My colleague, Rebecca Priest is working on her Nursing Home Administrator license. I was walking in the door this morning, wondering what I might blog about, when she pulled me into her office to show me one of the practice test questions she had missed.
The question (word for word) was: “A ‘remotivation’ program as applied to the senile resident generally refers to…(choose #1-4)”
The correct answer was choice #4: “A group therapy program designed to stimulate the resident’s interest in the real world around him”.
Well! After all the work I’ve done, it’s nice to finally be straightened out on this.
“Remotivation therapy”? Turns out the problem with people living with dementia is that they simply aren’t trying hard enough! I knew we could get this all turned around to being their fault once again!
Let’s talk for a moment about the “real world”. Not the one in which you or I may work, but the one in which our elders with dementia live. Institutional. No meaningful activities. No close and continuing relationships. No appreciation of who you are as a person, your beliefs and values. And most important, no ability to be empowered and engaged in making day-to-day decisions about your life and care. If you lived in such an environment, would you want to be constantly pulled back into this “real world”?
People living with dementia often retreat to places where they have been successful, where they have had love, meaning and validation. That is not lack of motivation and it is not delusional–that is an essential coping mechanism in the face of a care environment where they cannot succeed.
Ever sit in on a talk or a meeting that is really boring, or in which you have no input? Where does your brain go? Someplace nicer or more engaging. Do you need remotivation therapy?? Of course not!
To “remotivate” people with dementia and get them to the “real world”, we need to make the real world a place where they want to be.