Category Archives: Alzheimers

Combating Dementia with Improv


The Highest Results Of Education Is Tolerance: Helen Keller

Dementia and Improv; two words you don’t normally associate together.  That did not hold

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Cathy Braxton & Tami Neumann from The Silver Dawn Training Institute 

back Tami Newman and Cathy Braxton from the Silver Dawn Training Institute from developing a cutting edge communication tool using Improv to help all of us learn how to community better with someone who is suffering from Dementia.

Dementia Raw is “shining a spotlight on unique ways to communicate with people affected by dementia.  It’s unscripted, it’s unconventional and its unapologetic training that equips you to handle everyday challenges as a caregiver.”

It goes without saying that communication is the key to healthy relationships.  Learning how to communicate with a family member, friend or client who has dementia is equally as important. Silver Dawn Logo_PRThrough their Silver Dawn Training Institute, Tami and Cathy have created
an on-line and in-person certification program that will help professional caregivers and family caregivers alike, learn how to better communicate with those affected by dementia.  To learn more how you can become a Certified Dementia Communication Specialist  simply click here! 

Don’t just take it from me; listen in to this episode of “Healing Ties”  and learn how Tami and Cathy are creating “Healing Ties” all around us.  “Healing Ties” is a part of the Whole Care Network.

 

 

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5 Tips for Talking With a Person Who Has Alzheimer’s


“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today we welcome award winning author Marie Marley to The Purple Jacket.

Yesterday afternoon I walked into Mary’s spacious room. Mary is a woman who has few visitors and who I’ve volunteered to spend a little time with every week. I greeted her, complimented her on her beautiful turquoise sweater and shook her hand.

Then I sat down at her little table that was overflowing with books, photographs, the newspaper and other items she wants to keep close at hand. I started off by picking up a small framed photo of Mary with her husband and three children — two sons and a daughter.

“Tell me about your daughter,” I said, using an open-ended question because they have no right or wrong answers. That’s a tip I picked up from The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care by Virginia Bell and David Troxell.

“Oh, her name is Connie,” she told me. “She has four children — two boys and two girls.”

She continued by giving me several details about Connie and her family. I then picked up a photograph of Mary and her twin sister, Bernice, and she told me about how they took piano lessons together when they were children. After a few minutes, I asked her if her daughter ever played a musical instrument.

“I don’t have a daughter,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Oh,” I countered, picking up the family photo again and holding it out for her to see. “You just told me you have a daughter. Here she is.”

Mary’s face fell and she said very quietly, “I guess I do have a daughter.”

I immediately felt sorry for her embarrassment and was disgusted with myself for having pointed out her mistake. I realized I’d just broken one of the cardinal rules for interacting with a person who has dementia. I’d just read it in The Best Friend’s Approach that very morning: “Let the person save face.”

When relating to a person with Alzheimer’s there are many guidelines to follow. I’m going to discuss five basic ones here: 1) Don’t tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don’t argue with them, 3) Don’t ask if they remember something, 4) Don’t remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead and 5) Don’t bring up topics that may upset them.

Don’t Tell Them They’re Wrong About Something: To let the person save face, it’s best not to contradict or correct them if they say something wrong. There’s usually no good reason to do that. If they’re alert enough, they’ll realize they made a mistake and feel bad about it. Even if they don’t understand their error, correcting them may embarrass or otherwise be unpleasant for them.

Don’t Argue With the Person: It’s never a good idea to argue with a person who has dementia. First of all, you can’t win. And second, it will probably upset them or even make them angry. I learned a long time ago, when caring for my beloved Romanian soul mate, Ed, the best thing to do is simply change the subject — preferably to something pleasant that will immediately catch their attention.

Don’t Ask if They Remember Something: When talking with a person who has Alzheimer’s, it’s so tempting to ask them if they remember some person or event. “What did you have for lunch?” “What did you do this morning?” “Do you remember that we had candy bars when I visited last week?” “This is David. Do you remember him?” Of course they may not remember. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have a diagnosis of dementia. It could embarrass or frustrate them if they don’t remember. It’s better to say, “I remember that we had candy the last time I was here. It was delicious.”

Don’t Remind the Person that a Loved One Is Dead: It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to believe their deceased spouse, parent or other loved one is still alive. They may be confused or feel hurt that the person doesn’t come to visit. If you inform them that the person is dead, they might not believe it and become angry with you. If they do believe you, they’ll probably be very upset by the news. What’s more, they’re likely to soon forget what you said and go back to believing their loved one is still alive. An exception to this guideline is if they ask you if the person is gone. Then it’s wise to give them an honest answer, even if they will soon forget it, and then go on to some other topic.

