Alzheimer's and Dementia Counseling and Education: call Cindy Keith of M.I.N.D. in Memory Care at (814)-235-0691, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Moving In Nurturing Directions
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
AFA QUILT TO REMEMBER
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America wishes to pay tribute to all people who have passed away, or are currently living with dementia, to their families and to their caregivers. In the tradition of the world famous AIDS Memorial Quilt, the AFA Quilt to Remember is the first ever national dementia-related quilt of this stature. There will be no cost to contribute a panel, and if you're not able to physically put a panel together, monetary donations are always welcome to offset the cost of touring the quilt throughout the United States.
The panels, along with your personal story and a copy of your panel maker application (www.alzfdn.org) can be sent to: AFA Quilt to Remember; Alzheimer's Foundation of America; 322 Eighth Avenue, 6th Floor; New York, NY 10001. Panels will be accepted on an on-going basis, and will begin display of the first portion in the fall of 2006.
You may also contact me for further information regarding this worthy project. I would like to hear your ideas for your panels, as well as hear your stories surrounding your loved one with dementia.
Monday, December 26, 2005
Here's hoping that you and your loved one with dementia are having a peaceful holiday season. Despite all the pressures on you and your family at this time of the year, it is possible to enjoy some quiet moments with a person with dementia. It's important to remember that while Mom or Dad used to love being in the middle of the huge family gatherings, this is likely to only make them feel more scared or agitated right now. Their damaged brains are unable to take in all of this activity, and they would benefit more from one on one, quiet moments of reflection and reminiscing about past happy holidays. Focus on enjoying those few quiet moments.
NUMBERS OF PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA INCREASING
The latest issue of the Lancet reports that worldwide "a new case of dementia arises every seven seconds with the number of people with dementia set to double every 20 years." Most of these people live in developing countries with China and the European Union currently having 5 million each and the U.S. with 2.9 million. These figures include all types of dementia, and speak to the importance of all countries planning for the increases in the numbers of people with dementia. The U.S. is facing a surge in numbers because of the aging of the baby boomers, since age is the biggest risk factor for getting some type of dementia--a 1 in 3 chance after age 85--which researchers are saying is getting closer to a 1 in 2 chance.
Alzheimer's Disease International is an international federation made up of 75 Alzheimer associations around the world and is based in London. This federation works closely with the World Health Organization to compile data such as this on the prevalence of dementia worldwide. They help coordinate events for World Alzheimer's Day celebrated every September 21st, as well as produce and distribute written materials on dementia for use worldwide.
Friday, December 16, 2005
DEMENTIA CAREGIVER SPOUSES AND GINGIVITIS
The November issue of Psychosomatic Medicine talks about an interesting study done by Dr. Peter Vitaliano, and others from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. They found that caregivers of spouses with Alzheimer's developed gingivitis at twice the rate of non-caregivers. The caregiver spouses also scored higher on measures tracking insulin levels (increased risk for diabetes), obesity and intra-abdominal fat. They point out that the chronic stress and gingivitis connnection was first observed in WW I with soldiers.
This is one more study pointing out risks due to the very high levels of stress involved in taking care of a loved one with dementia. Please try to maintain your health by keeping involved in activities that are important to you--and investigate adult day care services. Taking a loved one to day care several times a week helps keep them socialized, as well as giving you some time to yourself.
DEMENTIA AND TYLENOL
A Medical News Today article (www.medicalnewstoday.com) published in the November issue of the Journal for the American Geriatrics Society talks about a study on the use of Tylenol in patients with dementia. The study observed 25 patients with moderate to severe dementia over an 8 week period. These patients were routinely given Tylenol for 4 weeks, and then a placebo for 4 weeks. They found that the patients receiving the Tylenol "were more active than the others...spent less time alone in their rooms and more time interacting with others."
Even though this is a small study, I feel it is significant, and I too, have noticed improved interactions and more calm and happy residents when I gave analgesics if I suspected they may be suffering from arthritis or headaches and were unable to tell us. If you are dealing with a loved one at home with some form of dementia, please keep this in mind and check with their physician to see if Tylenol given on an "as needed" basis is safe in combination with their other medications. Sometimes, a person with dementia who is having a difficult time getting settled and staying in bed at night, may in fact, be having discomfort that a simple Tylenol may alleviate.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
CINDY'S MISSION STATEMENT
It is my mission to serve you with integrity, to nurture your spirit, and to help you allow humor into your life, while I give you the tools to live and work in the world of dementia.
In my business as a dementia consultant and facility staff trainer, I enjoy gathering families together via telephone conference calls, to tell them what they need to know in order to achieve the objective. I travel to facilities to train staff on how to BEST take care of this challenging population, and I have also traveled nationwide to deliver day-long dementia seminars through Cross Country Education. I am currently exploring other options to help educate families and facilities on ways to improve their caregiving.
In order to facilitate finding my site, I am including some of the phrases people or facilities might use to find me. They are as follows: Alzheimer's care consulting, Alzheimer's assistance, Alzheimer's aid, Alzheimer's service, Alzheimer's comfort, Alzheimer's support, Alzheimer's instruction, Alzheimer's teaching, Alzheimer's training, Alzheimer's education, Alzheimer's care, Alzheimer's guidance, Alzheimer's advice, Seeking Alzheimer's advice; Alzheimer's help, Alzheimer's care counseling, dementia care consulting, dementia care counseling, Alzheimer's consulting, and dementia counseling, dementia assistance, dementia aid, dementia service, dementia comfort, dementia support, dementia instruction, dementia teaching, dementia training, dementia education, dementia guidance, teaching dementia, dementia advice, seeking dementia advice, Alzheimer's answers, dementia answers, dementia help, encouraging dementia teaching, encouraging dementia training, staff dementia training.
