Posts Tagged ‘how to be with an Alzheimer’s patient’

Breaking The Alzheimer’s Code: One Hundred Hankies For Joe

Posted on November 6th, 2015 by karen

alzheimer's providing security

We are happy to re-post this very special blog from August of 2014.


by Karen Keller Capuciati

I’m at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Annual Education Conference, held a few months ago in Cromwell, Connecticut. Jolene Brackey, the keynote speaker, is what you might call an Alzheimer’s visionary. After graduating from Iowa State University, Jolene began working as an interior designer but soon came to realize that she was more interested working with the people at the Alzheimer’s special care unit across the street from her design firm. She enjoyed the interaction with older people and began formulating her own unique ideas for helping people with dementia live in the moment.

She walks out into the audience and chooses a gentleman entirely at random. She asks him for his wallet and keys.

As the man dutifully hands over the items, Jolene declares, “I’m just going to place them up there behind my podium for a few hours. Okay? So that you don’t lose them.”

The man seems a bit confused but willing to play along.

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The Dance: A Daughter’s Journal

Posted on February 5th, 2013 by karen

by Beth Whitman

It started innocently enough. The book was sitting on the bookshelf. One of many that Mom would pull out, look through, and sometimes read aloud from. She had been a librarian in her younger years, and she loved having books around her, even if she wasn’t reading much. As her world started shrinking, she began to focus on a few specific books. For a while a book called Children’s Letters to God was her favorite. The mini vignettes that were the kids’ letters tickled Mom no end. At some point during the day, if the book was within her visual path, she would start thumbing through it, and eventually start reading aloud to anyone in the room:

“Dear God, I read the bible. What does begat mean? Nobody will tell me. Love, Alison.”

And then another one:

“Dear God, On Halloween I am going to wear a Devil’s costume. Is that all right with you? Marnie.”

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Ten Things To Do When You Visit A Person With Dementia

Posted on February 15th, 2011 by karen

goldfish 3

By Joan Blumenfeld, MS, LPC

My mother had Alzheimer’s.  She was adorable and loving and maintained her personality until she died at almost 95 years of age.  I used to visit her weekly in her home and then, toward the end of her life, in the nursing home.

Managing her care inspired me to become a geriatric care manager myself.  I was already a Master’s level psychotherapist with many years of experience and a strong background in family dynamics.  Additional training in gerontology and volunteer work in the social service department of a fine nursing home enabled me to segue smoothly into my care management practice.

Visits with Mother were a labor of love and sometimes quite a challenge.  As is typical with dementia, Mother eventually lost her ability to initiate, and stay focused on, meaningful conversation, but selected activities helped us stay connected.  The activities that worked best for us changed out of necessity as her Alzheimer’s progressed.

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