The Wall Street Journal has a very good article on aging, titled, “To Age Well, Change How You Feel About Aging“. While some of it is, okay, just common sense, a good portion is really thought stimulating.
We all understand the importance of attitude in our lives. This article reinforces that:
In test after test, researchers are finding that if we think about getting older in terms of decline or disability, our health likely will suffer. If, on the other hand, we see aging in terms of opportunity and growth, our bodies respond in kind.
One of the problems facing folks, as they age, is the plethora of negative stereotypes about aging in our society. Elders and those approaching that status actually have to resist allowing those stereotypes to bring them down, mentally, to avoid negative consequences, physically.
Many seniors are, in fact, doing a great job with that assignment:
So, if you are feeling negative about the aging process, STOP IT! It impacts you and it impacts the seniors around you. Stay positive to stay healthy! That is what many elders are doing:
For much more on this topic, click on the WSJ story link at the top.
Best wishes. Bert
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An article at HealthITAnalytics.com takes a big step in the right direction, concerning making Electronic Health Records (EHR) more valuable in the provision of health care. The American Academy of Nursing issued a policy statement that EHR “are incomplete and … Continue reading
I wrote a bit ago about the fact that Support For Home In-Home Care is certified by the Music & Memory organization – and we are delighted by that. The program was designed for use in facilities, and it is rather more complex to implement and administer in multiple home care settings, which is one reason we are among only a few home care agencies to be certified.
However, the benefits of Music & Memory, as part of the skillset of a trained caregiver, is truly amazing.
We introduced the program in the home of one of our clients recently, and, yesterday, we received the first detailed report from one of her Support For Home caregivers. This client has dementia, which is the “target” population for Music & Memory.
We have had some difficulty getting this client to be more social and accepting of home care, until recently. We have made a few breakthroughs, but we were really hoping Music & Memory would open her up to more reflection and communication. Well, as reported by our Home Care Aide, it worked! 🙂
Here are some of the songs they listed to, and the results:
- “Love Me Tender” – “She was able to explain to me the details of how she would work for money to buy Elvis’ records. She even told me about the bright design in the record store.”
- “I’m Gettin’ Smitten” – She explained to me how she would get her girlfriends and practice dancing. They practiced almost twice a week, so that they would be able to dance properly at the neighborhood dance.”
- “God Bless America” – “As soon as it played she was able to remember the artist and the song’s name. She told me about how she and her friends would save up 10 cents to be able to see her at the theatre. She also explained how she was very popular with adults and young adults. This brought her to remember that you could only ever hear orchestras in church, which was why her music was so popular.”
- “Can’t Help Lovin'” – “She began to sing the lyrics to the song. She said she remembers hearing it on the radio from 1930 to 1940. She kept listening to it on the radio until they got a TV.”
- “I’ll Be Seeing You” – “She said she can still hear her mother singing that song. It was one of her favorites, although her father hated it. She laughed when she told me how her mother would sing it and her father would make faces.”
There is more – and there will be much, much more Music & Memory in our client’s life. It is absolutely amazing. The program has all of us in the office creating our own playlists for our own future caregivers to use! 🙂
Best wishes. Bert
Dementia Today is a pretty darn good blog side for folks in our industry – and for families – to check out now and then. In a recent posting, they talk about some research out of the Mayo Clinic, involving issues of guilt felt by caregivers caring for folks with dementia. The gist of the research is that such caregivers are carrying around a whole lot of guilt that they should not feel. Of course, “should” and “should not” are the two most useless examples of advice in the history of humankind. We should not use them! 🙂
The fact is, what we feel, as caregivers, is real. The old cliche that “Perception is reality” is all too true about this issue. Here are some of the types of guilt that dementia caregivers are carrying around:
- Guilt over realizing how they treated or judged the person with dementia before knowing what was going on (before diagnosis)
- Guilt that somehow they are not caregiving as well as they should, or that others do a better job
- Guilt over feeling resentful, trapped, unloving, or a host of other negative thoughts
- Guilt for wanting time for themselves, for using respite care so they can have a break
- Guilt for doing things without their loved one that they once enjoyed together
- Guilt for not visiting enough
- Guilt for wishing it was over
- And there’s at least one more I must mention, caregivers may feel guilty for not feeling guilty.
Some of these issues hold great value as teachable moments for all of us. The very first one is a great example. How many families have just wanted (or told) Mom or Dad to just act normal, and then learned that it was Alzheimer’s or Vascular Dementia or Dementia with Lewy Bodies that was the real issue – and that Mom or Dad was never again going to be the same person who raised them.
Every family needs to study the aging experience, including the issues of dementia and other diseases associated with unhealthy aging. Preparation is vital.
In the meantime, families facing the issues of caring for a dementia sufferer need to move beyond wishing and guilt to getting support and taking action. We at Support For Home and other high quality, high integrity elder care agencies can be a big help in that effort.
Your experiences are welcome.
Best wishes. Bert
I came across a great piece on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, entitled “The Best Alzheimer’s Caregiver Tool of Them All, Harvey“. I hope you will check it out. Frankly, the creativity and imagination of caregivers, especially those caring for folks with various forms of dementia, continues to amaze and delight me. In this instance, it is the imagination of Bob DeMarco that makes me shake my head and smile.
It continues to amaze me how many simple but marvelous tools we have to make the lives of those suffering from dementia significantly better – and make the lives of the caregivers better and easier, as well.
Whether it is a simple, straightforward approach, like Habilitation Therapy, or the marvelous Music and Memory program that we have adopted at Support For Home In-Home Care, or any number of other inventive approaches, we are lucky to have so many bright people focused on the problems of dementia care and able to share their ideas through social media, around the world.
What are the best ideas you have found – techniques, props, whatever – to help you as a dementia caregiver?
Best wishes. Bert
When you are in the elder care industry, you tend to have a very serious and “politically correct” perspective on the issues of aging. Frankly, we always will, at Support For Home In-Home Care. The issues we face and that … Continue reading