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Archive for the ‘Harry Urban of Dementia Chats’ Category

Dementia – What did you say?

 

Enjoy another poem by one of our members.  This poem is written by a 15 year old.   Thank you Ari for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.

What did you say? 

By : Ari Kempner Age 15

Wait what did you say? Oh yes, I remember now.
Where are we going again? Oh, I see now.
What’s your name? Oh yea, you are my granddaughter.

Five years ago, she walked this world knowing all,
She talked in conversations confident and standing tall. 

Smiled bright and always with a colored pencil in her hand, 

She would even come to play with me in the sand.

We could play and play cards for hours,

From the dark dark night at one am to afternoon spring showers.

But now she wanders till she is directed,
She follows him because they are so connected.

Yes, he is my grandpa her best friend since day one,
He takes care of her and his day is never done.
What I try do is be there for my mom,
She is always there for me to keep me cool and calm.

On the outside she handles this as cool as ice,
But on the inside I think she really feels like she is paying the price.
She cries in secret and I know feels sad,
I mean why wouldn’t she, she has to watch her mom deteriorate and become mad.

She never grew up the way I did,

She wasn’t as close with her family when she was a kid.
Walking through this world day by day,
Now of days she has nothing left to say.

Wait what did you say? I can’t remember
Where are we going again? I can’t remember.
What’s your name? I can’t remember.
She will soon be gone, but not quite yet,
But little does she know she is mentally gone already and making us fret. 

So here is to the days that you are still alive,
But when you leave us, I know your soul and arts will continue to thrive.

Thank You Healthline and All of Our Followers!

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Healthline Honors Top Alzheimer’s Blogs for 2018

It’s an Honor to be Named

One of the Top Blogs For 2018

Check all the blogs out below

Thank You Healthline and All of Our Followers!

 

Looking for a Keynoter, Consultant or Trainer?

See what LeadingAge has to say

about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

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Alzheimer’s Disease International Has Another Exciting Year Ahead!

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio Talks with

Paola Barbarino, CEO

of Alzheimer’s Disease International

Listen Below

Watch Below

Lori La Bey, host and founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio talks with Paola Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International. Paola is in charge of all aspects of ADI’s work and talk openly about their mission and their fantastic work. Learn about the international ADI conference that is being hosted in Chicago in the United States this year in July, Their new film titled “Every 3 Seconds,” The World Alzheimer Report along with World Alzheimer Month?.  I think you will be impressed with all of the free resources and collaboration with 90 different countries.

Contact ADI: 

Website        https://www.alz.co.uk

International Conference in Chicago for 2018         www.adi2018.org 

 

Looking for a Keynoter, Consultant or Trainer?

See what LeadingAge has to say

about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

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Hospice – The “H” Word. Let’s Have a Discussion. What Are Your Thoughts?

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio Talks with

Tina Ketchie Stearns

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Or Watch Below

Lori La Bey, host of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio will have a down to earth conversation with Tina Ketchie Stearns about the “H Word,” Hospice.  They will discuss why the hospice ribbon say “It’s About How You LIVE.”  We think you will find this a very interesting topic and one that has a lot of myths and stigma attached to it.

Contact Tina Ketchie Stearns

Email –  tina@itsabouthowyoulive.com

Websitehttps://www.itsabouthowyoulive.com/

Phone – 336-655-0200

 

Looking for a Keynoter, Consultant or Trainer?

See what LeadingAge has to say

about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

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Technology Lab Helps Families Decide What Will Work For Their Situation

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio Talks with

 Larry Carpenter of the Augustana Care Learning Lab

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 Lori La Bey, host of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio interviews Larry Carpenter of the Augustana Care Learning Lab for Eldercare Technologies.  They will discuss their mission and vision along with some of the latest technology they display for people to touch feel and test out, helping them decide what will help them in their situation today and in the future.

Contact the Learning Lab:

Website:     http://thelearninglab.org

Email:     kingallsmaloney@augustanacare.org

Phone:    612-843-6790  

Looking for a Keynoter, Consultant or Trainer?

See what LeadingAge has to say

about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

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Support Groups, Activities and Housing for Those with Dementia

Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio with

Jay Benedict with Cherrywood Pointe

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Lori La Bey the host and founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio interviews Jay Benedict, Outreach and Sales Director for Cherrywood Pointe, an Ebenezer managed property.  This new community is located in Roseville, MN just off Lexington Ave just north of County Road C. Jay will discuss a unique support group called “Connections” he created in 2015, for those with memory loss and their care partners which meets monthly.  He also is an active member of the Roseville Alzheimer’s and Dementia Community Action Team, which is a grassroots effort making a big impact in it’s community as well as surrounding neighborhoods.    Jay has also worked closely with the Ramsey county library to bring the new dementia support system and tools called, “Memory Minders.”   Carol Jackson with the library has been leading this cause.  Jay is also working with his community and the Fire Department with a new virtual tool they have developed.

