I recently made a trip to my home state where I was able to spend time with my daughter and my sister both together and separately. It was a great time. One day we visited an area of Baltimore which was where both my sister and I remember going to pick Dad up on the days Mom needed to use the one car. My sister is 10 years older which often makes quite a bit of difference in the memories. Dad worked for the B & O Railroad, so we were at Henderson’s Wharf in Fells Point. Now the train…
Working with fully operational cognition, I am struck with the difficulties of transitioning from one job to another. The last month between jobs at age 24 felt the same as this last month at 54. There’s the anticipation of life changes as a result. There’s the fear of the sanity of the decision. There’s the sadness at leaving dear clients and co-workers. And there’s the “it’s almost here” that reaches way back to the pre-Christmas days of childhood. Each day holds a level of emotion that did not exist pre-decision. In Alzheimer’s care we protect the cognitively challenged from transitions…
For the Small Voice
Fathers are such powerful people in our lives. Some of us were “daddy’s little girls”. Some of us were always a bit afraid of disappointing Dad. Some of us are adults bound with grudge and resentment towards our dad. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum, the role of father holds great power in your psyche. I was the Manager on Duty this weekend and was pleased to talk with daughters calling their fathers or mothers. In memory care we spend a lot of time in the world of family bereavement and loss. We see an amazing individual in…
Holiday. Today is a day to remember those who gave and lost for their country. For some of us that is a distant thought—those too young to have heard the stories of Pearl Harbor. Those who have not had a veteran in their lineage for generations. For them, we use sensory cues to help them remember, help them glimpse what sacrifice was made. The cues are flags, the colors of red, white & blue, patriotic music, historic programming, and parades. All sensory cues that bring the individual to a memory and a memorial. For myself, I carry the stories of…
Imagine a World
Imagine a world where savory memories had no place to be shared. At the ripe age of 53, in the middle of the night—half awake. half asleep my mind meanders through memories. Random sensory moments. I try to envision walking the beach with a gentle tide lapping at my feet—I’m alone or walking quietly with another. I can only envision this because I pleasantly remember many times doing this. I drift a bit. Then somehow I wake, connect to the present, it’s too late to talk to my partner. But I am assured that I will be able to sometime….
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…
Last weekend passionate people committed to changing the face of long-term care met in Little Rock, Arkansas. 1200 strong, they came from many states, many types of care backgrounds but focused on one goal—changing care. It was an inspiring gathering with long-time personal heroes like Bill Thomas and Dr. Richard Taylor taking concepts to a new level. I was fortunate enough to be one of many guides to personalizing care. It was a powerful weekend that will serve as fuel for my teaching, my research and my writing.
Dementia Care Australia
In researching person-centered care and its impact on both staff and residents with dementia, I followed the source to Dementia Care Australia. It is a look into what I hope to one day develop. The focus on facilitating culture change in facilities through training, presentations, and even products is refreshing. Check out the program, Spark of Life. It’s based in solid best practice.