JOHN’S BLOG

 

 NOT ALL DEMENTIA IS ALZHEIMER’S

 

     First off, there are two stages to all these types of dementia: your world and my world. Stay in your world as long as you can, then come to the Fields and spend the rest of your lives with us.

 

    Too simple?

 

     Well, I’m a simple fellow and dementia is very complicated, if you’re in the business of making things complicated.

 

     There are some great philosophical approaches to keeping things simple that cut across all cultures for thousands of years (Occam’s Razor). Nature likes simplicity (Fibonacci Sequence).

 

     My current guests with dementia have at least five subtypes and they present differently as well as simply being in different people. Who you are before dementia strikes has a lot to do with how your dementia will present and progress.

 

     Beyond Alzheimer’s, I’m seeing frontal lobe, vascular, Lewy Body and Primary Progressive Aphasia variants in my guests. What they can and can’t do intellectually, how they engage other people, what they’ve lost and what’s preserved are all consequences of the different diseases.

 

     Since none can be cured, coping becomes the operating principle and we spend a lot of time and money teaching and learning coping skills. There are popular new training programs but there’s no new news.

 

     We study the people, their mannerisms, their personalities…we learn about them, then how to cope with their diseases becomes apparent.

 

     We know they change, gradually or quickly and nobody gets better…simple enough?

 

     The hard part is coping 24/7, 365 for about fifty guests at each place. That’s complicated. Keeping staff morale up is complicated when they have kids and spouses and flu season and holidays and we want them to share their energy and lives with old people who only survive thanks to the dedication of staff.

 

     That’s complicated. And it’s rewarding, if you thrive on dignity and compassion.

Working with dementia demands special people with special personalities and building them into a team.

 

     Too complicated?

 

     Not for us!

 

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