While it's cumbersome to include all of these terms here, they all encompass a part of what I do to help people in a nurturing manner to either take care of a loved one suffering from some form of dementia such as Alzheimer's, or to see that facility staff members receive the training that is vital to keeping people with dementia and Alzheimer's safe, happy, healthy and maintain their dignity.
MY QUALIFICATIONS AS A DEMENTIA CONSULTANT & FACILITY STAFF TRAINER
I have worked in the medical profession for many years, having started as a medical secretary. I became an LPN (licensed practical nurse), worked as a surgical nurse, and served as an office manager in a geriatric practice. I then received my RN, BS degree and worked in several different areas of nursing, but continued to be drawn to geriatrics and especially to people with dementia. My last position as a nurse was as a health care coordinator in a dementia dedicated assisted living facility (every resident had some type of dementia). I held that position for about four years. Following that, because I truly love working with people with dementia, and their families, I decided to start my own business, and M.I.N.D. in Memory Care was born….
M.I.N.D. IN MEMORY CARE
After months of hard thinking and badgering my friends for help, I chose to call my business M.I.N.D. in Memory Care, with the meaning being "Moving In Nurturing Directions in Memory Care. "Nurturing" is what I'm all about and what I emphatically believe caregiving should be all about. Not only nurturing of the person with dementia, but nurturing of the families and friends as well. I know that the person with dementia will reach a point in their dementia when they live in the moment, don't recall they have dementia, and are relatively calm and comfortable--but the families and friends continue to suffer on a daily basis. By teaching and training, I know I can make life better not only for the person with dementia, but for everyone who loves and cares for them.
THE VALUE OF A DEMENTIA CONSULTANT
When I ask my clients how helpful my consultation has been for them, they invariably respond "Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how much you've helped us." Every person with dementia remains an INDIVIDUAL, who comes from a different background, has different reactions, and has different family dynamics. Those differences will always remain, and when I listen to each individual story, I can then tailor my information on how to best meet that objective of maintaining the safety, happiness, health, and dignity of their loved one throughout the entire process. Issues such as how to make the home safer, how to deal with the car and driving, resources available to help families, how to handle refusals to take medications, to bathe, or dress--the lists can seem endless for families. I not only give them information, I give them choices, peace of mind and hope.
If I had to give every caregiver of a person with dementia an objective, I would say it is "to improve or maintain the health, happiness, dignity and safety of that person with dementia." I don't just mean those caregivers at home--I include every caregiver in every facility who deals with this challenging population on a daily basis. The only way to achieve that objective is to have the KNOWLEDGE of how to best care for this ever-growing population.
PEOPLE JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW ! !
Especially when it comes to a devastating diagnosis such as dementia, people are not aware of how something so simple as STOPPING their attempts to re-orient their loved one, can significantly reduce their caregiving burden, as well as contribute to the comfort and sense of well-being of the person with dementia. Seeking out those professional dementia consultants (such as myself) and those agencies such as the Alzheimer's Foundation of America, will educate you how to BEST care for your loved one, and how to ease the burdens you will be forced to shoulder.
DIFFERENT DEMENTIAS = DIFFERENT BEHAVIORS
In the early and middle stages of dementia, the behaviors you will see are often dependant on what type of dementia the person has--specifically, which area of the brain is being affected initially. The behaviors of a person with Lewy Body dementia will be quite different from someone with Alzheimer's dementia.
WHY GET A DIAGNOSIS?
As a nurse, I have seen time and again how people with different types of dementia can improve once they have been diagnosed, and have started proper medications. Not only that, but the families now know what they're facing, and can plan accordingly. They can go through the crucial legal paperwork of getting durable healthcare power of attorney, form a plan in case emergencies happen to their loved one with dementia, and also think about joining a support group.
LEWY BODY DEMENTIA
Did you know that Lewy Body dementia is now the second most common type of dementia? One of the reasons for the surge into second place over multi-infarct dementia, is that it wasn't clearly recognized and diagnosed prior to this. Many times Lewy Body dementia was thought to be Parkinson's dementia, or just received a generic "dementia" label. We now know that it's crucial to have the diagnosis of Lewy Body dementia either confirmed or ruled out. Why is that? It's because some of the medications used to treat behavior problems in other types of dementia can actually make Lewy Body dementia worse, and they may die earlier. There is an excellent website by the Lewy Body Dementia Association, Inc. at www.lewybodydementia.org.
MORE THAN 40 TYPES OF DEMENTIA ! ! !
There are currently more than 40 different types of named dementias, but literally hundreds of things that can cause symptoms like a dementia. Everything from vitamin deficiencies to organ damage to inherited causes--that's one reason why diagnosis is crucial--it COULD be a cause that is reversible. To name just a few of the less common types of dementia includes Binswanger's Disease, Huntington Disease, Parkinson's, Pick's Disease, Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Fronto-temporal Dementia, Vascular Dementia, as well as dementias associated with HIV, Alcoholism, and Down Syndrome.
"DEMENTIA" IS THE UMBRELLA TERM
When people hear the word "dementia" they will often ask me if it's "anything like Alzheimer's disease." To make it more clear to them I tell them that "dementia" is the umbrella term, and that there are more than forty different types underneath that umbrella--with Alzheimer's being the most common type of dementia. So when people ask about "Alzheimer's care, Alzheimer's counseling, dementia care, dementia consulting" it's all the same thing! It's what I do best!
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