Contact Jay Benedict:

Phone:  651-766-2265

Email:  JBenedi1@Fairview.Org

 

Go to www.AlzheimersSpeaks.com for additional resources 

Looking for a Keynoter, Consultant or Trainer?

See what LeadingAge has to say

about Lori La Bey

 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

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Improvisation Can Help to Heal — Even Trauma, Even Alzheimer’s

Here article submitted from one of our members, Dr. Jade Angelica.  You will find more information about Dr Angelica’s work at the bottom of this article.      

Improvisation Can Help to Heal —

Even Trauma, Even Alzheimer’s  

I’m a trauma survivor. Like many other survivors – like many people, actually – I tend to be fearful of the unknown. Because of our fear, we often try to deny unwanted realities or to control what happens next in a desperate attempt to know the future. Improvisation performer, teacher, and author of Impro: Improvisation and The Theatre, Keith Johnstone, calls us “no-sayers.” Through our efforts, he says, we experience more safety. Alternatively, “yes-sayers,” – those who accept what is and are comfortable not knowing what will be – experience more adventure.

In the arena of improvisational theatre, Johnstone’s assessment may be a primary truth. In the arena of real life, though, another, deeper truth about no-sayers and yes-sayers emerges. By saying “yes” to what is – accepting reality – and wondering about, rather than fearing the future, we can experience more healing. Johnstone proposes that we no-sayers can learn to say “yes,” and my own life is a hopeful testament to this possibility.

I discovered improvisation during a truly terrible time in my life. An abusive relationship had ended, and the dividing of our mutually owned property and assets was festering in the courts. My suffering was evident to everyone. A wise friend suggested that, in addition to my therapy and support group, I might benefit from having some fun. She encouraged me to attend an improvisation class. I did and my life changed forever.

At first, I was terrified. The other students were much younger extroverts with a knack for comedy. Many were actors interested in improving their performance skills. I was the only sad, frightened introvert seeking healing. The first few classes I cowered in the corner, hoping with all my strength that the teacher wouldn’t call on me to participate in an exercise in front of the class. He didn’t. After the third class, as I walked alone down the stairs of the studio, I heard that judgmental little voice inside proclaiming firmly and sarcastically, “Well, you’re certainly getting your money’s worth out of this, aren’t you!?” That awareness was all I needed to propel me into participating fully in the class; and as my friend predicted, it was such fun!

The camaraderie among classmates, the hilarity, and the laughter facilitated the first level of healing that I experienced. The class raised my energy and resurrected my joy. Soon, though, I began to notice that the principles of improvisation resembled spiritual qualities I had studied in theology classes, practiced through prayer and meditation, and aspired to integrate into my life, such as:

  • Attentive listening
  • Being present in the moment
  • Expanding awareness and observation
  • Letting go of the need to control – or even know – what happens next
  • Being open to noticing and receiving what the situation is offering
  • Responding in a way that is supportive and promotes self-esteem
  • Acknowledging our interdependence
  • Opening ourselves up to previously unimagined possibilities
  • Experiencing, embracing, and expressing joy

I discovered through experience that all of these qualities – embodied in the practice of improvisation – could lead me to healing.

The reason that improvisation surprises us with its healing potential is because we think that this creative drama craft is about comedy and performance and being outrageously clever or quick-witted. But it’s not. At it’s core, improvisation is about being obvious, and saying or doing the next logical thing; it’s about being authentic; it’s about exploring what it means to be human. My first teacher, David LaGraffe in Portland, Maine, has moved away from improv comedy over the years, focusing now on what he calls “pure improv.” He describes pure improv as “an unconditional welcoming of the present moment.” From this perspective, he continues, “Improvisation is not so much inventive as it is revelatory. We learn to trust that everything we need is already here, waiting to be discovered – if we are willing to be open to it.”

My efforts to heal from my failed relationship led me to the revelations of improvisation and helped me see my life patterns of resistance and control. Previously, in my no-saying life, I used will, skill, and persistence, trying to make situations fit my preferences when I didn’t like or want what was happening. When resistance is implemented in an improvised scene, it’s called “blocking the offer.” This is the realm of no-saying – where scared improvisers seek safety – and it inevitably leads to a very bad scene. The awareness of my resistance became indisputable (even to me) during a class scene when my partner said: “I’ve dropped my contact lens on the floor.” I blocked her and substituted my will for how the scene should unfold. “Oh no,” I replied. “It’s probably still in your eye. Let me look.” Then, I moved closer to have a look in her eye.

