Dementia Training Should be a Requirement in School

As many of you know, I am a clinical psychologist. I'm also a certified dementia practitioner and an Alzheimer's disease and dementia care trainer. I have been treating those with dementia for about 12 years now. In that time, I created and practiced my own dementia care model and even wrote a book on it, being published by Johns Hopkins in October. I've trained and educated thousands of individuals. I've done podcasts, interviews, and more regarding the field. Some would say I am one of the experts in dementia care. 

However, would you believe that I did not have one course on dementia in undergraduate or my graduate years? I remember in a course or two, perhaps a chapter included on cognitive disorders, however, it was never a focus or requirement to understand cognitive disorders. Most everything I learned about the disease of dementia came from my own doing.

Up until 12 years ago, my education and experience was mainly working with those with mental health disorders. When I...

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Start 2021 Focusing on You, including Your Career

Well, I am not afraid to say that I am grateful that 2020 is in the rearview! I have not quite come to terms with all of the events of 2020, but I do believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The thing that I am going to share with you is that I turned on that light. I do not have time to seek out opportunities, rather, I must make them! It's my personality....I do know that. I am impatient. So, rather than wait around for an opportunity, I usually create things to do and be a part of. This year will be no different. 

 

What I meant by I turned the light on is that I have the need to keep busy right now. I am sad over the loss of my father-in-law to Covid on December 9. It is so raw. He was a wonderful man, father, husband, and most importantly, Papa. Sometimes, we need to turn a light on in the darkness, rather than become a part of it. I am focusing on the beauty of his woodworking, enjoying the little things (as we usually do not as it is so...

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Self-Care at Your Fingertips

Often times when we talk to people about self-care, they are quick to say that they don't have time or they aren't sure what to do. We've also heard that's it's too costly, thinking that self-care means paying for an expensive massage, manicure or pedicure...now, don't get me wrong, those are nice self-care tools, however, self-care doesn't have to cost any money, can be done in less than 5 minutes, and it's all in your mind!

Here's how...

Instructions: Choose a quiet place, if able. Lay down or sit in a chair with both feet flat on the ground. Place your hands to your side. Either have someone read the script below and close your eyes, or keep your eyes open, read to yourself, and imagine in your mind.

"I'd like you to take 3 deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth. You are breathing from your diaphragm, not your chest.

Imagine that you are on a beach. You are sitting on your towel and you scoot yourself to the edge of the towel. You take off your shoes or...

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Everyone Wins when Healing Clean

Using non-pharmacological techniques, whether in dementia care, mental health treatment, or practicing self-care, is a step to thinking, feeling, treating, and eventually healing clean. When we heal clean, everyone wins on both sides of those non-pharmacological techniques. How does that happen?

When using non-pharmacological techniques, we have control of what we are doing, when we do it, and how we do it. The 'what' is important to know that the things we are using are healthy for us or with whom we are treating; that we aren't filling our bodies, minds, and brains with toxins, minute killers, carcinogens, or contamination or that we won't have to deal with all these negative side effects. Actually, often times when we use non-pharmacological techniques, there are side benefits to the 'what' we are using. For example, maybe filling out crossword puzzles is stimulating and invigorating, leaving you feeling productive and ready to start the day. But a side benefit is that it is also...

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Clean Dementia Care

In the effort to think, feel, treat, and heal clean, how does this apply to dementia care. It's pretty typical that as part of the disease process, those with dementia will display a number of behavioral symptoms as a way to communicate. These behavioral symptoms mean something. The individual may be hungry, thirsty, tired, in pain, or needs to use the bathroom. Or the individual might be anxious, sad, angry, scared, or bored. However, sometimes these behavioral symptoms put the individual and their care partners at risk for injury. It's important as care providers that we help to anticipate what the individuals in our care need so they don't have to act out to show us they need something. However, when the individual with dementia does act out we need to recognize what's happening and intervene.

Unfortunately, often times an as needed psychotropic medication is used immediately at hopes to stop the behavior. Essentially it slows down the individual and sometimes even makes them...

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