ARTICLES / Alzheimer's /
What Every Alzheimer’s... /
By Kim Warchol, OTR/L, DCCT
- It is true a person with
Alzheimer’s/dementia may not be able to plan and
tend to the garden in the expert way of days
gone by; it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t enjoy
planting one plant with caregiver assist, while
feeling the sunshine on their face and hearing
the birds sing.
Whether a professional caregiver meeting the
person for the first time, or a family caregiver in
a progression towards acceptance, we must never
assume a life or a relationship has less value
simply because it has changed. Instead, we must
believe those with Alzheimer’s/dementia have the
potential to lead a meaningful life at every
dementia stage if we help to create feelings of
purpose and success through loving and supportive
interactions and moments.
There is a fulfilling, rich relationship that can
occur and be maintained between a person living with
Alzheimer’s/ dementia and their caregivers. The
secret to achieving this has been shared above.
Caregivers can’t care for their loved ones or their
clients at the expense of themselves, but must
instead seek out help, support and guidance so they
never go it alone. The key is to create and be a
member of a dementia management team.
There is much a caregiver needs to know about how to
care for those with Alzheimer’s/dementia at each
stage and it is called dementia capable care. It is
not unlike the basic premises of good child care.
Therefore, a person can quickly learn how to be a
dementia capable caregiver by applying what is
already known from child care, while always being
mindful to never treat an adult like a child.
Finally, all caregivers must learn to enjoy the
precious moments spent with those with
Alzheimer’s/dementia. The disease should not be
allowed to define life or relationships. With a
positive perspective, there will be many special
moments along the journey if the caregiver stops to
see, hear and feel them.
Kim Warchol is an Occupational Therapist
specializing in dementia management. She is
President of Dementia Care Specialists, a CPI
specialized offering which is an international
training and consulting organization. Kim has
educated thousands of health professionals and
consulted to numerous long-term care living
environments to facilitate quality dementia care.