I’m back on the blog after a 2-month hiatus. Things got a little crazy there, but I’ve finally had a chance to catch my breath.
Since my last post, I’ve had a wonderful trip to Europe, where I facilitated my first European “Dementia Beyond Drugs” course, in Brogården, Denmark (hosted by Eden Denmark’s Karin Dahl and Aase Porsmose). I wasn’t sure how it would translate to a somewhat different culture, but the reviews were very positive. One nurse mentioned that it was the first time in her career that she had ever “seen people with dementia as normal people.” I’ve never gotten that comment before, but given our efforts to de-stigmatize the condition, it was a very gratifying remark.
After that, it was off to England. First, I spoke at the annual Eden UK-Ireland conference, where I got to catch up with UK-Ireland Regional Coordinators June Burgess and Paul Bailey. I also got to meet and spend time with Rayne Stroebel, the new Eden Coordinator for South Africa. Rayne is a warm and energetic guy who has been doing great things in support of South African elders.
I capped the trip with a keynote speech at the UK Dementia Congress, where I talked about the critical role of transforming care environments in supporting people with dementia. In between there was a lot of camaraderie, good food and amazing sights. I even got to attend a music gathering in a Wimbledon pub and shared a few of my songs with fellow musicians.
Along with this trip, talks were interspersed in Florida, Ontario, and New Hampshire. This week, I’ll be speaking in Rochester, of all places. On Monday night, I am giving a talk about The Eden Alternative sponsored by the Nazareth College Gerontology Club; on Wednesday a talk about dementia for Lifespan at Baywinde’s Sage Harbor; then I am giving a webinar for Mississippi’s QIO on Friday.
Our Green Houses had a busy month, hosting visits from my friend Becky Case from Colorado, (who is working on her Doctorate in Nursing Practice through Vanderbilt University); Jennfier Carson, Bob Kallonen and Jessica Luh Kim from Waterloo, Ontario; and Hanne Madsen from Denmark, who teaches nursing and therapy staff there. During the coming week, we and the Eden Home office are also co-hosting journalist Howard Gleckman, who kindly wrote about my blog in Forbes.com last August.
Next week, we are launching an exciting series on dementia in Nashville, Tennessee. On Monday December 3rd, I will be joining Dr. Bill Thomas and Dr. Kort Nygard for an all-day seminar on person-directed approaches to dementia, followed on Tuesday and Wednesday by my 2-day Dementia Beyond Drugs class, (this time re-arranged for an audience of 150 or more, with several co-facilitators). Denise Hyde will round off the week with her 2-day course on “Growth-Six Steps to implementing Change”, while I go off to Durham, NC to speak for the Triangle J Area Agency on Aging.
The Tennessee dementia seminars will be repeated in January and February, in Eastern and Western Tennessee, and a CMP grant will provide scholarships to send 2 people from every nursing home in the state to attend. (The sessions are also open to other participants–more info at www.edenalt.org.)
After that, things will settle down for the Holidays. But I have a Letter to the Editor coming out in the next New England Journal of Medicine, critiquing the recent antipsychotic withdrawal study (which was not easy to do in fewer than 150 words!).
Look for another post very soon about the recent decision to drop the term “dementia” from the DSM-V manual. Cheers!