Dow Stick is a freelance health writer and nurse practitioner in Western North Carolina. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Science degree in Nursing from East Tennessee State University. Her experience as an advanced practice nurse includes adult primary care, hospice and palliative care, chronic disease management, and addiction medicine. Her interests are in the health and wellness of older adults as well as the advocacy and support of those living with dementia, especially her own 95-year-old grandmother.
Courtney Battaglia is a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has over 12 years of experience working directly with patients, many of whom experienced the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Courtney is dedicated to providing resources for families and patients who are experiencing this diagnosis and continues to advocate daily for this population.
Susan Kitchen, MPH, RD, CSSD, LD/N, is a Sports Certified Registered Dietitian, USA Triathlon and Ironman Certified Coach, accomplished endurance athlete, and published author. She is the owner of Race Smart, a performance nutrition and coaching company that works with athletes across the globe as they strive toward optimal health, fitness, and performance.
Communication is an essential tool everyone uses. Once we lose that seemingly small ability, it is not uncommon to find frustration filling its void. Communicating is vital for maintaining meaningful social interactions and meeting the needs of yourself and others. There are various forms of communication, such as verbal communication, body language, and even written communication.
Gathering at the end of the year to celebrate special occasions and holidays is precious time with loved ones. When someone you care about or care for has Alzheimer’s disease, these times can also be stressful. Alzheimer’s is not uncommon, with one in nine older adults over age 65 living with this form of dementia. The fact that someone is cognitively impaired should not be a barrier to including them or their caregivers in holiday plans.
The holidays are right around the corner. What do you get mom who is living with dementia? Or perhaps grandpa, sister, or the resident you adopted?
The Dementia Connection Model© is a cognitive-behavioral framework that takes into account how the person living with dementia is progressing through their disease, focusing on what we know works well with advancing dementia – sensory stimulation. When a person with dementia is stimulated using their senses, that information is processed either directly or indirectly in the limbic system of their brain that houses the amygdala (feelings) and hippocampus (memories). When positive sensory-based engagement strategies are used, this can ignite positive feelings and memories, promoting productive behavioral expressions and connections (Stelter, 2021). And when the caregiver is the one providing these positive experiences, the person with dementia will either connect or re-connect with them because they like how they feel with that person.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if those living with dementia could just articulate what they are thankful for or what makes them happy and calm?… Well, they don’t need to. We need to…meaning, we need to be able to use our eyes and ears and deductive reasoning to try to understand what the person is experiencing. We have to adjust, not them. When we adjust, then they can live in their new world, free from negativity, judgments and controls.
Halloween can be a fun time of year for children and teenagers to dress up as their favorite characters, attend parties, go trick or treating, and eat lots of candy. Heck, even adults may partake as well. However, for those with progressing dementia, Halloween time can be quite scary, increasing unproductive and negative behavioral expressions. […]
Spending time together as family, especially around the holidays, is priceless. However, sometimes this can be a challenging season for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia and their loved ones, as they may not be able to communicate with each other as well as they used to, share their thoughts and engage […]