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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Take Control

It's been our mission since day one to put non-pharmacological tools (or formerly known as coping skills) in the hands of healthcare providers, caregivers, and those with dementia and mental health concerns to help them manage the symptoms of these diseases. Often times you hear, "I just don't have time for that." Others say, "It's easier to just call the doctor." Not having time or only calling a doctor to secure your fate doesn't really seems to help the situation. Think about this...

Not having time means the next easier step may be to pop a pill. Did you know it takes about 30 minutes for that pill to start working? What are you doing during those 30 minutes? Couldn't you be using a non-pharmacological intervention or tool? It takes seconds to minutes for these kinds of tools to work. So if it works, then taking that pill was an unhealthy waste of time on your body or your resident's/patient's body. Why, because all medications have negative side effects. Now, we aren't to say...

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Clean Faster

What if we told you that you can treat clean faster? This means that non-pharmacological tools can work faster than most as needed, oral medications used to treat anxiety, excessive agitation, and more. 

In long-term care, and most other treating entities, CMS requires that healthcare providers attempt to use non-pharmacological interventions first before giving medications to treat symptoms of dementia and mental health concerns - anxiety, depression, agitation, wandering, repetitive behaviors, hoarding, aggression, and so on. Treating clean in this fashion is a Win, Win! Your organization is in compliance, it helps your 5-star rating and increases your reimbursement, while the resident or patient is not dealing with the negative side effects of these medications, like falls, confusion, irritability, and upset stomach. 

The other advantage is that you can treat clean faster. Did you know that it can take minimally 30 minutes for as needed medications to start working, and...

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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...

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