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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24 Hours in a Day

There are 24 hours in a day. How do you spend them? You might be thinking, especially now with more people being home or more time on the frontlines, "I work", "I take care of my kids", "I help my child with e-learning", "I'm taking care of my parents"...where do you fall into this? You, yes YOU, are the common denominator to make all this happen. Who takes care of you, so you can do all of this? When do you take care of you, so you can do all of this? 

Here's the long of the short of it...you are in charge of your self-care. You choose how you spend the 24 hours that are in the day. Let's break this down. Generally speaking and in line with health standards, people get 6-8 hours of sleep a night. That leaves you with 16-18 hours left. If you work, you may work 8-10 hour days (give or take). Now, that leaves you with 6-8 hours. You then may need to assist your kids with homework or the aftermath of e-learning; let's say that's about 2-4 hours. You now have about 4-6 hours....

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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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