Sunday, July 26, 2015

What Was It About Mildred?




 Down the corridor, in the last room on the left sat a 95 year old woman petting a white, furry toy cat. She slept with the cat as if it were alive, brushing it's hair with knotted knuckles and wrinkled palms appearing curiously elegant and perfectly defined.  Hands that had ironed 200 pieces of cloth a day 80 years ago,  from a heavy metal block heated from the platform of a wood burning stove. Hands that had reached up high to hang linens on the line, anchored with wooden clothespins out back, under the morning sun to dry. Hands that birthed babies,  hands that changed diapers, and  hands turning pages, holding toddlers on her lap, " two at a time,"  while reciting nursery rhymes. And there were praying hands, cradling other hands held close to her heart offering words of wisdom, just before someone close had died. And everyone who worked at the nursing home loved to serve Mildred, but no one knew "why."

What was it about Mildred that made her so easy to spend time with? And what was it about Mildred that uplifted an entire staff and made everyone feel so alive?  And why didn't anyone ever come to visit Mildred? Surely, Mildred had family and friends who loved her. Why didn't anyone ever stop by?

There were never any complaints from Mildred, even when she appeared to be sick. There were days when Mildred could barely sit up in bed, and other days when Mildred would surely not make it through another day.  But the spark of love, and twinkle in Mildred's eyes just kept on shining. And her face always lit up with a huge smile, every time anyone would engage Mildred in conversation. She always said, "Thank you." And was always very happy talking to her stuffed cat. "You are not any trouble at all.  You are the perfect cat. You never ask for anything at all, just a scratch under the chin and you,"purr," so pretty.  You are my beautiful kitty, and I love you!."  Mildred would recite the same thing over and over again.  And at the age of 96, with her stuffed cat held close to her heart with her arms folded over her chest, and a smile on her upturned face, ready to fly - Mildred quietly passed away.

  At Mildred's funeral, in the chapel of the nursing home, the entire staff felt her loss. There were many tears, even from the most seasoned professionals. The chapel, seating only 75, was filled to twice it's capacity!!  People all over town filed in, one by one to offer their last, "good-bye."  Young families, total strangers, close family members, many who never once came to see Mildred and her cat when she was still alive, all attended her funeral. People appeared out of the wood work, (as they say). But oddly enough, the question was, "why"? Why would people wait to acknowledge a special person in their life, in death, (rather than in life)  - after they had died?

  And then a young woman of 30 spoke with the minister during coffee and explained the unspoken words of all the gray elephants sitting on folded chairs at Mildred's funeral. "It was too hard for me to see her that way, Reverend. She used to be so easy to talk to, and well read. But after she lost her memory, it was like she was a different person, and we didn't even know her. Would she even know if we came to visit? It hurt me to see her that way, and staying away was easier than having her forget me."

  So, Mildred made her transition into heaven. But, for those who were unable to visit with her, Mildred most likely forgave them, and is still sending them heartfelt beams of love from the other side.  But for those who still cry when they think of what she gave them in her forgetting, her unconditional love that she freely shared with them will never be forgotten.

  Adaptation is amazing! As one sense is taken, our Creator gives us a stronger sense. And for those few workers at the nursing home who, "got it," and saw the glass as, " half full,"  instead of, " half empty,"  the gift was their's for the taking.

What was it about Mildred? As the mind forgets, the heart remembers. When people are able to meet from a place of spiritual connectedness as one heart, truly in the moment without judgement or expectation;  thoughts, words and conversations disappear. They have no meaning. When we look beyond appearances and let go of fear, there is only the presence of love.  There is only love. And where there is love and compassion, there is peace.

 So, as the late poet Maya Angelou has said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  Mildred reminded people to live in the moment, and by freely sharing her compassion, joy, peace and life with others, she let people know that they were greatly loved. When people think of Mildred, (even today), they always remember her love!

Positive Communication methods for people living with dementia:  We recommend seminars by Teepa Snow,M.S., OTR/L.FAOTA www.teepasnow.com, Naomi Feil, MSW, www.vfvalidation.org, and her books, all of them. And the life changing, ground breaking books, "Contented Dementia," by Dr. Oliver James, "The Mindful Caregiver," by Nancy L. Kriseman, and "Deeper Into The Soul," by Nader Robert Shabahangi, Ph.D, and Bogna Szymkiewicz, Ph.D

Copyright 2015 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama  Nicey

The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics.  How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.



