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Quality of life in end stage dementia

Uncategorized Jul 12, 2020

Welcome back, Careblazer. 

 

In last week’s blog post I talked about creating your own joy plan for living with dementia. This week I want to talk about how to die with dementia - in a way that you want. This is from the book Dementia Reimagined that I’ve been talking about and I want to share with you Dr. Powell’s insightful thoughts on dying with dignity in a way that you want; not just the way that others want. 

 

If you would like to watch my video on this topic, click here

 

Dr. Powell states the type of death most American's don’t want - in an intensive care unit, hooked up to various machines and tubes, being poked and observed by busy workers, sedated, tied down and suffering is actually one of the more common ways American’s die. Most older Americans say they want to die at home. But, 75 percent of people dying in hospitals are over 65 years old. 


In order to avoid this type of death, you have to be...

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How to create a dementia "joy plan"

Uncategorized Jul 06, 2020

Welcome back, Careblazer!

 

Today I want to talk about a book I recently read called Dementia Reimagined. 

 

Specifically, I want to share some takeaways from a chapter in the book called "Try a little tenderness". It's essentially about how this psychiatrist has planned ahead for facing a future where she may have dementia. She states that somewhere between “ and ½ of Americans will have dementia by the time they are 85". She’s assuming that she’s in the batch that will have it based on her family history, and is planning ahead for that time. 

 If you would like to watch my video on this topic, click here

What might surprise you is that her planning for a future with dementia is centered around joy and how she can increase the chances her life will still have joy in it despite the disease. This isn’t the perspective most people have and I thought it was refreshing, thought-provoking, and I’m encouraging all...

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4 steps to help you decide if you should try to change unhealthy dementia behavior

Uncategorized May 31, 2020

 

Welcome back, Careblazer.

Today I want to address a topic that came up quite a few times during my recent Live Q & A’s. As you may know, a few weeks ago, I hosted several live Q & A sessions where many of you showed up and asked me your questions. Some of the questions I received had to do with the theme of the person with dementia doing something that wasn’t in their best interest, but the Careblazer just didn’t have the fight in them to do anything about it. Two specific examples that come to mind were from Careblazers stating their loved one drinks beer and another one who says their loved one smokes. 

I want to talk specifically about why it’s okay to choose your battles. Why it’s okay to let some things go. And how this doesn’t take away from the amazing care you are giving to your loved one. I hope this video will help give you a framework for how you can decide whether or not something is worth your effort or whether...

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When They Don't Believe They Have Dementia

Uncategorized May 27, 2020

 

Hello Careblazers,

Welcome back!

Today I want to talk about what to do in the very common situation of your LOWD not believing that they have dementia. 

So many Careblazers talk to me about their loved ones being in denial and thinking everything is fine. I’ve sat with Caregivers in the past who have pleaded with me to “convince” their loved one that they have dementia. 

In today’s video, I want to give an explanation

1- Of why your loved one doesn’t believe anything is wrong and 

2- How to stop wanting to convince them something is wrong with them

Before I get started, I want to welcome any new Careblazers welcome. My name is Dr. Natali, I’m a board certified geropsychologist. I also have a YouTube channel Careblazers TV, where you can watch videos on any of these topics. It is the place where we talk about everything dementia. If you would rather watch my video on this topic, click here

Okay, let’s get...

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How to Cope with Grief and Loss When You Love Someone with Dementia

Uncategorized May 17, 2020

Welcome back Careblazer!

Today I want to talk about the stress and grief that comes along with loving someone with dementia and talk about some things you can do to help grieve and cope with each new loss. 

If you would rather watch my video on this topic, click here

I recently read a book called Loving Someone who has Dementia and I thought it was a thoughtful and heartfelt account of what it’s like to love someone with dementia. It had many examples of caregivers sharing their experiences and what they did to help cope every time their loved one seemed to take another step further down the dementia disease cycle. 

One of the things that really stood out to me was the idea of how when someone dies, there is usually some type of ceremony like a funeral. People come together. They offer condolences. They bring food, check in, ask how they can help. 

Yet, loving someone with dementia is like a long, drawn out death process. You slowly watch the person you...