Even in a class during a theatre game, I couldn’t accept the reality my partner had described – that she dropped her contact lens. If I had made the obvious response and said, “Yikes! Contact on the Floor! I’m afraid to move!” my partner would have felt heard and possibly an interesting scene would have evolved. What happened instead was conflict. “No,” she said, angrily, as she pushed me away. “I dropped it.”

After coming face to face with my pattern of no-saying that night, my life changed. Subsequently, through my practice of improvisation with my mother during the years she had Alzheimer’s disease, her life changed, and our relationship healed. Over the past nine years, I have passed this healing through improvisation onto thousands of other Alzheimer’s caregivers all across the country through programs offered by Healing Moments™, the non-profit organization I founded for caregiver education. (www.healingmoments.org) The practice of communicating and connecting with persons with dementia through improvisation is now going mainstream: Neuropsychologists at the University of Iowa are studying the impact of the two-day workshop for Alzheimer’s family caregivers that I developed for Healing Moments™.

My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2001, and three years later I travelled from Maine to Iowa to spend two weeks caring for her while my sibling, who lived with Mom, went on vacation. It was my first time being alone with someone who had Alzheimer’s and I was worried about this unknown, especially because my sibling told me that Mom was angry, combative, and uncooperative.

I prepared myself for this presumed terrifying experience by searching the Internet for caregiving ideas (finding few in 2004) and ordering a newly published book, Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s by Joanne Koenig Coste. While reading the book in the plane, I had a “flash” of an idea that trying improvisation with Mom – meeting her in her world, as all the experts were suggesting – might work. And it did!

During those two weeks Mom gave me countless opportunities to practice saying “yes” to her reality. When I was able to meet her in her world she wasn’t the angry, combative person I was expecting. One meeting with Mom that was both sweet and touching involved her sister, Milly. We had planned an outing to the nursing home to visit her friend, Martin, and when it was nearly time to go, I asked Mom, “Are you ready?”

Visibly upset by my question, she replied, “We can’t go.”

I reacted with curiosity. “But I thought you wanted to see Marty.”

“Not now,” Mom said. “This is the time that Milly comes to visit me.”

Milly died in 1991; we had planted flowers on her grave the day before. Instead of correcting Mom and possibly demeaning her for forgetting or breaking her heart by reminding her that her sister was long dead, I chose to improvise. I joined Mom in her world – where we were expecting Milly.

So, I said the next logical thing.  “Well, what would you think about leaving Milly a note, telling her where we are, and asking her to come in and wait for us?”

After pausing for a moment, Mom said, “That’s a good idea.”

“OK,” I said. “Could you get a piece of paper and a pencil, and we’ll write the note?”

“Oh, Yes. I’ll do that.” And off Mom went to find the paper and pencil. I wrote the note, Mom taped it to the door, and off we went to visit Marty.

Improvisers would call my response “advancing the offer.” Alzheimer’s experts would identify this as a “therapeutic fiblet.” Spiritual teachers would call this accepting reality – Mom’s reality, according to Alzheimer’s – and would remind us that accepting reality in the present provides the most positive springboard into the future. Researchers have informed us that this kind of radical acceptance is the only coping technique to relieve caregiver stress.

Through improvisation, Mom and I allowed her reality to spring us into a future that overflowed with connection and healing. The day before I was leaving to return to Maine, Mom was able to tell me that my efforts to learn about Alzheimer’s, my attempts to communicate creatively by using improvisation, and my compassionate attention had made an impression on her. She looked up at me from her chair in the living room, and said, “Will you stay and take care of me? You’re so kind to me.” In reply, my heart shouted out, “Yes!” – and in that moment, my yes-saying, healing adventure into Alzheimer’s sprouted wings.

Although I may not be “perfectly OK” with the unknown future, as my diploma from ImprovBoston proclaims, this recovering no-sayer is now more curious than I am afraid about what is yet to be revealed.

More about Dr. Jade Angelica

Jade is the founder and director of Healing Moments for Alzheimer’s (www.healingmoments.org) and the author of Where Two Worlds Touch: A Spiritual Journey Through Alzheimer’s Disease.  She is an Author, Minister, Spiritual Director, Caregiver – offering spiritual direction and Alzheimer’s inspiration for individuals and groups. Hoping to make a difference!

Follow Jade C. Angelica on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jadeangelica1

 

 

Looking for a Speaker?

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 “Feedback from the conference planning committee and our leadership team was extremely positive. Many attendees commented that she was one of the best speakers they had heard.” 

Pat Sylvia, Director of Education & Member Development LeadingAge Washington

For More Testimonials

Click Below to Download the Tips

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