3 Important No-no’s | Talking to a Person with Dementia /Alzheimer’s Disease

Dad has Alzheimer’s disease. You are a loyal daughter (Jill) who visits often and brings his favorite foods. On one visit, Dad has a big smile when he sees you. “Hi Mary” “Dad, I’m NOT Mary. (Mary is your older sister.)  What’s my name?” “Oh, gosh. Where’s Mary?” “Dad, I’m Jill!! Why do you always ask about Mary? Are you trying to get on my nerves?”

What’s the Most Likely Outcome in Your Case?

Mom Has Been Misplacing Things Your 84-year-old mother has Alzheimer’s disease. She has always tended to be anxious. Now that she has Alzheimer’s disease, the anxiety is much worse. She has been misplacing things such as her glasses and medicines. This happens frequently and she quickly becomes upset. She will claim that somebody took them. The hired caregiver becomes so fed up with the constant accusations that she leaves. “I didn’t want her here anyway,” says Mom. “She kept stealing my things!” The caregiver is gone but things continue to disappear: “Where did you put […]

Agitation – A Clear Description Leads to the Best Action Plan

A nurse working at night in the hospital calls the doctor asking for help: “I have a patient, Mrs Jones. She’s very agitated. Can you order some Imagine being the doctor in the above situation. The request can have multiple outcomes. The night doctor does not know the patient well. In addition, the doctor is busy and does not want more phone calls about the patient. In the worst-case scenario, a high dose of the medicine is ordered. The patient subsequently becomes over sedated and the next day she chokes on her food leading to […]

She Doesn’t Want to Do Anything? Is that Depression? Maybe Not

“Mom used to enjoy shopping, seeing friends, and going out to eat. After she was diagnosed with mild Alzheimer’s Disease, she’s changed. Now she just wants to stay at home and sit there.” It’s logical to think that a person with Alzheimer’s Disease might be depressed. After all, isn’t it a depressing disease? Depression IS commonly seen in Alzheimer’s Disease and other types of dementia. Loss of interest is a key feature. However, there is another possibility that is frequently overlooked. That person may have apathy, a loss of interest in doing things. Let’s take […]

The Brain is Like a Computer | Is It just Getting Older, or Is It Getting Dementia?

What is dementia? Here are some simple concepts to start with: The brain does three very important things. Each of these is impacted when a person develops dementia. The brain can be thought of as an amazing, living super computer. Dementia is a general term for diseases that injure the brain over time. An old brain is not the same as an injured brain. Three Important Things a Brain Does The first moments of life are unforgettable. A baby is born and starts crying. From that moment forward, the brain will experience a lifetime of […]

Is Mom in the Hospital? Remember the 8 Ds

Dr. Warren Wong

The hospital is a hard place for older patients. In a previous post, I described three awful things that happen too often. I was frequently asked to help care for frail older patients in the hospital. Based on these experiences, I came up with 8D's.

When you have an older loved one in the hospital, think of these 8 Ds:

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I hear you: Listening with your heart

Alyson Kuhn is co-author of the book I hear you: Talking and listening to people with Alzheimers. In a previous post Alyson said: “My goal was always to help my mother feel in charge.” In it, Alyson talks about learning to “kuhncierge” to care for her mom.

In this post, Alyson talks about communications. It is the most overlooked and neglected aspect of caring for people with dementia. For some caregivers, communicating is intuitive; for others, it’s like learning a foreign language. It’s a skill we can all polish—and apply to everyone we care about. Alyson provides three practical pointers.

I say it over and over again: There's no one more important than the caregiver in the daily life of a frail person.
Warmest Aloha,


“I hear you” by Jane Mahakian, PhD and Alyson Kuhn
is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com,
and through your local bookseller

My goal was always to help my mother feel in charge

My friend Alyson Kuhn is co-author of the book I Hear You, about talking and listening to people with Alzheimer’s.  Alyson and her co-author, gerontologist Jane Mahakian, provide great insights about how to avoid “talking down” to someone living with dementia.
 
There is no greater gift to a person than conversing with love and respect. In today's video, Alyson presents a “social solution” to entice her mother to eat lunch.

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AARP “Saved my Life!!”

Did you know that November is National Family Caregivers Month? AARP Hawaii definitely knows and puts a tremendous amount of effort into a series of activities throughout the entire month. The AARP champion behind the scenes is Jackie Boland. A caregiver told her that AARP “saved my life!!”. In this short video Jackie tells that story, talks about “the Art of Caregiving”, “Sky Blossom” and Amy Goyer:

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My Auntie says “Why Didn’t You” Over and Over

Ask the Doctor

As I help my mom's sister and her husband get my 88-year-old uncle (my mom's single brother who helped me care for my mother when she had cancer) who has dementia that's not so far along that he doesn't remember basics, but advanced enough along that he can't live alone any more it has been very difficult for my auntie.

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