Monday, July 20, 2015

The Caregiver's Caregiver

   Every day began the same. Lori's mother would walk into the living room around 8AM with her robe buttoned up unevenly, with messed up hair, a toothless smile and a glow so beautiful that she looked like royalty. Lori's well trained black lab who was not allowed EVER to enter Lori's mother's room, (because she would want to crawl in bed with her),  anxiously performed 15 circles of an undignified dance, chasing her own tail before laying down for a belly rub. Lori's mother would salute Lori in a comical manner and would then give her a very warm hug. "How did you sleep mother?"  "Oh Lori, need you ask? Like I always sleep when I'm here with you.  Like a rock," said Lori's mother. "I slept just like a rock!"  "Well, that is good to hear mother," said Lori. Then Lori quietly thought of what a "rock," her mother had always been to her, and to many others in their lives.

 Lori loved having her mother near and always regretted how their economic conditions during her childhood, separated her from her mother. Lori's mother worked 4 jobs continuously from the time Lori's mother divorced Lori's father, until Lori left home at 19 to attend college.

Lori's mother had always been an amazing caregiver. She supported her entire family of four girls while her husband, a hard working man struggling with mental illness, was institutionalized or unemployed. Lori and her sisters wore hand-me-down clothes, started working at jobs at 16, and knew hunger. Groceries and extras were often scarce, but Lori's mother always found a way to make ends meet. Right when they thought something would be shut off, due to a tight budget, a miracle would happen, and they would be okay.

And the caregiving extended out into the community. Lori's mother was the ,"go to," woman in the neighborhood to drive battered women to the shelters at 3 AM, she once opened up her home in an unwed pregnant teen, who had been thrown out to fend for herself on the street. And if that wasn't enough, she even found time to volunteer (while working 4 jobs), for a suicide prevention hotline!


 When Lori's mother's only sister was dying of stomach cancer, Lori's mother was there to help her and stayed by her side until her untimely death. When Lori's grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, Lori's mother was her only caregiver, finally putting her in a nursing home, never leaving her side. And the list goes on and on and on.  When Lori had complications from her pregnancy and was bed-ridden for 6 weeks post -Op, it was Lori's mother who moved in and took care of all of the needs of the entire household.

Lori often thought that being her mother's caregiver was such an amazing experience, and would also find herself thinking, "I could never ever live up to being the caregiver that Mom has been to me!"  And maybe no one could. Lori's mother came from a very, very special breed.  However, if there was anything to teach, or anything to learn from this exchange of, "Watch and see, " it would be three things: 1) Present time consciousness. (Living in the now.) 2) Surrender without expectation, or judgment, listening with an open mind and warm heart. 3) Love, simply said - great love and compassion.

The caregiver's caregiver was a ready and willing student, open to being mentored by the very best that care giving brings!!!  Happy 85th Birthday Mom, I am forever grateful for the lifetime of love that you have given me!!

Positive Communication methods for people living with dementia:  We recommend seminars by Teepa Snow,M.S., OTR/L.FAOTA www.teepasnow.com, Naomi Feil, MSW, www.vfvalidation.org, and her books, all of them. And the life changing, ground breaking book, "Contented Dementia," by Dr. Oliver James

Copyright 2015 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama  Nicey

The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics.  How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Old Lady Moviestar





It was 6AM, and the dog was right on schedule signaling the need to take a walk. Anyone thinking of changing the patterned schedule of  "when" "where," and "how," to begin the day would be left to deal with canine hostility and the sighting of a doggie do surprise on the floor!  The sound of jingling metal tags around the dog's neck could be translated into, "I need to go outside now," "I'm hungry," or "Wake up, Grandma is wandering around the house again!"  Patterns, a predictable schedule and a structured environment means everything to our dog.  She likes to know that her toys are kept to the right of the living room chair, that her water dish is under the clock in the kitchen,  and that her daily walking and feeding schedule never changes. And if, by chance there is a change in our dog's scheduled activities - she will pant and pace with agitation and angst. Her behavior will reflect the activity changes.

 People are not dogs, that is obvious. However, patterns that dogs adhere to, and need in order to feel secure in their,  "day to day lives,"  are very similar to human needs, especially people experiencing dementia.  Tangles and neural patterns in the brain have been interrupted at the synaptic junctions. So, with the internal presence of disconnect,  there comes the need to keep predictable patterns of structured connection to outward external environments. Clutter  of any kind,  even a little bit of clutter, can lead to more and more confusion and agitation. And agitation in a person experiencing dementia, can be brought about in many different ways, as seen in the exchanges below.

