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Teepa Snow, Leading Expert on Dementia

This week, I had the opportunity to attend a work shop on dementia by one of America’s leading experts on the topic; Teepa Snow.  It was both informative, and funny as she kept our attention the entire six hours.  Below, is a clip from her site.  She has a great deal of information you can use to improve your care for those with dementia.

http://teepasnow.com/resources/teepa-tips-videos/dementia-101/

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Live Life to the Fullest

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All About Me- My Story

Currently, I am working as a hospice volunteer coordinator.  Recently, I put together a list of items, or stories a parent or grandparent might want to write down and pass on.  It was the passing of my grandmother, that made me think of such a list.  Nene died this winter; she was 98.  She hadn’t been able to communicate much for years, and the opportunity to ask these type of questions, sadly is gone.

When I think about what is the most valuable item a person could leave for another person, I think it might be an “All About Me” journal.  This journal could be passed on for generations to come.  If you have an elderly person in your life, or someone who is on hospice, this is a terrific thing to do.

Purchase a good quality journal (acid free paper), have the person write down the answers in their own writing (printing-not cursive), or have another individual write down the answers.  If there are multiple children, find a way to make a copy of it.  Finally, attach personal photos in the journal.  Consider the best time to share it.  An individual who completes it him or herself, may want to share it with the “receiver”, or wrap it up and place it aside for a special gift for some time in the future.

Below is my list (include any additional items that come to mind)

Read the rest of this entry »

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A Beautiful Gift

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This was a very touching story of a young man named Chris (aged 31), who took in an elderly neighbor named Norma who was dying from Leukemia.  He credited her with “changing his life for the better and helping to teach him to be a kinder, gentler and more compassionate person”.  After she died, he posted her photo on Facebook and he wrote this message:

“To love another is not about living struggle free or never experiencing hurt or loss, but to fully and deeply open our hearts to one another without fear. Each of us is lovable even with all of our differences. Love has no boundaries”.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2017/02/16/ailing-89-year-old-who-moved-in-with-actor-neighbor-dies.html

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Doll Therapy

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Have you considered doll therapy when working with individuals with memory loss?  This article lists the pros and cons.  Overall, I think the benefits can be tremendous.  I have observed elderly women in long-term care who talk to their doll and care for it.  The doll is very comforting and provides great joy to the patient.

I just recently watched a documentary on adults- both men and women who are serious doll collectors (Barbie dolls and Reborn dolls) and they have no memory loss.  Some women even bring their Reborn dolls out in public and push them in strollers.

I think it’s a great idea.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/03/495655678/doll-therapy-may-help-calm-people-with-dementia-but-it-has-critics

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Eugenia Smiled

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Do you work with seniors who have end-stage (or advanced) Alzheimer’s?  Have you found it challenging to connect to them in a meaningful way?  It can be difficult without knowing something about what they used to enjoy.  Below is a story of Eugenia, a senior who was 100 years old and was told that she didn’t need a volunteer.  Not only did she have an advanced case of Alzheimer’s, she was partially blind and had hearing difficulties.

A volunteer coordinator decided to place a volunteer with Eugenia every day of the week.  Each day volunteers read to her.  Volunteers also oriented Eugenia to her surroundings and the time.  Week after week, Eugenia continued to be unaware of the companionship she was receiving.  But one day, a young volunteer sang his university’s fight song.  Then it happened- Eugenia’s feet began to tap.  She bobbed her head and lifted her eyes.  With all eyes on Eugenia, she looked up and spread her lips and smiled.

It took time and patience.  It took finding what Eugenia needed to connect to the outside world.  Her smile meant so much to those volunteers- they had finally made a connection.  What she needed was music!

http://seniorsmiles.org/about-us/stories

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Possible Link Between Calcium Supplements and Dementia

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According to a new study, “calcium supplements may be associated with an increased risk of dementia in older women who have had a stroke or other signs of cerebrovascular disease. The research is published in the August 17, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.”

This article goes on to explain, that the study was small and does not state that there is a direct link between calcium supplements and dementia, however it does say there may be a link and that more research needs to be completed.  For more information, see the article below.

https://www.aan.com/PressRoom/home/PressRelease/1487

 

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