Category: Person-Centered Care

Denial and Isolation

Well, I humbly come to you no longer from the sidelines but from the field. Dr. Cate, Dementia Coach has been forced to put on a helmet and uniform. Yet even as I write this I question if indeed I am exaggerating. Just because my spouse has said for the past three years that he is having processing problems. Just because he emits off the scale anxiety around any new process, including opening a new piece of equipment . . . I do not have a diagnosis. Maybe it is all in our heads. Maybe he is just crying wolf…

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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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Sea-batical

  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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Creosote and Calico?

Sensory pleasures are individual and based in our history and heritage.  It is sensory pleasures that enrich our offices, homes, sick rooms.  As we encounter illness, it is often the sensory pleasures that define “comfort”.  In the continuing exploration of the power of the senses, C is for comfort.  For me personally, sensory comforts come in the taste and smell of corned beef and cabbage; the smells of coffee and creosote; the beauty of cruising and calico.  Quite an eclectic list, right?  Taking it one comfort at a time:  Corned beef and cabbage plays a key role in my adult…

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B is for . . .

“You are not going to do all 26 letters of the alphabet are you?”  my husband asks as I write this post.  I was annoyed, here is Mr. Metric nay saying a rational outline to explore sensory preferences.  I considered dropping him from my email list . . . but of course, I am going to continue to use the alphabet as my foundation for exploring the value of knowing one another’s sensory preferences.  “Why,” you and he might ask?  In the words of Sherlock Holmes, “It’s elementary, my dear Watson”.  When things are going poorly, whether it be in…

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The ABC’s of Sensory Preferences

Each of us has our own unique fingerprint as well as our own unique sensory preferences.  With our fingerprint, we can be universally identified often for less than positive reasons.  With our unique sensory preferences we can be universally pleased with an experience or universally displeased.  The range of response is based on our ability to communicate due to illness, dementia.  Regardless of health, our sensory preferences remain. If it is an unpleasant sensory stimulant, we will “communicate” our distaste by some type of negative behavior.   Those closest to us are more likely to know what sensory stimulant triggers…

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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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