Author: Cate

Passionate about dementia care and quality of life throughout the last days of life----sums up Cate McCarty, Dr. Cate, Dementia Coach. With close to forty years of long-term care experience in nursing and recreation, a Master's in Thanatology and a PhD in Aging Studies, Dr. Cate seizes every opportunity to translate research into quality of life for individuals with dementia and all of us who have the honor to "rub elbows" with them.

New Strategies for Dementia Community

New Strategies for Dementia Community Life in the last year has been one of great adaptation. For those living with dementia, dementia community was even more vital. Research is showing that the isolation many experienced increased cognitive decline. Necessity made us adapt. For many of us, our adaptation involved combatting isolation with online and telephone resources. Out of necessity, we were able to pivot to continue our outreach and interconnection. This gave us flexibility in frequency and availability. Research shows that online education and cognitive behavior therapy improve the mental health of dementia caregivers. This is borne out in a…

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Dementia Tussie Mussie

Awkward Apathy As both a family and a professional caregiver, apathy has been my Achilles heel. Trained as a recreation therapist, a classic left-brain extrovert—I work hard to get positive feedback. Apathy is one of the top four behaviors present in dementia world. Apathy is the care partner who doesn’t leave his recliner, his bed, who has lost all interest in participating. Different from depression, apathy is defined as diminished motivation that is not attributed to emotional distress.1 Depression involves emotional distress.2 No distress, simply flat. Environment is one key to addressing apathy. Person-environment fit is the research term used….

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Awkward Apathy

As both a family and a professional caregiver, apathy has been my Achilles heel. Trained as a recreation therapist, a classic left-brain extrovert—I work hard to get positive feedback. Apathy is one of the top four behaviors present in dementia world. Apathy is the care partner who doesn’t leave his recliner, his bed, who has lost all interest in participating. Different from depression, apathy is defined as diminished motivation that is not attributed to emotional distress.1 Depression involves emotional distress.2 No distress, simply flat. Environment is one key to addressing apathy. Person-environment fit is the research term used. One study…

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Grief and Dementia

Grief is not the most festive topic for this time of year, but ignoring it actually multiplies its impact. We in memory care world have learned more than one blog can capture. As the pandemic winds down, we are confronted by a disproportionate amount of loss and grief. Grief and dementia have long been a subject of research. Early comparison of grief from cancer caregivers and dementia caregivers found that post-death dementia caregivers experienced more relief than grief. Some have called the dementia journey a long good-bye. The counterparts are those who reference the long hello. This difference in approach…

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The Artful Dodger & Dementia

The Artful Dodger and Dementia The Artful Dodger was the name given a street-wise boy who was a particularly good pick-pocket in Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. Much like an individual with dementia, the Artful Dodger had to find ways to thrive with his limiting circumstances. Looking at arts-based interventions for individuals with dementia resonates with the artful dodger. Two literature reviews of art interventions and dementia validated that art interventions are useful in thriving with dementia. A review of music-based interventions done in 2020 found that music-based interventions improved depression and overall negative behaviors.1 Likewise a literature review of art…

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Stepping Up Your Brain Game

Even though we have been dealing with an international pandemic, research is showing us the value of an overall approach to brain health. Longitudinal research is always especially valuable because it is more than a snapshot in time. In a longitudinal study started in 1936 that has continued through 2021, researchers compared two years before the pandemic and pandemic data.1 Variables studied include physical activity, sleep quality, mental wellbeing, social support, loneliness, neighborhood cohesion and memory problems before and during the pandemic lockdown. Not surprising were the findings that participants with cardiovascular disease, higher anxiety, or who lived alone reported…

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Whole Body, Whole Care

How do we offer our care partner’s the best care? One of the most significant findings point to a team of multiple disciplines to address the whole person. Dementia care research continues to show the value of the inter-disciplinary team. Starting in the 90’s research included looking at dementia special care. Gerdner & Beck1 (2001) defined the inter-disciplinary team of a dementia special care unit to include a registered nurse, activity director, social worker, registered dietician, physician, Certified nurse’s assistant, physical therapist, occupational therapist, music therapist and family member/care partner. Do not panic–research also found few care units actually had…

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New Strategies for an Old Reality

As 2021 rolls out with hope in a vaccine, it is a good time to take stock ofadaptations we made in 2020 and want to continue. Our world ismoving toward solutions for the pandemic, but we will need to continue tohold the line on safety and precaution.Looking at the successes of 2020 we see the increase in online andtelephone resources. Out of necessity, we as a country were able to pivot tocontinue our outreach and interconnection.Research shows that online education and cognitive behavior therapyimprove the mental health of dementia caregivers.1 This is borne out in arecent publication of Brain &…

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Simple Gifts

This song speaks to me and has ever since I visited a Shaker village with my children years ago. It spoke to Aaron Copeland as well, since he included it in his Appalachian Spring Suite and Ballet. For me, Simple Gifts speaks of earth, of flow, of rhythm. It speaks to me of harvest, because the Shakers were so phenomenal in their agricultural ingenuity. It speaks to me of seasonal changes–turn, turn, bow and bend. “Tis a gift to be simple, ’tis a gift to be free ‘Tis a gift to come down where I ought to be And when…

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Are You Catching It?

No I do not mean COVID, I mean the changing season. Are you feeling a difference in the air temperature? A renewed desire to bake or take a run or hike? Fall is in the air, no matter where you live. It is simply more nuanced in the warmer climates.Here at the McHop MD home we have a third batch of sourdough starter; an on-going eye on putting the garden “to bed”; new tires on order and, believe it or not, some window washing.As we move into autumn, I am reminded of how the seasons’ characteristics are like the stages…

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