This week PBS will air Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts, a documentary framed as “an urgent wake-up call about the national public health threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease.” While it’s true Alzheimer’s disease poses a public health challenge, much of the suffering experienced by people living with dementia is socially imposed on them by the tragedy-only narrative exemplified in films such as this.
Proponents of transforming elder care focus on the words we use, and often suggest new language choices for much of our terminology.
There are two common operational practices that make it difficult for organizations to visualize a pathway to unlocking doors (and many other activities as well): all-or-none thinking and surplus safety. I explore each of these in the conclusion to my series “Hidden Restraints.”
When you think of your life and the record you want to leave behind, do your accumulated possessions, job titles and accomplishments really do you justice? The process of aging can teach us the value of the intangibles in a life story, including the importance of community and the worth of a given moment.
Even without knowing all of the reasoning behind Gene Wilder’s decision to keep his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease a secret, one can infer from his family’s statement that stigma was a big factor.
Walking (indoors and outdoors) is something we all do freely, every day, without even thinking about it. Moving away from “lock-down” memory care for people living with dementia not only helps alleviate distress, but also affirms and enables everyone’s basic human right to be able to move freely.
Recently, I posted a provocative argument for considering locked doors as physical restraints. I have received many comments about the post; and as promised, I am following up with a second installment (of three), in which I will give some guidelines for those who wish to take up the challenge.
The problem with “restraints” in long-term care is that in most cases the things we do to increase physical safety help us to feel better, but actually decrease the sense of security felt by the person. So it is with locked doors in memory care homes.
New research validates what we already know — the use of antipsychotic medications to reduce behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) is not very effective and what we should be doing instead is focusing on meeting the unmet needs of the person living with dementia through person centered approaches.
In a sea of self-help books and self-promoting how-to’s, The Penelope Project: An Arts-Based Odyssey to Change Elder Care is a comprehensive guide, showing us how to work within systems and change them for the better from the inside.
The Alzheimer’s Family Support Center of Cape Cod is a non-profit organization designed to be age- and dementia-friendly, which means that the programs are organized in a way that enables individuals of all ages and disease states to participate in the program.
Bill Thomas and Nate Silas Richardson take on the age old question of mortality as well as a deep dive into caregiver stress when your spouse or partner lives with dementia. They also share a behind-the-scenes look at the latest swing of the Age of Disruption Tour, including how the show dealt with a catastrophic power outage during a live performance in Richmond.