Don’t Bring up Other Topics That May Upset Them: There’s no reason to bring up topics you know may upset your loved one. If you don’t see eye-to eye on politics, for example, don’t even bring it up. It may just start an argument, which goes against the second guideline above. You won’t prevail and it’s just likely to cause them anger and/or frustration.

So there you go. A few guidelines for visiting. I hope these will be helpful to you in visiting your loved one and enriching the time you have together.

unnamedMarie Marley is the award-winning author of Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy and co-author (with Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN) of Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s: New Hope for Caregivers. Her website (ComeBackEarlyToday.com) contains a wealth of information for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

 

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Love In The Land Of Dementia


Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

I will be the first one to admit that my caregiving journey did not include the special trails and tribulations when caring for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s.   For many families, a diagnosis of dementia is an ending. For Deborah Shouse, it was a beginning, “My mother taught me how to celebrate and appreciate what we have right now.” Through her mother’s dementia, Deborah discovered compassion, deepening love, and increased connection with her mother and her family.

Deborah Shouse is an author and dementia advocate. Deborah knows first hand that finding the connection with a love one afflicted with dementia is a challenge millions of people face. Too often, people living with dementia are entertained instead of engaged.  In this episode of “Healing Ties” Deborah talks about the differences between Dementia and Alzheimer’s while sharing her love and passion for those who care for someone with this insidious diagnosis.

Listen in and learn how Deborah is creating “Healing Ties” all around us by finding love in the land of dementia.

2016-12-22-3Love in the Land of Dementia offers hope to family members, friends, and care partners of people who are living with memory loss. Strong, fluid organization and tender writing distinguish this purposeful and compelling read, which is filled with practical suggestions, compassionate support, and unexpected insights.   Visit Deborah on line at Dementia Journeys 

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Dementia Patients at Home: Care Taker’s Guide


The Purple Jacket welcomes back guest blogger Andrea Bell 

Dementia Patients at Home: Care Taker’s Guide

According to the behaviorist perspective, the environment plays a key role in how people behave. The impact comes from the people as well the type of house or even inanimate objects that are placed there. Dementia is not a disease in which a patient can admit himself into a hospital and receive proper treatment. He has to live with it for the rest of his/her life. Since they cannot control the progression of the disease, what they can control is to choose the way they want to spend their remaining years. Home décor can have a significant impact on dementia patients who are receiving care at home. It is important to understand that their life has or is beginning to change drastically, so a change in surroundings to help them adapt better is necessary. Here are some absolutely easy home décor ideas especially for people with Dementia:

  1. Bedding and comfort

Every patient (Dementia or not) needs comfort. Bedding, chairs and sofas should all be soft and cozy enough for the patient to stay in. Discomfort can stress the patient very easily which can increase the adverse effects of the disease. Comfort is also provided through emotional support of the care taker, it is necessary to educate yourself about Dementia patients before taking care of them. Their mattresses should have a plastic covering as well as be fire retardant.

Here are some pages to get you started: How to properly deal with Dementia; Dementia nursing and caring tips.

  1. When Nature calls

Most patients with mild cognitive impairment or even normal physical weaknesses tend to wet their beds. It is absolutely essential to stay absolutely calm as it is already a pretty shameful moment for them. To avoid this, adult diapers and catheters are necessary. Other than this, easy to use bathroom fixtures and fittings are something that can provide the patients and their care takers both, some ease. Also, there are several kinds of bath chairs with all proper washing functions available which can be placed in the bathroom. Get them here.

  1. Reminders and forgetfulness

Dementia is probably the second name for forgetfulness. It can make the patient feel useless, as they at some point are not able to remember important pieces of information, or even the insignificant things like names of different foods or what day it is today. So to help them remember the house should be ‘reminder friendly’ in ways that the patient is instantly reminded of basic things. Sticky Notes always come in handy, even for everyday life. Post them everywhere, especially near the bedside or work areas with whatever information that you choose to remind them.

Large reminder boards can be placed on the wall, or the fridge, which can keep track of things like what time do they have to take their medicine, or how many times or pills do they have to take etc. If it is someone’s special day, like a birthday or a wedding anniversary, it can be easily posted on the reminder board in bold letters, which can allow the patient to be reminded of it every time they look at it or walk by it. You can easily by them from this store.

Bold analogue wall clocks can also be a good way for the patients to keep track of time. Large clocks with bold calendars are also available especially for dementia patients. Get them here.

  1. Way finding and wandering

A smart way to stop the patient from wandering is to plant or paste arrows inside the house, or in the backyard to allow the patient to recognize where he has to go. As soon as he begins to wander, the arrows will prompt him with the path that needs to be followed.

