
This type of interaction is not being used enough when dealing with a person living with dementia, many people may not understand what this means, or how is it going to help with care. If you have attended one of my workshops or speaking engagements you may have heard me talking about “Validation Therapy” when dealing with a person living with Alzheimer’s and dementia. I do get some strange looks, some people believe that they are lying to their person, that they are not telling them the truth, this is not true.
When we learn this technique we can restore confidence, dignity and we will also gain some empathy for this person, but most of all we will be taking the time to listen to them, this will tell us where they are and in what time frame they are referring to. Validation will also help you in when redirection is needed especially in the later afternoon when “sundowning” may be an issue for your loved one.
Throughout the disease process of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, your loved one will lose the ability to understand simple instructions, the ability to reason or undertake any logical process, and sometimes the ability to speak. My husband Albert lost his language skills very early in the process, and this left me feeling confused, adrift, and alone. How are we supposed to know or respond to what they need when they cannot tell us what they want? Continue reading
The other day I read an article about health and longevity that contained the assertion, “The single biggest cause of Alzheimer’s Disease is aging.” This is absolutely wrong, and it represents a logical fallacy that we see all too often among so-called experts and suppliers of products and therapies that they claim will reverse, slow, or even cure dementia. Continue reading