  Lori had been busy with her stay at home business, and normally, on a daily basis, she would straighten up her mother's room. But after missing 4 days of de- cluttering the night stand,  her mother's room started to look, less organized. And the cluttering was very minimal, only with 6 magazines stacked on the nightstand with word search puzzles, and opened junk mail that hadn't been thrown away.  (Lori's mother was a secretary for over 30 years, so opening mail and sorting through things to organize paperwork was her passion. Knowing this, Lori very excitedly would present the junk mail, ALL of it addressed to the entire household, for her mother to open, and Lori's mother was DELIGHTED to have this task to do. However, with the cognitive challenges clouding her mother's judgement, she would wander at night, searching for and collecting all of the mail in the house.  (Bills, personal mail not addressed to her, etc).  Then at times, to organize the clutter, Lori's mother would put the mail, ALL of it in an empty shoulder bag hidden away with her laundry, which she would stuff in plastic bags,  and then forget it was there. So, Lori had to always check on the cluttering in her mother's  room, and the overstuffed shoulder bag).

Lori took the cue from the dog to go outside at 6AM, and then after they both returned from the walk, Lori's mother with no teeth, messy hair, a robe,  and no socks wearing New Balance running shoes, said, "Golly, we have our work cut out for us, we really do. Do you have any more bags?"  Lori said, Bags?"  "Yes, bags, BAGS Lori!"  Lori's mother was agitated.  Her environment was cluttered and the cluttering left her in a state of confusion, agitation and in a heightened state of anxiety. "How are we going to do it? I just don't know!"  As Lori walked into the bedroom, she noticed that her mother had bags and bags full of clothes, toiletries, towels, pictures, curling irons, etc. neatly packed away in a very orderly fashion in garbage bags. It was clear to see that Lori's mother had been up for hours packing up her room.  Her entire non-made bed was FULL of packed bags which in her attempt to organize the clutter on one night stand, left the room looking like an episode from hoarders! "You need a maid, Lori!  Look at this mess, just look at it.  How are we ever going to pack this up in time for the movers!!"

Lori didn't react, She stepped back and quietly (secretly, I might add), did some deep breathing to activate her brain. Thoughts like, "How am I going to redirect her this time?  She is really in a state.  How can I learn from this to help her in the future? This is all my fault for not cleaning off the end table.  Yikes, I screwed up, but can't beat myself up over this." So, Lori validated her mother's frustration saying, "Mom, I'm here for you. We can tackle this together, okay?" Lori's mother was still stuck on being and feeling overwhelmed. "We need to do this now, Lori.  The men will be here any minute!" Well Mom, do you want the men to see you in your robe?  Do you want to move things on a truck as an almost 85 year old without breakfast?  Because mother,  I was just planning on making you a fabulous breakfast but if you choose to work through breakfast, and not eat, you may not have the energy to work so hard. "  "What were you going to make me for breakfast?"  Lori's mother completely calmed down and her ears perked up at the thought of food. "Well, mother - we can have gluten free pancakes, or mushroom, cheese omlets. How does that sound to you?"  "I like that Lori, I like that a lot!"

Lori was feeling really good. So happy that her mother took the bait, and then her mother got back on the roller coaster. "Where do you keep your bags, we need bags!" Lori's mother was back to the moving men scenario. "I need to go home, they are waiting for me." Lori's mother appeared to be on a timeline trying to make a deadline.  "Who is waiting for you, mother?" "My family, Lori. I haven't seen them and I need to see them again.  It has been way too long and I need to go home because they are expecting me."  "Okay Mom.  Then we will give you a good breakfast so that you can go.  And where are you going?" Lori's mother suddenly looked up with an annoyed look on her face. "What do you mean where am I going? You know where I am going.  I am going to see my mother.  And after that, I will go to see the crew at Aunt Hilda's. Uncle Dean and Aunt Lil, too!!"  They are expecting me, so I must go."

 Lori was almost in tears, because all of the people mentioned have been gone for many years, however Lori also remembered reading somewhere that before elderly people move on, they literally see (in their minds), and interact with their departed loved ones. Some people even say that loved ones help them to cross over!!

