Sunday, April 22, 2012
I Am Fascinated
You might find it strange that I am fascinated about dementia and Alzheimer’s. Well, let me give you a little history. My grandmother, Bessie, died from Alzheimer’s. My brother-in-law has a cognitive disability brought on by serving in the Vietnam War. My husband has a brain injury with a significant degree of disability from a fall at his place of employment in 1992. My mother has Alzheimer’s, and my miniature dachshund (who passed away on March 10th) was diagnosed with dementia. So, you can see that my personal life is full of individuals with cognitive issues. Now add to that the following. I volunteer each week with individuals who have dementia. I also am blessed to minister to families who are traveling the journey of dementia through one-on-one coaching. Then, to top it all off, I do music therapy for individuals who have every degree of dementia and Alzheimer’s you can imagine. One would think all of this would be a “downer”, so to speak. Quite the opposite is true. It is my pleasure to help individuals learn about Alzheimer’s and dementia. When they have those “light bulb moments”, I receive a great deal of satisfaction. One such moment occurred recently. A client was visiting her mother on Good Friday when her mother said, “Today is the day I will be executed.” My client was shocked, to say the least. After remembering one of our sessions together, the client knelt beside her mother, and she worked to change the subject. This kind of tactic is called “Diversion Therapy”. She said, “Momma, I didn’t know today was the day. Do you think we could have lunch first?” Her mother thought about it for a few seconds, and she then decided lunch was a good idea. My client did not get hysterical over her mother’s comment. Instead, she approached her Mom in a calm and confident way, and she then proceeded to “divert” her attention to another subject. One last thought for you to ponder. Don’t you think it is likely this lady, in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, was thinking of the crucifixion when she stated it was her day to be executed? Quite a sobering thought, indeed. Diversion Therapy is a tactic that may not come naturally, but it is one that needs to be learned and practiced. Keep it in mind! Remember - Knowledge brings POWER. Power brings HOPE. Hope brings SMILES. We all needs more SMILES!