Understanding Uncontrollable Crying or Laughing

by Sheila, a mother living with early-onset Alzheimer’s dementia After my father passed away in ’99, I went into a depression. Coincidentally, at about the same time, I started getting Alzheimer’s symptoms. My daughter, Dominique, says it was like I was going into a daze. In addition to my other symptoms, I found myself having these episodes where I would just start crying out of the blue and I would have to shut myself away where people couldn’t see me. I thought the crying outbursts were just part of the depression. But then I also started having episodes of uncontrollable…

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Preventing Compassion Fatigue

by Kay Glidden, MS Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist & Trainer Co-owner, Compassion Resiliency Dr. Naomi Remen said in her book, Kitchen Table Wisdom: “The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet.” Do you ever feel frustrated or impatient taking care of your loved one who is living with dementia? This is a normal consequence of experiencing compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is the emotional erosion of our ability to experience empathy and compassion towards others. I…

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PURPOSE AND DREAMS

by Robert Bowles, Jr., a retired pharmacist diagnosed with LBD at age 64. “Think back where you would be today if you had not had a purpose in life. The same is true after a diagnosis of LBD (Lewy Body Dementia). Finding your purpose in life is important. As I mentioned for me, it was advocate, educate and sharing my experience strength and hope. Yours might be different. My challenge to you today is to live life to the fullest. There is life after a diagnosis of LBD. Personally, I refuse to let LBD rule me — I WILL rule LBD….

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SOMETHING WILL BE DONE! (The caretaker’s affirmation)

By Iona Morris, an American voice actress Hope, Faith that something can be done And, money… Is all we have To add to the action of those in the field journeying Into how the mind works. Oh. And, our love And, our tears of what was lost to a mind Changed. Drifting away so fast We cannot keep up. Can’t take a pill Can’t go to the gym Can’t juice THIS away… “Who took my mom, But left her body here And put that… 5 year old in her place?” “Why is my sweet dad so mean to me?”

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Person-Centered Dementia Care Encourages International Exchange of Ideas

by: Mara Botonis, Access and Utilization Work Group Co-Chair, Dementia Action Alliance I leaned in and asked the former zookeeper, “Which animal in the zoo was the most difficult to care for?” She responded “The monkeys” without hesitation and with a knowing sparkle in her eye that wordlessly conveyed that she knew more than a little something about this topic. She quickly added that the reason she chose monkeys was because “they are always SO naughty!” before her face gave way into a huge grin as she drew me closer. The gesture seemed to invite me to join her in visiting the many…

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Art in the Park – GEM Adult Daycare

by: Gail Sonnesso, MS, QDCS, Founder and Executive Director GEM Day Services, Inc. a non-profit working to provide meaningful programs for families with their loved ones living with memory loss at home Art at the Park is a GEM program for folks with memory loss fashioned to provide meaningful afternoons for both the person with dementia and their family caregiver. It is widely accepted that 70% of people with dementia live in the home and with this in mind GEM works to provide meaningful activities for families caring for their loved ones in the home environment. For example, one of our…

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There Is No One Better Than You to Speak Up

by Michael Ellenbogen, Dementia Advocate I am going to start with the end in mind. You can do all this no matter what your challenges are. In 2008 I was given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease after struggling for 10 years. As a workaholic I found it difficult when I could no longer work, or have purpose in life; something that is so important so we do not spiral into decline. Early-on I reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association hoping I could volunteer my time in a meaningful way. However, it transpired that no one was willing to trust me…

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