 Lori knew she needed to help her mother to not feel so frustrated, and to help her to live more in the "now" rather than the "then."  So, Lori decided to do a pattern interrupt on her.(A technique she used to use on her two year old to assist him through his frustrations during a tantrum.) She would shift the focus through something ridiculous to hopefully change the thought pattern. Then her mother started again.  "Lori, we are going to have to pack up the entire house. The refrigerator, the cupboards, under the sink and all of the rooms upstairs."  Her mother then grabbed some paper bags and packed up everything on the kitchen table. "There we go, and now I'm going to take a look at the garage and the laundry room."  "Wow, Lori thought.  This roller coaster has just sped up, and it isn't even 7:30AM!!!"

"Mother, you are the old lady!" Lori said. Her mother said, "What are you talking about?" "Mother we are in a movie and YOU are the old lady. We are playing roles in a movie, and you are an old lady movie star!"  Her mother then burst into laughter. "Oh really, I am , am I?"  "Yes, and I just called the movers in the movie, and they are going to do everything, EVERYTHING Mom.  So, you are done with your work. You are finished with the tough stuff and you can now just sit back, and have fun today.  You don't have to think about moving.  And in this movie, we can plan our day.  And today you get to water the plants, take a bath, get your hair done, make your favoite salad and go to a potluck!!!  Now how does that sound to you?"  Her mother then completely relaxed her shoulders.  "I like that, I like that Lori!"  "So, mother dear said Lori,  "How would you like your eggs?"

Lori and her mother watered the plants, her mother took a bath and then said, "I think I need to take a nap."  

Positive Communication methods for people living with dementia:  We recommend seminars by Teepa Snow,M.S., OTR/L.FAOTA www.teepasnow.com, Naomi Feil, MSW, www.vfvalidation.org, and her books, all of them. And the life changing, ground breaking book, "Contented Dementia," by Dr. Oliver James

Copyright 2015 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama  Nicey

The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics.  How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.



Monday, July 6, 2015

Pies, Crackers and Midnight Snack Wanderings




It was a rough night, and Lori couldn't sleep.  She was given some bad news by learning that a very close friend had been hospitalized, and was struggling to recover from a life threatening disease.  With so many thoughts racing through Lori's mind, she found herself tossing and turning, and needing of a cup of herbal tea. 

The living room was dark, but as Lori approached the kitchen, she noticed that the basement door was wide open and the light was on. Within seconds Lori heard a woman's voice, "Is that you, Lori? What are you doing up?" It was Lori's mother walking up the steps from the basement to the kitchen at 3:45 in the morning!

"I'm afraid I have some very bad news, some very bad news Lori about your father." "Mother what were you doing in the basement?"  Lori's mother looked wide awake and vibrant when she answered her. "Well, I just wanted to see if anyone was down there, said Lori's mother. "Well, how long were you down there, mother?"  "Oh, I don't know Lori, it could have been a little while, but you know my mother is going to be in a state of shock when she finds out what my father is going to tell her.  It's awful, just awful.  And Leo's family is going to have a rough go of it, too." (Lori didn't have a clue of who Leo was, or is!)  "I tell you ,it's just terrible!"  Lori's mother was on a roll. She was animated like an excited child explaining something profound, and reflective, but Lori (although entertained by her animation),  was having a challenge keeping up with her.

Lori's mother walked over to the refrigerator, "Oh Lori, that amazing husband of yours has made us a pie, would you like some pie?" (Little did Lori's mother know, was that Lori's husband purposely made the organic apple pie without sugar, and placed it in the front of the refrigerator, fully visible so that when his mother- in- law would have her very predictable midnight snack wanderings, she would get a dose of healthy gluten free, sugar free pie, rather than sugar-ridden, lard ridden traditional unhealthy apple pie). "This is delicious pie, you ought to have some, Lori."

 Lori and her entire family prepare for Lori's mother's wandering,  by wander proofing the house. Security safeguards are in place, so that her mother cannot leave the house by walking outside in the middle of the night, while everyone is sleeping.  Having security safeguards in place at night, gives Lori's mother the freedom to wander around the house at night, which only happens occasionally, by the way.  And Lori's mother enjoys getting up at night to read, to wander, or to find snacks in the fridge. This makes her happy, and tires her out so that she eventually puts herself back to bed.

