The Prescribing Cascade

"I'm having difficulty sleeping, doc." Robert's physician prescribed a sleeping aide so Robert can sleep better at the long-term care facility he resides. Then, Robert starts to feel irritable in the morning when he awakes. Subsequently, he is prescribed an anti-anxiety medication to take in the morning and as needed. Roberts starts taking the anti-anxiety medication and then starts to feel more sleepy during the day, less productive and motivated, groggy, and having difficulty concentrating. He's isolating more in his room and not spending time doing the things he used to like to do. And because he is sleeping more during the day, he isn't sleeping much at night, even though he continues to take the sleep aide that his physician prescribed. He lets his physician know that he has been sleeping more than usual, not as sociable as he used to be, is having difficulty concentrating, and unmotivated. His physician then prescribes Robert an anti-depressant...When does it stop?!

A side...

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A Dementia Case Study in Treating Clean: My Name is Betty

"Betty was having a particularly tough afternoon. As the hours wore on, she started to become agitated with the people around her. She was wandering with an angry look, cursing, unwilling to listen, and trying to push people away if they became physically close. Betty repeated to herself, 'I want to go home; I want to go home.'

I stepped in to help calm Betty and prevent any further escalation. Approaching Betty gently, I presented myself in a calm manner with a smile on my face. I spoke to Betty in a calm, monotone voice. I played soothing sounds, used a lavender essential oil blend aromatically, and gave her a light touch so she knew that she was safe. Betty calmed down within minutes and even wanted to spend more time together."

Betty lived in a memory care facility. Appealing to Betty’s senses helped to deescalate the moment (visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile stimulation) and made her feel calm, while it made me feel confident and competent for helping her....

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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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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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Treat Clean

We've talked about thinking and feeling clean, i.e., swapping out toxic, quick fixes for long-term, effective, clean strategies for managing cognitive, mental, and emotional health. These are individual choices, however, what about if you are a professional treating patients or residents. What are their choices? Often in medical settings, it's quick to prescribe or give a pill to fix these very concerns. Like, a dementia patient starts to yell out, is repetitively talking, and wandering around, often they are given a PRN medication to calm them down. Why? What else could have been done? It's our due diligence to inform the patient, resident or their family on alternatives to medication - non-pharmacological interventions. What are those alternatives?

Great alternatives for mental and emotional health are essential oil use, like lavender for relaxation or agitation, peppermint to focus and socialize, or lemon or wild orange to boost mood. Other alternatives might be journaling,...

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Is Your Community CLEAN?

As time progresses, we think it is safe to say that we are maneuvering under a strict cleanliness guide. At the very least, it is the one thing we know for sure.

Unfortunately, COVID has presented challenges in communities that have been difficult to navigate. Each day, we struggle with deciding our next steps as the unknown is great. Emotionally and physically, we are challenged as each day passes to create a safe environment. Statistically, the vintage folks are at a much higher risk, but we believe that natural solutions can be quite effective and consoling.

We have been extremely impressed with some implementations that have been occurring in communities and facilities. Essential oils and aromatherapy have been used for thousands of years and can be added to aid in cleanliness. This tool is popping up more and more in the medical community as a way to aid them for their patient care. It is such a positive step in the direction to supporting the body and brain at being...
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Think Clean

Everyone is pretty keen on cleanliness these days! And, why shouldn't they be? We are living in a society that has relied heavily on being clean. What does that mean? Should we be concerned with over-clean? Don't we rely on bacteria and viruses to keep our immune systems strong? Is there a balance? How about being clean with your emotional and cognitive health?

We think that there is and so do other communities, like yours, that are adding additional layers of support using non-pharmacological care. We thought we would share some really great ideas that you can implement; we can even help create a program just for you and yours in mind. Here is some food for thought.

In a small study of 28 individuals with dementia, a blend of rosemary and lemon were used in the morning, and one made from lavender and orange in the evening, as summarized on Health and Healing NY. Patients who were diagnosed with Alzheimer's showed a positive change in dementia...

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Depression in Dementia

During this pandemic, many have had to reflect on how this has impacted their mental health. However, our residents, patients or loved ones with dementia aren't able to reflect like this and need us to really help them through this. 

I wanted to share an excerpt from my upcoming book on dementia care directed towards families about how to help those who have dementia and are experiencing depression.

"Depression is very common for individuals living with dementia. Although the exact causes of depression in Alzheimer Disease are unknown, it is clear that changes in brain chemistry play a role. Changes to brain chemistry may be triggered internal by aging, genetics, or another disease, such as Alzheimer disease. External factors such as experiencing the death of a family or friend, work or troubles, or other traumas and stressors may also trigger changes to brain chemistry leading to depression.

            With this...

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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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