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How to Improve Sleep in Dementia

Uncategorized May 12, 2020

Welcome back Careblazer.

Today I want to talk about dementia and sleep. Dementia often times negatively impacts sleep, which makes your life as the Careblazer extremely difficult. Especially when your LOWD won’t go to sleep at night, wakes up in the middle of the night, wanders around, makes noise, and essentially makes it difficult for you to get decent sleep. 

I want to go over some general strategies to implement with your LOWD. Whether they are having a ton of sleep problems already or they haven’t shown any sleep problems, yet, implementing these general strategies can help improve their sleep or make it less likely that they will develop some of the sleep issues that many people with dementia develop. I hope you find it helpful. 

I want to be sure I emphasize how important it is to be patient as you start to implement some of these routines. When sleep is minimal, no one is at their best and it’s easy to get easily frustrated and give up. But if...

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How to Tell if Your LOWD isn't Safe at Home

Uncategorized May 03, 2020

Hi there Careblazer.

Welcome back. Today I want to talk about how to know whether or not your loved one with dementia is safe to be left home alone. The decline in dementia, in most cases, is a gradual one. Usually, the person with dementia experiences changes in their abilities over time, which means what they are able to do and not do changes with time. There are some people with dementia that are living at home alone and doing well and there are some people with dementia who are living in nursing homes with 24/7 supervision because they can’t be left alone at all. And of course there are people in the huge space in between. 

If you would prefer to watch my video on this topic, click here.

I’m going to share with you some signs to look out for that suggest that your LOWD may not be safe to be alone any longer, including my number one way I personally use to see if someone should not be living alone and it’s something you can do with your loved one. You...

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Simple Ways to Improve Difficult Dementia Behaviors

Uncategorized Apr 27, 2020

Welcome back Careblazer.

Today I want to talk about 5 simple ways you can improve difficult dementia behavior. By far, the majority of emails and questions I receive from Careblazers are about how to get their loved one to stop doing something or to change doing something. 

Today I’m going to share 5 general and simple things that you can do to increase the chances that your loved one’s behavior will improve, and in some cases maybe go away all together. I love hearing from Careblazers who start to implement some of these strategies and then write to me excited that their loved one seems to be better and happier. I hope you’ll have the same results. After all, when you LOWD is doing well, you tend to do well too. 

Before I get into the 5 tips, I want to personally invite you to my upcoming live Q & A session I’m hosting in a few weeks. It’s free and I’ll be spending the entire time answering as many of your caregiving questions as I...

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How to Make Caregiving Decisions

Uncategorized Apr 19, 2020

 

Hey there Careblazer!

Today, I’m going to share with you my favorite tip for handling other people’s opinions about your caregiving decisions AND I’m going to give you my 3 step process for deciding whether or not the person’s opinion you are worried about is even someone’s opinion you should consider. I hope this episode brings you a sense of freedom for all your future caregiving decisions. 

As usual, be sure to download your free Careblazer Survival Guide linked in the description below this video to take your caregiving journey to the next level. I’ve put my favorite strategies for responding to difficult behaviors in this guide and I hope it can help you as it has thousands of other Careblazers. Okay let’s get started. 

As long as you are interacting with other humans, you are going to face human opinions. Some of them can be helpful, some of them, MANY of them, not so much. 

Here are the 3 questions to ask...

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Routine in Dementia

Uncategorized Apr 16, 2020

 

Welcome back, Careblazer!

I hope you’re all hanging in there through this Corona virus. Since this virus has interrupted so many lives, closed down senior centers and adult day health care centers, reduced or totally stopped extra help from coming into the home, I thought we could spend some time talking about how to make a dementia routine at home. This idea came from Dr. Regina Koepp, geropsychologist in Georgia who told me many of the caregiver she sees are struggling with how to get through the days as best as possible without all the usual outside supports. So thank you Dr. Koepp. She also recently started a podcast called the Psychology of Aging

Whether this Corona virus has totally changed your caregiving schedule or whether it’s really made no difference at all, this will be helpful if you spend a large amount of your day with someone with dementia. I’ll go over why a routine in dementia is helpful and how you can make your own daily routine...

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