What’s the first thing that comes to mind regarding someone you love receiving a dementia diagnosis, such as Alzheimer’s disease?
For most people, “a fear of suffering, for many years” is the first devastating thought. That’s sobering. We must stop and ask, how can those who work in health care, and all of society, ensure “suffering” isn’t an inevitable reality with a dementia diagnosis? How can we help the person diagnosed, and their loved ones, to live well with dementia?
Suffering Is Not Inevitable With A Dementia Diagnosis
First, let’s challenge that fear and belief of “inevitable suffering.” There is potential to experience quality of life with dementia. It begins with changing our perspective and beliefs. We must strive for far better than “suffering from dementia” and know quality of life is possible. It also requires we have the specialized knowledge and skills to simplify beloved activities to the person’s ability level and to adapt our communication and approach to match where the person is in the disease process. This is the essence of specialized dementia care services.
“If we can help people living with dementia stay successfully and safely engaged in meaningful life activities at their best ability, then we can optimize their level of independence, their health and their quality of life.”
— Kim Warchol, Thriving With Dementia
Stay Focused on Person-Centered and Cognitively Supportive
Whether an individual with a dementia diagnosis receives care services at home or in senior living, a person-centered and cognitively supportive approach is critical to enable the individual to achieve their quality of life and functional potential. What a wonderful message of light and hope you can deliver amid so much darkness and despair.
Thriving With Dementia is Essential Reading for Caregivers
I hope you will find this eBook, spotlighting specialized dementia care at home, to be informative and helpful. Our goal, whether care is provided at home or in senior living, is to minimize the impact of dementia on the person, their loved ones, and their care partners. Remember, perspective matters, as does quality: Quality care leads to quality of life, and many other quality outcomes.
Fact Check: Suffering from dementia is not inevitable. Living well with a dementia diagnosis is very much a possibility. Now let’s make it happen!
Kim Warchol, OTR/L, is the founder and President of Dementia Care Specialists at Crisis Prevention Institute.
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