Category: Care Options

Where Have All the Flowers Gone. . . Long Time Passing

This song comes to mind as I scan my past memory café themes, and have flashes of shared moments of joy, of memory and of amazing souls who have transitioned out of life with dementia. Making strawberry jam at Park Station with my blue-eyed wonder Jane Prompting a sweet smile from Gail Receiving a wink from Jim and a laugh Bonding over MD crab memories with Dick Basking in the gentlemanly favor of Archie Enjoying the assistance of David, always willing, always agile Enjoying Tom’s flirtatious interpretations and observations Marveling at Sid’s pleasant and polite insistence Listening intently to David’s…

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Seeking Support while Safe at Home

As dementia caregivers, many of us had some external support systems in place before the Safer at Home mandate. With support groups, memory cafes, senior centers and adult day centers closed, we are struggling to find replacements. Adapting to a new in-home routine has its challenges. Limited outdoor spaces for exercise, and increased isolation has added a new dimension to our dementia caregiving. Many are adapting to technology in order to seek support and guidance. But how effective is internet-based interventions? Research looking at psychological interventions for dementia caregivers identified four types of caregiver intervention: Psychoeducational Counseling and psychotherapy Multicomponent…

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Tablets as a Window to Memory

When caring for a person with dementia a tablet pc may well be one of your most valuable tool.  Ranging in price from $50-$200, tablets can be an excellent care resource.1 Research shows that the portable touchscreen devices, commonly called tablets, are useful not only to the individual with dementia but also to the caregiver.2 In a study of individuals with early -stage dementia, 50% of those in the study were able to use the tablet independently. Caregivers expressed relief in proportion to the amount of time their loved one used the tablet independently. In a study of individuals with…

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The “We’s” Have It

Whether you are introvert, extrovert, caregiver or care recipient one variable that proves powerful in health research is social support. As the national and international discussion swirls around the dangers of the “lone wolf” the value of spending time with select others is reiterated. In Alzheimer’s research this has been particularly emphasized. Alzheimer’s caregivers who have social support report higher confidence in their caregiving and higher life satisfaction. Yet having been a family caregiver, I have experienced the drop-off of friends and family when I needed them the most. How do I gain or maintain social support in the face…

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Not All Specialists Are Special

We were recently referred to a neurologist based on my husband’s feeling that he was losing his memory. At the age of 64, his general practitioner agreed that it was an issue worth investigating. This is a life curve that provides me with an insider view resulting in quandary and possibly denial. It is like walking through steady fog, I think I see clearly but maybe I do not. So the dementia coach in me was in absentia when I scheduled the second neurology appointment in three years. Despite the many family caregivers who had expressed that the best evaluation…

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Sorting Shells

As I sat in the plane flying back to our boat, I thought back on the last five days.  Five days spent at the Homestead with my youngest daughter and son-in-law prepping for my first grandchild.  It had been a great visit, as they always are.  I reviewed the time, much like a shell collector, sorting the best, turning them to see each facet and marvel at their beauty, rejecting the damaged or incomplete.  Classifying memories. It occurred to me how universal this process is.  Probably each individual on the plane was going through the same process in some manner. …

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Deal or Deal Breaker?

Dandelions, daffodils and dreary days.  Each of these images recalls a sensory experience recorded in my primal memory.  Each impacted my life in a particular way from early childhood.  As a child growing up in the suburbs of Baltimore, dandelions were summer flowers that played at my feet as I swung high in the sky on my rope and board swing.  I picked them for my mother, and made them into chains.   They remind me of good simple warm times . . . even when my mind is not really at work.  It’s a primal sensory memory. Likewise daffodils are…

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The Only Game in Town

As I pass through small but remarkable towns, I am pleased to see a long-term care community in their midst.  With the over 65 segment of the population being our largest, it is important that every town have an option for rehabilitation and long term care.  The one option may be a skilled nursing facility or an assisted living with sometimes even memory care.  I hesitate to investigate.  My hesitation comes from both national research and personal experience. When looking for care for a loved one, be aware of the phenomenon called the “only game in town”.  Regardless of the…

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Behavior is the Result of Unmet Need

The inability to communicate results in an acting out, a behavior.

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The Only Game in Town

In-hospital deaths and low hospice utilization were more likely in rural and small town nursing homes.

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