So, as Lori's mother sat comfortably eating pie, drinking milk and eating peanut butter crackers (also of the organic health variety), she launched into her story."Dad was just here, and he was very sad.  He said someone walked in and told him and Leo, the manager of the market by the fire station downtown,  that Kroger was closing and that he would soon be out of a job!"  "That sounds terrible, Mom!  What is he going to do?" Lori was matching her mother's animation while she brewed her herbal tea. Then she used validating questions with her mother that she learned from taking Naomi Feil's Validation Therapy seminar. (Ie: "Who, What, When and How - excluding the question Why?) "How did you find out about this, mother?"  "Well," said Lori's mother, " Dad was just here, but he had to go.  He told me himself ." (Lori's grandfather died over 50 years ago.) Lori then said, "What did he say, mother?" "Well, he said he couldn't believe it!  He just couldn't believe that someone could walk into a place and shut it down, putting people out of work like that. But, you know, my Dad is a good meat man, and has a good reputation, so he will find something." "Well, that sounds like maybe things will eventually work out for him. Does anyone else know about this?" And then a very secretive animated face came over Lori's mother. "Oh golly, my mother is going to really be upset, I think I will give her a few days to cool down before going over there. She will be calling me soon on the phone, I just know it. And the entire town is going to be in shock when they hear about Kroger closing. Everyone is going to be in shock!"  Lori's mother was shaking her head, and truly enjoying the drama of telling the story with each nibble of her apple pie. 

Then, after eating pie and crackers, and downing 2 glasses of milk, Lori's mother started yawning. "Well, it looks like I better get back to bed.  I'll call my mother in the morning!" ( Lori's grandmother passed away over 30 years ago.) Lori's mother,  in her sandpaper slippers, unevenly buttoned robe with a lateral bend, shuffled off to bed. "See you in the morning, Lori."  "Okay, mother - see you in the morning."

Lori grinned and happily reflected upon what a blessing it is to have her mother near. "I love you mother, sleep well now," said Lori.  "Oh,  you know I will, I always sleep well.  Good night, Lori" And after Lori straighten up the kitchen and had her second cup of tea, the sun came up, and she finally went to sleep.


Positive Communication methods for people living with dementia:  We recommend seminars by Teepa Snow,M.S., OTR/L.FAOTA www.teepasnow.com, Naomi Feil, MSW, www.vfvalidation.org, and her books, all of them. And the life changing, ground breaking book, "Contented Dementia," by Dr. Oliver James

Copyright 2015 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama  Nicey

The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics.  How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Caregiving Wisdom of Dogs





Caregivers come from all walks of life.  They have been studied, observed, hypothesized, analyzed, interviewed, examined and questioned from scientists, and social workers from all over the world. These questions are timely in 2015. According to “Living With Dementia,” recently presented at Johns Hopkins University - the not so distant future projects a large percentage of seniors in the U.S., and worldwide,  battling one, or many forms of dementia. The positive effects of care giving on the caregiver are rarely ever studied, and need to be, so that we can properly train caregivers to avoid burnout by serving the masses in a compassionate, joyful and meaningful manner.

 There are groups of four legged, furry people friends that exemplify  positive care giving qualities. These care giving communication experts have much to offer, and need to be analyzed by social scientists. There are boundless stories of dogs being attentive to the needs of humans, and I have seen the very strong bond of my black lab, and how she (literally) follows my mother, who is battling dementia, everywhere! Skillful caregivers,  and happy dogs have a lot in common, and here is why:

 1) Dogs are loving companions, and loyal friends. Dogs live in the “now,” in every situation, ready to express unconditional love to their humans.
2) Dogs are dependable. Dogs always follow through, readily giving support when needed, with little prompting and total focus, wanting to please the person they are serving with 100% effort regardless of the situation even if it means putting their own needs last.
 3) Dogs are very forgiving. They see the good in the person they are serving without judgement of their actions, without anger, resentment, or control.  Dogs are obediently motivated to be followers to their Alpha humans, waiting for cues of when, how and why to act, rather than reacting, or being driven to act in victimized, fearful or hostile ways.
 4) Dogs are very, very resilient. They bounce back when they are put down, and still remain loyal, compassionate and loving forever, never changing.
 5) Dogs live in the moment and are spontaneous. They love structure, but they also have a playful, fun-loving side which makes them very, very flexible to changes that can happen throughout the day, and throughout their lives.
6) Dogs are masters of non-verbal communication.  They study sounds, smells, vocal inflections, body language and the silence between the words. In some ways, one can say that dogs are the masters of mind reading, and emotional tone. Dogs can sum up a situation in 3 seconds merely by their powers of observation that are highly attuned to the spiritual essence of connecting on a heart and soul level to other living beings, (human, or animal, cats included!). 
7) Dogs are natural healers. (Pardon the pun, “healers.”) They have been known to empathize on a deep level with their human counterparts, and throughout history have done things that have defied the logic of the greatest scientific discoveries, sacrificing their own lives to save the life of a friend, human or animal. 

