A guest post written for Happy Healthy Caregiver by Angel Carers.
Caring for someone living with dementia can be a challenge – it’s a complex condition that can often be difficult to understand. People with dementia often have memory problems, mood swings, anxiety and can often feel isolated. Whether you’re caring full-time for someone with dementia, or a few days a week, the following tips may make dementia care just a little bit easier.
Learn How To Communicate
When administering dementia care, be mindful as to how you’re communicating with the person with dementia. It’s important to ensure that they understand exactly what you’re telling them, especially as people with dementia often have a limited attention span. There are a few things you can do to engage with them, including:
- Adopting positive body language
- Talk in a pleasant, respectful manner
- Exaggerate your facial expressions
- Adopt a positive, upbeat tone of voice
- Use physical touch to help you to convey your message
- Turn off any background noise, such as radios and televisions
- Address your patient by name
- Maintain eye contact
- Ensure you are on the same level as them – if they are sitting down, it’s best if you sit, too
Teepa Snow engaged hundreds of Cobb County family Caregivers and further expanded their understanding of dementia. I had the privilege to hear Teepa – one of America’s leading dementia educators on dementia – at an event called ‘A Day with Teepa Snow: Today’s Voice for Dementia’ on Friday, March 31st at the Due West United Methodist Church.
I had no idea what to expect from this event since I have never even seen or heard Teepa speak. Her training is highly praised and I wanted to learn more about dementia.
Only Teepa Snow can make learning about dementia entertaining. She’s witty, spunky, and she swears (in a church!). She drives home the importance of visual cues by using her hands while she instructs. (more…)
Expert Interview – Tami Neumann & Cathy Braxton
Meet Tami Neumann & Cathy Braxton, two ladies who are disrupting the aging industry and the way Caregivers communicate with those we care for who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. Tami & Cathy are on a mission to replace the overwhelming and frustrating communication techniques with something simple,fun, and easy to remember. Their improv training workshops and resources are equipping family Caregivers with new communication tools to practice with their loved ones that have dementia or Alzheimer’s. In this Expert Interview post, learn how some of their improv techniques can improve your communication with those you love.
A guest post written by Erica Hornthal, founder and president of Chicago Dance Therapy. I had the pleasure of meeting Erica at the 2016 National Caregiving Conference and attended her movement breakout session. Her techniques opened my eyes to a fresh new tool for our caregiving toolkit.
As a dance/movement therapist, I have the opportunity to connect with individuals through their bodies, not just through “dance” but through non-verbal expression, communication, and body language. Our bodies have a wonderful way of expressing wants and unmet needs. Martha Graham said, “The body never lies.” This is true as long as we look and listen.
In this post we’ll explore several ways to blend movement with caregiving. (more…)
Tara Reed – Expert Interview
Tara Reed’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her personal experiences forever changed her and inspired her to create her own business to help others in a similar position. Tara’s business, Pivot to Happy, is a wonderful toolbox of resources specifically for family caregivers who have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s to help them navigate this journey.
I like to regularly feature one-on-one conversations with a family Caregiver from either my Happy Healthy Caregiver Facebook Group or the Happy Healthy Caregiver Community. I call each of these recorded conversations a ‘Caregiver Spotlight’. I started these because each caregiver journey is unique and I know every time I talk to another caregiver I learn something new and I leave that conversation knowing I’m not alone and feel encouraged by others.
Meet Creative Family Caregiver – Carole Brecht
Carole Brecht’s first exposure to family caregiving occurred when she had just closed her art gallery and was planning to secure a job in her industry. Her dad worked full-time and her mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Carole had the time to step up as the daughter to help, not even knowing what a Caregiver was, nor hearing the word Caregiver until the end of her journey. She just knew her mom needed assistance with daily tasks and transportation and advocacy at her doctor appointments. Like many of us, Carole had no formal training in caregiving and learned as she went. Her caregiving journey with her mom lasted several years until her mom passed away two years ago. During this time, Carole didn’t have a support system. She felt caregiving was a lonely, isolating journey that caused her to withdraw. Carole is currently her father’s Caregiver.
Caregiving took Carole down a path she didn’t anticipate. Her personal experiences inspired her to explore two positive, creative outlets: Zentangle art and writing.