Grandma Eileen

I had a Grandma Eileen (I really did!) but unfortunately she passed away when she was only in her early 60’s.  This Grandma Eileen is now 100 and she’s a hoot!

Grandma Eileen

Parkinson’s Disease and music

I often use music for its ability to help calm and soothe dementia patients with behavioral issues but hadn’t seen the way it can help with other conditions.  I saw this video and thought it was good information to pass on.

I’ve worked with Parkinson’s patients in the past, and my own dad who had Lewy Body dementia (Parkinson’s and dementia together).  I wish I had known about this sooner to help them remain steady on their feet just a bit longer …

Parkinson’s and music – get you moving

Opening new doors in dementia care

One of the biggest complaints a lot of people have regarding large care facilities is how cold and sterile they often feel.

Often in memory care units I see residents wandering from door to door wondering which room is theirs.  The doors are all the same and none feel (or look) like home.  I’ve found out about a product that helps with that problem.

Imagine being able to put a sticker on the door that makes an institutional door look just like the front door from your loved one’s home?  There’s a care facility in The Netherlands that’s doing just that for their residents and it’s receiving rave reviews from the residents.

Check out the article and videos:

True Doors

Everyone is important!

making an impact

 

This is a two way street in caregiving.  As a caregiver I know I have something to give to the seniors I help.  I give them the help they need to remain independent in their homes.  I give them companionship and love.  I do my best to give them a reason to smile on a bad day.  I give support and compassion to family members wanting the best for their aging loved ones.

At the same time I get so much from the same people I care for.  They share insights from their life experiences.  They tell me about the ways history impacted their lives giving me a better understanding of events from the past.  They share humorous anecdotes from their life making me laugh even on a bad day.  They offer their companionship and love making my day brighter.

We all have something to offer to each other, we just have to look within ourselves and offer what we have.  You will be amazed what you will receive when you give what you have to offer.

Dementia diagnosis … NOW WHAT?

If there’s one thing I’ve heard the most from family members of dementia patients it would be the words … “Now what?”

Dementia is a terrifying disease that slowly robs us of the people we love.  Dementia makes it difficult for the sufferer to make their wishes known, and often isn’t caught until the ability to make rational decisions has already begun to erode.

So what happens?  A good primary doctor will refer to a neurologist or gerontologist.  They will do further tests, determine as best as they can the type of dementia.  They will prescribe medications that will help with some of the symptoms and behaviors.

If the dementia patient is lucky, they will have a caring family to step up and help manage care (or do the caregiving themselves).  If resources are available, they will be able to afford for someone to come in to help or assisted living care.

Sometimes the diagnosis is given to the one suffering from memory loss … which they can’t remember, or rationally think through what needs to happen next.

There are so many issues to work through.  Managing basic needs (food, water, shelter), emotional and psychological support, money and resource management, the list goes on and on.

I would love to see that a new specialty that newly diagnosed dementia patients are referred to immediately.  This would be more of a social worker type of a position.  They would help the patient get their support system in place.  They would know about local resources.  They would engage family members of the patient in conversation about how to help care for their loved one.  If there was no family available or willing to take part, they would help get a guardianship established.

The goal would be to try to make sure that the dementia patient would have the support they need to live out their lives in safety.  They would be able to have dignity and support during what are often very frustrating and confusing times.  This would also help the families with the burning now what question.