I am a writer who specializes in dementia. I am always seeking to learn more about dementia in its various forms, and I want to help people who, like me, are loving and caring for someone with dementia. More and more I have come to realize that dementia and ordinary life share many “personality traits”. Today let’s look at a very common trait between ordinary life and dementia.
We have all heard the phrase, “What you see is what you get.” That is very seldom true. We might envision life in a certain way, but reality plays out much differently. For example, we see the new job as being exactly what we have always sought, and reality shows all the flaws and struggles that come with the new position. We think the new boyfriend or girlfriend is so much better than last week’s option, and then we see personality traits that drive us bonkers. The get rich quick plan seems fabulous, and then we find we have been scammed. We do not always get what we see when it comes to life.
Dementia is the same way. Many folks enter the home of an individual with advanced dementia, and they see someone who can’t remember, can’t feed themselves, can’t read, and can’t complete a sentence. They decide what they SEE is not worth their effort. This person has nothing to offer, and they choose not to bother themselves with visiting. Many who look at people with dementia tend to wonder why the latter are not placed in a home with Senior Companion Care in Palm Harbor (or anywhere in their vicinity) by their family members – and they are somewhat right to think so too! The truth, however, is this individual is more than what you see.
Spend some time sitting next to them. You could also help them treat dementia symptoms by making them listen to songs and music that were meaningful to them at some point in their lives. Dementia music therapy may be extremely beneficial in providing emotional and behavioral benefits to people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Since key brain areas associated with musical memory are relatively unaffected by Alzheimer’s disease, musical memories are frequently preserved.
You could position yourself on their dominant side (it will increase their ability to comprehend), place your hand on their shoulders, use the palm of your hand to rub a figure eight onto the top of their back, and look directly into their eyes while you smile broadly. Ask them about high school or growing up or what they did for a living. You might be surprised at what you learn. Be patient while they tell their story. Do not try to help with words, do not correct facts, and do not look away. Allow them to enjoy your undivided attention, and you might discover that “what you see is NOT what you get”.
Carol Howell is a Certified Dementia Specialist and Endorsed Life Coach with an emphasis on Creative Music Experiences. After her husband’s closed-head injury in 1996 and her mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2006, Carol began her study of the brain and the various forms of dementia that exist. Through her not-for profit company, Senior Life Journeys, she is actively involved in the lives of individuals who are caregiving for a loved-one with dementia as she helps them develop caregiving techniques. Carol’s latest book, Let’s Talk Dementia-A Caregiver’s Guide, is an Amazon #1 Best Seller, and it is an easy to read guide for caregivers of individuals with dementia. She also wrote the best seller If My Body Is A Temple, Why Am I Eating Doughnuts? It tells of the amazing miracle that caused her to lose 100 pounds. You can follow her blog—Something to Ponder—at www.seniorlifejourneys.com.