bill chris jan 2017

In my ongoing “Face of Lewy Body” series, I want to talk about two very important concepts to the person with dementia. Identity and relationship.

The diagnosis of dementia can literally make a person feel as if they have lost who they are. Sometimes it seems that those around them reinforce that by their reactions and dismissal. I recognize this and seek out friends and experiences that will lift my husband up and help him feel embraced and loved.

Here’s a photo from his recent monthly USNA alumni luncheon. When we arrived last week and I was helping him get his coat off, I saw everyone stop and watch us. But, it wasn’t with judgmental eyes. I believe they were trying to understand. John got up and helped me get Bill situated and seated among his friends. I can’t tell you how much this time together means to me (and to him:-)

The guys spent two hours sharing books, war stories and all the wild shenanigans they had done as young men. What a brotherhood! Through this wonderful group, Bill has retained his identity and has certainly found caring and loving relationships that I know will persevere.

Here is “The lesson: Preserve identity, celebrate personhood and create meaning in the moment” ~ Dr. G. Allen Power.

 

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Face of Lewy Body series: Holiday Celebrations

by dale on December 28, 2016

img_2051In my ongoing series of the “Face of Lewy Body”, this week’s insight is all about holiday celebrations.

Someone with dementia may be overwhelmed by all the people, noise, and change in environment during the holidays … things that we take in stride. A little stress for us translates into a lot of stress for them. But, with planning and oversight, we can create wonderful experiences and memories for them.

My husband Bill had 2 amazing experiences during the Christmas holiday, and I must say the friends who were responsible had no coaching from me. They have my admiration and gratitude.

First, Bill’s caregiver Sandy gave him a personalized ornament that she hand-painted. This meant the world to her and Bill.

And, then there is our friend Karen who invites us to Christmas dinner every year. This year was a little unique in that there were more people at the gathering, including 6 year old triplets as well as 4 dachshunds! I didn’t tell Bill about this because I knew he would say, no, he would not go. After we arrived, I stayed close, watching for signs of fatigue or frustration. But it worked out great, a day of fun and joy. The house was large so Bill found a comfy chair by the tree and gentle Stella climbed up in his lap. Good food and conversation was exactly what he needed.

Lesson learned: accept invitations, celebrate together, knowing that if you need to, you can always escape to a quiet room or go home early.

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Changing Eldercare: Dr. Bill Thomas presents his disruptive vision of aging & dementia care

September 27, 2016

For decades, the only dementia story heard is one of loss and despair. But there is a new dementia story being told: a story of joy and growth. It is a story being told by, and for, people living with dementia. Geriatrician Dr. Bill Thomas is currently barnstorming the country in a rock-n-roll tour bus to […]

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The Power of Community for those with Dementia

September 19, 2016

We have all heard how important socialization is for us as we age.  That is especially true for those with dementia.  But I now believe that we must move beyond socialization to “community.”  My husband (Bill) and I experienced the depth and power of community last week when we traveled back to Annapolis, Maryland to attend […]

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Prescription Cocktails and the Older Driver

August 29, 2016

(Many thanks to our guest author, Matt Gurwell, Founder of Keeping Us Safe, LLC.  August 25, 2016) Tragedy in Denver On July, 13, 2016, on a city street in southeast Denver, 81-year-old Patricia Livingston drove her Audi A4 into two boys out for an afternoon ride on their bicycles, killing 14-year-old Cole Sukle and severely […]

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The Amazing Alternative to Nursing Home Placement

July 29, 2016

If you are a family caregiver of an aging loved one with increasing physical and mental decline, you may be getting close to a tipping point, not sure how much longer you can meet those increasing needs. You may be Overwhelmed by the increasing hands-on care that’s needed Emotionally and physically worn out Your loved […]

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Hospice Care, Individual & Family Choice

May 29, 2016

(Many thanks to our guest blogger, Ellen J. Windham, hospice professional and author of the new book, “Hospice: The Last Responder“.  It is absolutely critical that each of us be informed about our options regarding hospice.  Otherwise, we will unknowingly relinquish control of one of the most important decisions regarding our loved one’s care … […]

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Kidney Disease – Early Detection Can Save Your Life

May 23, 2016

(Many thanks to our guest blogger, Shirley Barchi, avid world traveler, hiker, lover of theatre and reading, passionate volunteer (in theatre, library and reading programs for children, and numerous athletic events)….. and now adovcate for kidney health) According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 20 million Americans – one in nine adults – have chronic kidney disease […]

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Aging parent? Send to All – Reply to All

February 22, 2016

(Many thanks to our guest blogger, Cathy Fairchild, owner of Say Yes to Less and professional organizer extraordinaire!  You may connect with Cathy and learn more about her and her awesome services at www.sayyestoless.guru) I grew up in a large family – my parents raised five sons and three daughters and I was number six.  My […]

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Best Practices in Person-Centered Care

October 13, 2015

ATTENTION: Nurses, social workers, long term care administrators!!! Michiana Gerontology Institute’s one day conference offers 5.75 Contact hours for Nurses; 5.5 CEU’s for Social Workers and Long Term Care Administrators. Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, Indiana. Thursday, October 22, 2015. This year’s conference theme, “Best Practices in Person-Centered Care” features Viki Kind ( international speaker, […]

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