The Road to Recovery - "Got Tools?"

“It’s going to be ok. I am here for you. You will be at peace. Hail Mary full of grace…” I’m examining her face. She has such a beautiful glow to her skin, as if she aged in reverse in a matter of hours. She appears at peace, but she has shallow breathing. Her mouth open; eyes open but focused on heaven. Although she has had dementia for several years, the coronavirus has chosen her. I wish her life didn’t have to end this way. I rub her hand with my plastic covered thumb as it’s cupped in hers. As she’s passing, there is nothing I can do, as these were her wishes. All of sudden, I wake up drenched in sweat, breathing heavy. Within a few seconds, I realized I was just dreaming, but was I really?

Working with individuals with dementia who have contracted COVID-19 has been rewarding yet incredibly challenging. After a few of these nightmares, I realized quite quickly, I don’t want to go down this road again. I experienced PTSD...

Continue Reading...

Practicing Gratitude

Through all the loss that people have experienced recently (loved ones, jobs, money, etc.), at some point, if not frequently, you stop to think about what you're grateful for. Your mind wants to shift gears from being trapped in  the negativity, reaching for something more. 

I've talked in the past about one coping skill in my toolbox is practicing gratitude. Gratitude is a reflection on what you are thankful for, what you can and should appreciate, a moment for you to stop and be in the moment with your thoughts.

Practicing gratitude might look different for you than me, and that's ok. This is how I do it. Every morning, right after I wake up, I write down in my journal 5 things I'm grateful for. I then envision me practicing that gratitude by either thanking someone if that is what I am grateful for or giving back to what I am thankful for. Lastly, I carry out that act sometime that day or week. 

Notice that it's not just about writing it down but actually...

Continue Reading...

Post-Traumatic Stress: This is My Story

Uncategorized

I sit here holding your hand with my gloved hand, stroking it gently with my thumb back and forth and back and forth. I look into your eyes and give you a look to reassure you. We spend time together - me exchanging words with you, making sounds, or humming a song through my face mask and goggles. Your breaths become rapid. We call your family. They get to see you one last time. They cry, but you give them a look that everything will be alright. You are at peace. Your vitals are dropping and breaths become even more rapid. You look back at me and close your eyes. 

Working the frontlines over the last few months has been incredibly rewarding yet exhausting, touching yet sad, hopeful yet hopeless, all at the same time. I’m one of the many that sit with your loved ones or patients with dementia day in and day out as they struggle with COVID-19. I’m the one of many that help feed and take care of them. I’m the one of many that rush to grab the oxygen when they are...

Continue Reading...

The COVID Trauma Through My Eyes: A Look into the Temporary Stay-at-Home Parent

It’s been a solid 13 weeks since the insurance company I work for sent us home to work remotely due to the pandemic. I thought, “Holy cow, this is a dream come true!! Roll out of bed and just log on to my computer to work, wear pajamas all day, have no one breathing down my neck, this will be a cake walk.”  As they say, ‘the grass is always greener on the other side.’ Or is it?

My wife works in corporate healthcare and quickly her flexibility was gone. She was pulled to the front lines to help as other workers got sick or absent due to fears of catching the Coronavirus.

Now she is gone 12 hours a day working in a COVID unit at a nursing home. It's scary enough that she could contract the virus, get sick and die, but also bring it home, possibly infecting myself or our two children (4 and 5 years old). That’s pretty stressful in itself as we all live in the same home, touch the same door handles, eat at the same table, and sleep in the same...

Continue Reading...

The Next Pandemic: Post-Traumatic Stress

From the beeping of machines to patients gasping for air, from seeing your loved one for the last time on FaceTime to making funeral arrangements, from working in your office at work to filling your full-time hours at home while homeschooling your children, from socializing in your community groups to being isolated at home, from working on the frontlines to then developing symptoms and isolating from your family, from going to regular Tuesday BINGO group to being in your room all the time in a nursing home  and watching through the window young kids playing in their pool across the street, this pandemic has affected all of us in some way. All of our experiences might be different but what is common is the realization that this has been a traumatic, trying time etched in all of our minds. 

I believe our next pandemic will be suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Trauma is experienced differently from one person to the next. Someone may be coping well while another may feel...

Continue Reading...