So, how can we as humans, ever live up to what dogs and other animal caregivers  (cats, too), can teach us? As caregivers, we are given ample opportunities every day, to learn the art of compassion. But what is important to remember, is that the first person we need to forgive and show compassion towards, is ourselves!  We are humans doing the very best that we can!!

 Care giving is a very tough path, and many of us end up losing the stress battle altogether, becoming just as ill as the person we are caring for!!  This is a sad proven fact, but true.  However, there are ways to improve our interactions with the person or persons being cared for which cannot only energize us, bringing us health and  liberation, but can offer  deep spiritual bonds to the person being cared for, regardless of whether our loved one has verbal abilities, or not. I know this for a fact.  I have seen this and I have lived this. (Yes, before becoming a caregiver, I was a dog trainer!) 

  Experts are doing all they can to readily study the physical effects of stress burnout, but rarely if ever do we see studies that reflect successful care giving methodologies. The life-giving effects of eustress (the type of stress that gives one, a feeling of well-being, joy and fulfillment),  that caring for a loved one can and does bring to some caregivers. These are difficult studies to find in present day scientific research literature. And this is mind-boggling!!!!  These skills of positive communication, and intentional centering can easily be practiced and shared on a large international scale,  creating a much brighter future for people living with dementia, and their carers.


 There are many questions still to be answered regarding dementia care, especially in the United States.  Is there funding for positive communication methods for people caring for people living with dementia? And where are these studies, (if there are any studies),  on positive communication techniques being published? Research is pointing to a possible shortage of care givers in the future, so timing means everything. Most of what is working, has been explored from people who have had years of experience, in nursing homes, and one-on-one with people suffering from dementia using positive, life-affirming techniques. These communication techniques need to be applied BEFORE re-direction, and are creating very positive outcomes.

 I do believe, as is the case with dog training, the dog always has a reason for it's behavior. The trainer needs to gain the dog's trust, and see the world through the dog's eyes FIRST by connecting with love, compassion and empathy. The dog is never wrong!!  A great dog whisperer learns how to help a dog by letting the dog lead them into greater understanding in a safe, and honoring way. Not in a controlling way, using physical restraints, or by barking commands at the dog by making the dog wrong.  And the same holds true for people.

There is always a reason for bizarre dementia behavior, according to Naomi Feil, MSW and author of Validation Breakthough  ALWAYS!! We need to train people to be willing to be led, and to let go of any idea of forceful ways of control rather than peaceful, positive, and honoring communication.   Sometimes the simplest, most cost effective solution to a challenge is right in front of our eyes, or (in this case), covered with fur, with it's tail wagging at our feet.

So for now, when it comes to mastering the art of true companionship, and positive  non-verbal communication, we can use this simple, “guide dog wisdom,” to remind ourselves of a few things. 1) To live in the moment. 2) To learn to be flexible, and 3) Through attentive, active listening, to be willing to be led, in order to truly be a loving and giving companion to those, whom we have been given the highest calling from God to serve. 

Positive Communication methods for people living with dementia:  We recommend seminars by Teepa Snow,M.S., OTR/L.FAOTA www.teepasnow.com, Naomi Feil, MSW, www.vfvalidation.org, and her books, all of them. And the life changing, ground breaking book, "Contented Dementia," by Dr. Oliver James 
Copyright 2015 Caregivers Get Fit! Mama  Nicey

The information in this blog is information. It is not meant to be a replacement for getting medical advice from your own health professional regarding your own individual health challenge or condition. Dr. Denise will not diagnose, treat, or give direct personal consultations/advice to you on this blog for any medical condition, but will give general examples, and scientific research on many different health topics.  How you decide to use the information is between you and your own medical/ health professional.

When A Caregiver Needs A Caregiver

It was 6:30AM on a Saturday morning when, “Your motherʼs light is on - she must  be up!” Loriʼs husband was already on his way to...