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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Don’t Be an Instigator!!!

When I was growing up, my mother would often use the word instigator to describe my bad behavior. If I was bothering my sister or trying to pick a fight, she would frequently say, “Don’t be an instigator!!!” That meant back off and don’t make trouble. As a parent I now understand where she was coming from. She had enough to worry about without my making her life more difficult. However, as an adult and as a business leader, I also understand that instigators are a necessary and important part of our lives. Dr. Bill Thomas is by my definition…

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Innovation before Medication

An older resident, (let’s call him Rafael), born in Italy, an artist, dealing with late stage dementia, losing his ability to communicate in English, reacting in unpredictable ways, such as screaming in Italian whenever anyone wants to provide support of any kind, and visibly agitated at his loss of control . . . Limited Options Let’s be honest, there’s not a lot of options to help residents find comfort during these difficult situations, which has led to a dependence on pharmaceutical solutions. That is, unless you’re Vetter Health Services in Nebraska. The mindset at Vetter is not to focus on…

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Blogging: An autobiography in progress

Saul Alinsky wrote:  “We learn, when we respect the dignity of the people, that they cannot be denied the elementary right to participate fully in the solutions to their own problems. Self-respect arises only out of people who play an active role in solving their own crises and who are not helpless, passive, puppet-like recipients of private or public services. To give people help, while denying them a significant part in the action, contributes nothing to the development of the individual. In the deepest sense it is not giving but taking—taking their dignity. Denial of the opportunity for participation is the denial of…

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Time to Get Serious

Published by Dr. Al Power, republished by permission from ChangingAging I didn’t make it to the Gerontological Society of America conference this year, but McKnight’s reported that a study was presented highlighting the frequent episodes of “resident-on-resident mistreatment” in nursing homes, affecting as many as 20 percent of those residents every month. The “acute urgency” of the problem was stressed in the talk. After speaking at the Centralina Annual Aging conference in Charlotte recently, an attendee brought something to my attention. A person living with dementia had walked into another person’s room (in a residential care setting) in the middle…

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