How to call someone who isn’t alive anymore

This post is inspired by a question I received the other day on my Facebook page about my podcast. (So many mediums to find me!) Anyway, this reader asked about her mother, who constantly wants to visit and call her own parents. My reader is distraught by how frustrated her mother is—“Why don’t they everContinue reading “How to call someone who isn’t alive anymore”

Don’t ask someone with dementia if they “know your name” or “remember you”

If I can, I always opt to ditch my name tag in a dementia care environment. I let my friends with dementia decide what my name is: I’ve been Susan, Gwendolyn, and various peoples’ kids. I’ve been so many identities to my residents, too: a coworker, a boss, a student, a sibling, a friend fromContinue reading “Don’t ask someone with dementia if they “know your name” or “remember you””

People with dementia WILL move your stuff around

…and that’s okay, because it’s really normal. This is a hard thing for a lot of caregivers, including ones who work in senior living communities.  Everywhere that I have worked, I’ve set up different interactive stations for my residents with dementia. These stations include places like a baby doll nursery or even an interactive kitchen. Continue reading “People with dementia WILL move your stuff around”

Community College

It’s been two years since I started this blog! Here’s one of my favorite stories from 2014. Our nurse stopped by my office around lunchtime. “William is really irritated this morning,” she said. “He keeps saying that he has sign up for community college classes, and he’s apparently been asking people about it all day!”Continue reading “Community College”

The Memory Care Cat

I did something this week that I’ve been hoping to do for a while: I picked out a cat for our Memory Care Neighborhood at work. The executive director of our community met me at the local animal shelter to help find the right cat. Immediately upon entering the “cat room,” I saw a sign forContinue reading “The Memory Care Cat”

Virtual Dementia Tour

Yesterday at work I brought in a local hospice company to train our staff through the Virtual Dementia Tour tool by a company called Second Wind Dreams. http://www.secondwind.org/virtual-dementia-tour/ The situation is set up before you arrive in a room where different tasks and objects are laid out. You’re given a headset, glasses that impair yourContinue reading “Virtual Dementia Tour”

8 Reasons it’s Time to Move to Memory Care

People often ask me how they will know when it’s the “right time” to move someone into Memory Care. There is no official perfect time, but these 8 tips may help guide you in the right direction. 1. You’re taking care of your loved one at home and he or she is waking up…a lot. YouContinue reading “8 Reasons it’s Time to Move to Memory Care”

“She has heels on.”

Lois is very active at the community. She is generally very excitable, very happy, and very sociable. She does, however, get anxious easily. Lois enjoys listening to music, dancing, and walking down the hallway, hand-in-hand with her newfound friends, who are also residents at the community.  “Hey, sweetie pie!” she asks frequently. “When’s my daughter comingContinue reading ““She has heels on.””

An Imaginary Marriage

“Henry! Get your keys, we gotta go!” “I can’t find my keys, Irene! Where did you put them!” “I didn’t put your keys anywhere! Where did you lose them!” They argued like a married couple, but they were not actually married. Jeff and Ellen were two of my residents who believed that they had beenContinue reading “An Imaginary Marriage”

A Comfy Chair

Mary doesn’t speak much, and when she does, it’s usually in Spanish. That’s okay, though, because our aides can decipher what she needs by her body language. Mary also uses a wheelchair, but has trouble staying in it. Many times, Mary will lean too far forward and attempt to stand up on her own.  WeContinue reading “A Comfy Chair”

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