The Pandemic: A Look at a Teenager's Experience and How He's Coping

My name is Kaiden, and I am 16 years old. These are my top 3 things to combat the blues these days. It has been pretty stressful being in quarantine at times. I am missing my friends and soccer. My family has done a great job at creating things to do. I really do enjoy being with them, but when I start to feel a little out of control, there are a couple of things that I go to.

One is soccer; I have nets and a field in my backyard, so being outside in the sun running off my energy or troubles is huge for me. I have SID and ADHD so moving around is the only option to release for me sometimes!

Second, whenever it is nice out, my mom always sends us out in the backyard, so it's natural for me to use that as a coping skill. The sunshine always makes me feel better.

Third, I have been using essential oils for 8 years now to control all kinds of issues. I am pretty good at remembering which oils are good for what, but my mom has an awesome reference book about our oils in the...

Continue Reading...

Anxiety in Dementia

Anxiety and worry will show up differently for our family, patients and clients who have dementia. It would be great if they could just say, “I’m feeling really anxious right now.” To recognize and then verbalize it is something we might expect but won’t get. If we continue to expect this to happen, then this in of itself leaves us as caregivers endlessly frustrated. I mean, many of us don’t recognize and verbalize it unless we have really good insight. How would we expect people with dementia to do this?

So why can’t they just tell us? Unfortunately, the skills needed to do just this simple task are dwindling, like insight, good judgement, problem-solving, anticipating risks and language, because the parts of the brain that manage and control these skills are affected by the disease little by little. 

Therefore, instead of words, individuals with dementia are going to show us in other ways that they are anxious. For instance, they might...

Continue Reading...

What is Aromatherapy?

     Aromatherapy is an intervention that I not only use personally for myself and my family but also for my patients and clients. I wanted to share an excerpt from my new book that will launch an innovative dementia care model in Spring 2021, being published by Johns Hopkins University.

‘Aromatherapy is a relatively safe, all-natural use of essential oils to provide healing of the mind, body, and spirit. Essential oil use can be a form of olfactory, gustatory (taste), and tactile (touch) stimulation. Although research has shown that smell may decrease as Alzheimer disease progresses, the nose is still an entry way for the sensory stimuli of essential oils because the nasal cavity and nerve cells in the nasal lining are the closest entry to the limbic system. This connection between the sense of smell and the limbic system accounts for influence of essential oils on mood and memory. When using essential oils, they want to restore the body back to its natural...

Continue Reading...

My Oil Regimen

I’ve been managing COVID symptoms for about 2 weeks. My symptoms have been mild but yet odd. Parts of the day I feel no different than a usual day and other parts of the day I experience symptoms. Additionally, my symptoms change, alternate if you will. My symptoms fluctuate from hot flashes and cold chills, moments of headaches nausea, aches and pains to severe body pains, much fatigue and tiredness, intermittent night sweats, and a fluctuating sore throat and cough. I’ve put together an oil regimen to keep my symptoms more or less under control, or at least to not progress. 

With rest, relaxation, a good book, and binge watching TV shows, I put 1 drop of Clove in my coffee in the morning to clear my throat. Three times a day I take in a veggie capsule, 2 drops each of Frankincense (Frank), Lemon, Oregano, OnGuard, and Tea Tree oils with a few drops of coconut oil to manage symptoms related to the flu. I take 2 capsules of Deep Blue supplements to manage muscular...

Continue Reading...

Anxiety Has Nothing To Do About Today

Today I sit here, as the co-owner of NeuroEssence, having developed the symptoms of COVID-19. Many thoughts go through my head – how will I continue to care for my family, how can I continue to service our clients remotely, how is it possible to lead others when I’m sick myself. I even have had morbid thoughts, brief thoughts of worsening symptoms, having to move from my home, needing to be hospitalized and even ventilated. What if I die?

All these thoughts came to a screeching halt when I realized that my negative, swirling and spiraling thoughts aren’t helping my situation. They are making it worse, causing me to get up at 230AM and losing sleep.

My kids are worried about Mommy and will I ever get better; my husband is concerned about my health – his wife, mother of his children, and best friend. My family checks on me in fear of losing me, and my friends think about the what if. My colleagues worry about our future together.

My anxiety, and the anxiety of...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3
Close

NeuroEssence Emails

You are one step closer to receiving the latest updates on research, resources, and education on alternative and complimentary therapies for the vintage population.