Category: Dementia Behavior

Kaleidoscope of Time

Years ago, one of my school-aged children explained the shifting cognition of Granddad as a kaleidoscope. My nine-year-old said, You know mom being with Granddad is a lot like looking through the kaleidoscope. Most of the time you look in and can’t figure it out, but every once a while the light shoots straight through and then it is beautiful. So, I keep looking because you never know. I thought it was an excellent analogy of the shift in cognition we encountered with Granddad. Sometimes he was just as we remembered, aware and on target with his speech but then…

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Validate Instead of Negate

At this time of year hauntings are not just in old homes.  If you are living with an individual with dementia, you may well be faced with ghosts and imaginings that are convincingly real in presentation. Some forms of dementia are more likely to have delusions and hallucinations as symptoms. Your challenge as a caregiver is to validate rather than negate the presence of the man in the bathroom or the re-written biography that includes new players, new scenarios. It is helpful to define both a delusion and a hallucination. Delusions in dementia world are false beliefs.1 When your 94…

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Caregiving and Exercise

Traditionally January is a month of reflections on the old year and resolutions for the new. Fitness and nutrition are key elements of many resolutions. But families caring for a loved one with dementia are often overwhelmed, particularly after the holidays. Research shows that both Alzheimer’s caregivers and their loved one with dementia greatly benefit from twenty to thirty minutes of moderate intensity walking five times a week. Benefits of this simple plan include: • decreased caregiver stress, burden, depression • a slowing of Alzheimer’s disease in the early stages • improved overall quality of life A similar study looked…

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  Dr. Cate, Dementia Coach has been on a bit of a sabbatical, in the Caribbean. It has been life-changing in many ways. The deficit of internet, the influx of foreign culture, new languages, and the rigors of some tough sailing days have taken precedence. It has, in many ways, been an out-of-my-world experience with a total immersion in living moment by moment. After six years in the academic environment coupled with four years in a fast-based memory care admissions role, I have been thrust into a very physical and survival-based present. One that has been far from any idea…

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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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Choose Your Battles

This is one of my favorite sayings.  I credit it to Manfred Smith, an amazing teacher and leader of the International Learning Community.  When homeschooling alongside some fairly rigid and structured family members and friends, I was often torn between becoming “Attila the Hun” or “Janis Joplin”.  Two extremes, neither guaranteeing success.  Manfred lived this in an unforgettable way when staying for dinner after a home visit.  I suspected he was a vegetarian and apologized that our meal was not accommodating.  Please forgive me organic vegan readers.  Our choice to homeschool limited our income and even car usage, so there…

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I want to go home. Who can help me get home? I need to get home . . . These are common refrains heard from folks with dementia. As family we take the request at face value, and yet how many of us have heard this refrain from within the loved one’s home? It’s a sobering moment when you accommodate them and yet the refrain remains. You have the realization that “home” stands for something else, perhaps something unattainable. After years of hearing this refrain and attempting to accommodate as a recreation leader or as a family member, I’ve come…

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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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