Recent Posts

Wild Roses

Wild roses, that is the scent that caught my nose today. The sweet smell of roses on the breeze. Stopping me in my tracks. Pushing pause on all the random agendas and thoughts streaming this morning.It was pure heaven.Of course I reveled in it–breathing deeply, smiling.Shaking off the tension that was building on the agendas of the day. For a bit.Then my brain started its meandering. First, the value placed on the scent of the perfume Mary massaged Jesus’ feet with. The shame Judas tried to place on her because of the value of the scent. Yet that is one…

Continue Reading Wild Roses

Bubbling Spring

Spring is springing in the Northeast. There are wood violets in the grass, forsythia on the hill and daffodils filling random borders and byways. The birds are ecstatically building nests and singing for mates. The world is awake with hope. Spring bubbles up like laughter through the 30 degree mornings, past the craziness of daylight savings time, and despite any diagnosis of body, politics or global health. Nature gives us a small window into God’s grace, however you call it or perceive it. Laughter, humor is much like spring. Bubbling up in our support groups, our memory cafes–seeing the humor,…

Continue Reading Bubbling Spring

Cool Change

October is a month of change. We have many months with change, but I think we particularly focus on Oct. whether in the South or the North. Shifting temps, snowbirds, leaf change–all peak in October. If you are like so many of us, music brings back memories. For me, I think of mountains and good times as an undergrad when I hear certain tunes. Maybe you have a fall set of tunes, flavors and smells. We are grooving to Pumpkin Spice Jazz on YouTube, with the smell of cinnamon streusel for back-up. The cool changes we once had with sailing…

Continue Reading Cool Change

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…

Continue Reading New Strategies for Dementia Community

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….

Continue Reading 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. One study…

Continue Reading Awkward Apathy

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…

Continue Reading Grief and Dementia

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…

Continue Reading The Artful Dodger & Dementia

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…

Continue Reading Stepping Up Your Brain Game

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…

Continue Reading Whole Body, Whole Care