“I don’t really remember it, but I know it’s there.”

We were playing a “fill in the blank” game. I had gathered six of the residents in the front hallway of the Skilled Nursing Facility, in the hopes that more would join as they walked by. My little trick worked, and soon I had 10 people gathered around, engaging in the game. This fill-in-the-blank book isContinue reading ““I don’t really remember it, but I know it’s there.””

What is dementia-positive design?

BEFORE: First two photos in the set AFTER: Third photo in the set Dementia-positive design is not a concept that gets talked about frequently enough. It’s the idea that because people with dementia live in a different world than we do, we need to be able to adjust their environment accordingly. I think that theContinue reading “What is dementia-positive design?”

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Loneliness & soup

I was killing time at the grocery store. Really, I was also hungry, but I would’ve been eating at my house if my friend wasn’t at a nearby doctor’s appointment. And so, I was stuck in an unfamiliar part of town, waiting for him. And so I ended up in the Giant Eagle grocery store.Continue reading “Loneliness & soup”

“You look like a wicked broad!”

Joan was the second British woman who had lived in one of my dementia care communities. She had moved to the US after meeting her husband, an American soldier, in World War II—a story similar to the one that I heard from my first British resident. If you asked Joan, she could still tell youContinue reading ““You look like a wicked broad!””

A Tough Conversation

Usually, when a visitor to our community tries to “correct” one of my residents, I jump in and try to save the conversation. For example, if a resident’s daughter is visiting and says, “No, mom, don’t you remember, dad died years ago!” I will try to swoop in and change the interaction so that no oneContinue reading “A Tough Conversation”

Why residents constantly lose their shoes in long-term care

I’ve met some of the best people while working in long-term care. While there are plenty of residents’ families that I wish I hadn’t had to deal with, there are many more that are absolutely wonderful. I was talking to one woman the other day whose mother is in our care. “Some people get upset aboutContinue reading “Why residents constantly lose their shoes in long-term care”

“We’re home.”

A story shared with me by one of my residents’ daughters. Her mother is one of my favorite residents. She does a lot of walking, a lot of interacting with others, and, since moving in, has really seemed to adjust well to our community. She can still speak, but often uses a few short, key phrasesContinue reading ““We’re home.””

Talking Aphasia

One of my favorite things is when someone with dementia, who doesn’t normally speak, speaks to me. It happens every once in a while. I’ve had a few residents with aphasia, which means that they have (usually) the inability to communicate verbally. Interestingly, I’ve found that even though these residents usually can’t speak, they makeContinue reading “Talking Aphasia”

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