  1. Color selection for the eyes

With Dementia in old age, many patients may develop blindness or cataract eventually leading lives with blurry vision. Usage of bright and bold colors in things that need to be highlighted such as their pill boxes or their food containers can help them locate and even remember it easily. On the other hand, for areas such as those meant for sleeping and relaxing, the colors should be light and pastel in order to provide a soothing effect for the patient. These bold and soothing colors can be integrated into walls, curtains, bed sheets as well as the carpets on the floor.

  1. Organization to reduce confusion

Old age can cause a lot of confusion for the patient, especially if it is accompanied by Dementia. To reduce daily life confusion as much as possible, you can color coordinate their wardrobes, or pre pick out their clothes that they have to wear daily. Arrange their personal belongings or toiletries in a way that they are clear and visible right in front.

Andrea Bell is  freelance writer by day and sports fan by night.  Andrea writes about tech education and health related issues (but not at the same time). Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. Find Andrea  on twitter @IM_AndreaBell.

(All content and links submitted in this post are written and submitted by Andrea Bell.)

 

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A review of Still Alice: Watching a Loved One With Alzheimer’s


We welcome back guest blogger Maria Alice with her review of Still Alice: Watching a Loved One With Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is an illness that affects its victim at the core of their being. Memory and different mental functions are compromised in those who develop the disease, and ultimately it changes them in profound ways. The award-winning film, Still Alice, centers on the hardships that come with early onset Alzheimer’s and how they affect the victim and the people that surround them. In Still Alice, family, friends, and caregivers experience life with a loved one who, one day, may or may not even remember who they are.

Alice Howland, played by Julianne Moore in an Oscar-worthy performance, is a linguistics professor – a true creature of words, ideas, and thoughts. After Alice encounters a period of memory loss and confusion, she is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. We follow her life as the disease gets worse and those around her start to become frustrated and lose hope. Still Alice shows the uglier and more difficult stages of Alzheimer’s as a person with it goes through stages of memory loss and personal deterioration. As the disease progresses, it begins to rob the victim of their dignity. Alice quickly loses the ability to perform daily functions and maintain personal responsibility and safety. Still Alice, still available on DTV and Google Play, vividly illustrates how one person can lose their former selves inside their mind and how their body can become a mere shell of who they once were.

In a common real world situation, Alice’s family becomes her caregivers. Her husband John (Alec Baldwin), her daughters Anna (Kate Bosworth) and Lydia (Kristen Stewart), and her son Tom (Hunter Parrish) all deal differently with the diagnosis of their loved one. The family accepts Alice’s condition in ways that reflect their situations and their levels of fear and insecurity about this genetic condition. The fact that they must react to her condition both as a loving family, caregivers and potential carriers of the trait adds a distinct layer of tension to the plot.

Directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland portray the disease and its path of deterioration with precision and empathy for all concerned. There are days when Alice seems like she’s who she was before the diagnosis and days when she cannot find herself. Repeated imagery of waves on the shore captures the incisive feeling about the nature of the disease – a thing that comes in waves with no two quite the same but with the same impact. However, it is the human resolution that stands. Alice learns to live in the moment and savor life.

Still Alice describes a painful descent from a lofty, comfortable, and productive life to one of searching for a most basic connection to the self. Alzheimer’s is a disease that robs one of past, present and future by breaking the connections with life events, time, and people. With effective use of imagery, photographic effects, and themes, Still Alice creates moods and very relatable scenes of the descent from high-powered professional existence. It follows a person who must struggle to overcome confusion in the simplest tasks and disconnection from the lives that matter so much.

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March 5, 2016 · 10:00 am

Alzheimers Dementia Wristband Hospital Project


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Gary LeBlanc

Join us on Tuesday August 27th at 1:00pm (est) for a conversation with Gary LeBlanc from Common Sense Caregiving, founder of the Alzheimer’s Dementia Wristband Hospital Project and Margaret Doerr, CEO of Nursing at Brooksville Regional Hospital in Brooksville, Florida.

To listen to our show live, simply click here! 

After enduring 3 nightmares hospital stays with his dad who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Gary recognized that there needed to be a better way for staff to recognize the special needs of his father. 

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Margaret Doerr

On today’s show, we are going to talk with Gary  and Margaret about how one, simple, identification bracelet can go a long way in providing comfort and security for patients, caregivers and a hospital staff. Yet this is more than just putting a bracelet on an Alzheimer’s patients:  this project is about training, educating and recognizing the special needs of Alzheimer’s patients to an entire hospital staff!

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Gary’s project is a prime example of how Caregivers can have an impact on polices and procedures because Caregivers are always the ones in the trenches!  Through our conversation with Gary and Margaret, we will all learn how to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver!’.

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The Universal Symbol for Alzheimer’s

Can’t listen to our show live…NO Worries!  All our shows are archived for your listening convenience by clicking here! 

To learn more about Gary and the Wristband Project click here! 

To learn more about Brookfield Regional Hospital click here! 

Listen to:

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