Category: Uncategorized

Throwing the Baby Out with The Bath Water

A recent Swedish study looked at healthcare professionals end-of-life notes on the final days of individuals with dementia living in long-term care. The study found that the documentation of final days was heavy on the physical care and results and sparse on the psychosocial care. Any academics reading will immediately discount the rest of this blog because the study was a) in Sweden; b) published in a journal with a lower impact factor and c) nursing home data only.  But those of us on the front lines for many years in both skilled nursing facilities and assisted livings see this…

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Physical Fitness and the Caregiving Journey

Traditionally Spring is a time of fresh starts, cleaning, and new activities.  Fitness and nutrition become a focus with increased outdoor opportunities. But families caring for a loved one with dementia are often overwhelmed with day to day care.  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 at behaviors of the individual…

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Five Features of an Expert

What is the definition of expertise? When choosing assistance of any kind for your loved one you want to separate the experts from the novices. There are five key qualities of an expert: • History of success • Affiliation • Longevity in practice coupled with contemporary research and innovation • Appraisal and authenticity As a dementia coach and memory care expert, Dr. Cate, Dementia Coach meets all five qualities of expertise. When assessing the expertise of a consultant you want to ask if she/he has the stability of longevity in memory care as well as the flexibility of multiple roles….

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Land of Milk and Honey, Tierra de Leche y Miel

As a recreation therapist I have long held that the senses are where it is at. When it appears that there is little left, the senses remain. I just returned from a short trip to MD. Four evenings, five mornings in the land of milk and honey. As I opened the shuttle door my senses were delighted with the symphony of crickets unique to impending fall in MD. I looked up to a sky full of stars. My skin was pleased with an evening temp of 68. Refreshing. Glorious. Only the whimpers of my dearest Boston terrier enticed me inside….

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“You’ve Got This”

We recently had the honor of witnessing the birth of our grand-daughter. It was a long labor. I found the difference in perspective enlightening. Let me simply state, the view is drastically different from the receiving end of natural birth.  In the final hours of my daughter’s labor, I definitely wanted to intercede. It was more difficult than I had remembered. I realized that it is all in your perspective. The same perspective shift that I am experiencing as a spouse of someone reporting memory decline. As I, Dr. Cate, Dementia Coach, try to practice what I preach. As I…

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De Nada

Responses to thank you. We say, if we are being polite, ‘You are welcome.” Here in Puerto Rico, they say “De Nada”. It’s nothing. That is somehow heartwarming to hear. It’s not a big deal. You can ask for more, I will do it, all those things seem to be said with “De nada”. As I have journeyed, so has the Alzheimer’s community. Today I see a much more positive side of Alzheimer’s being presented. Sites like Living with Jim and Mom with Alzheimer’s focus on what is happening in the midst of the disease. There is much more of…

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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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Engaging the Senses

No matter your cognitive status, you experience the world through your senses.  As cognitively alert individuals we choose the sensory stimulation with which we surround ourselves.  As  graduate students, we were assigned cubicles for our in-house studies.  As a student who had years in the workplace, I had experienced much more pleasant office assignments.  This was my first cubicle and my least favorite environment for productivity.  I adapted by using earphones with calming music, situating my desk in my favored spot, and decorating my padded walls with encouraging art. I also found that a spicy potpourri made it more pleasant…

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Gerontological Withdrawal

Or where are all the old people? One thing I noticed in my time in the Abacos, Bahamas was the dearth of older people.  I saw more folks over the age of 65 on boats than on land.  Had I done my homework, I would have added Freeport or Nassau to our travel itinerary, where there are significantly more individuals aged 65+.  But cay to cay I kept looking with the certainty that a visit to church would have clarified much more than meandering through “town”.  We found several (2-3) older folks at Guana Cay who congregated in the shade…

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Memory Companion Training

Thirty six hours of interactive training on optimal therapeutic recreation for individuals with dementia—compiling years of experience and training into 36 hours.  It is so fulfilling to finally get to share my passion.  Better still–to be able to share it with individuals equally passionate for care. Years ago my ex and I took a cult-like course.  Not one of our best decisions except for one take-home message . . . significant decisions or events in your life will be remembered in great detail. How true that is.  As I review best practice in providing recreation, stories come to mind.  The…

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