Blog

Transitions: Coming Full Circle

All of you who have been following my blogs and/or have visited my website’s “About” page, know that, in the wake of my experiences caring for my wife Nancy, and through and beyond her passing in 2012, I have experienced a calling to work with and support individuals and families facing into a loved one’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. This life transition has been evolving over the last few years. What I haven’t talked about at all…

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“Hear My Voice”: Empowering Decision-Making Autonomy of Those With Dementia

An inevitable stage was reached in the progression of my wife Nancy’s dementia, when she could no longer drive. So instead of renewing her driver’s license when that time came, we went to a Washington State Department of Licensing office to apply for and obtain an official state identification card.  Upon completing the application, we appeared before a licensing clerk, who proceeded to ask Nancy a series of questions. As each question was posed to her, I would jump in…

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Dementia Care Planning: You and Your Doctor – Together

I recently came across some information that gave me pause: According to a February 2017 Alzheimer’s Association Fact Sheet entitled “Care Planning for People with Cognitive Impairment” (hereinafter Care Planning), only 33 percent of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are actually aware of their diagnosis. The Fact Sheet goes on to say that even when caregivers are included in the cohort, only 45 percent of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – or their caregivers – are aware of their diagnosis. With…

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COPES – A Diamond in the Rough for Caregiving Assistance

Providing daily care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or related dementias is a challenging, difficult, and extremely stressful endeavor. You can be the most dedicated, loving, and supportive care provider, yet will likely find that, at some point, you are simply unable to provide, on your own, the adequate care that your loved one needs. This is especially true if your loved one struggles with being able to handle several activities of daily living (ADL’s). Further, obtaining  respite from…

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“I try really hard but I fail a lot”

Kerry Egan is a hospice chaplain and author of a very inspiring book entitled “On Living” (see resources). She was recently interviewed  by Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air. During what was a very candid and transparent discussion of her work with dying individuals, Ms. Egan uttered the statement that is the title of this article. She was quite open in her acknowledgement of her fears, anxieties and perceived shortcomings over her many years of being a hospice chaplain. In short,…

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Palliative & Hospice Care: Embracing the End of Life Journey

  I would like to delve into an area of significant meaning to me, and which I very much want to share with you: The gift and blessing of palliative and hospice care, as one transitions from treatment interventions associated with chronic or terminal illnesses, to embracing the end of life journey. The medical profession is quite understandably focused on healing, often in the context of perpetuating the ongoing search for one more treatment option. After all, when we are…

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What Does Quality of Life Mean To You – The Conversation We Don’t Have

  A seminal topic that has emerged and resonated with me concerns the end-of-life journey and what that means to all of us as we age. Specifically, I began to recognize the importance of dialogue around what quality of life means to each of us as human beings; and the meaning and value of palliative and hospice care. These topics take on significant importance when you realize that one in eight Americans aged 65 and over has Alzheimer’s disease. In…

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Person-Centered Dementia Care: The Wave of the Present

I have written extensively about a topic that can easily be summed up with what is emerging as a rally cry of those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias: “I’m Still Here!” Without further ado, let me introduce you to this marvelous and inspirational short video entitled: “Person Centered Matters”. It focuses on the importance for family members and caregivers to fully engage their loved ones with dementia as real, honest-to-goodness people who are alive, can be engaged, happy, and can experience…

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Use of Anti-psychotics in Dementia Care: A Topic Revisited

I previously posted this article in which I discussed the importance of approaching with extreme caution the use of off-label psychotropics to address dementia symptoms. I described how the antipsychotic drugs my wife Nancy had been prescribed on her release from geropsych hospitalization – Risperdal and Seroquel –  were meant to reduce her then agitation, anxiety, aggression and depression. I further set out my journey with both Nancy’s neurologist and her primary care physician in getting Nancy off these drugs when…

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Survivors’ Transition: The Journey to Self, Renewal, and Rediscovery

Jennifer Hopper knows the meaning and experience of surviving an immense loss. She is well recognized in the Pacific Northwest – and perhaps beyond these borders – as the woman who in 2009 survived a horrific assault and rape that took the life of her then fiancée, Teresa Butz. Jennifer has been quite intentional and conscious in stepping into her journey of grief and healing over the last several years. Her story has been well chronicled. In June 2011 The…

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