Seeing the person, not the disease, in dementia care

By |2019-02-20T01:15:47-08:00February 20th, 2019|Categories: Dementia Education, Reflections, Workshops|0 Comments

As the numbers of people facing Alzheimer’s and other dementias continues to rapidly increase, medical and governmental awareness is trying to catch up with demand. Both public and private programs are developed ~ I continue to follow research, trials, innovations and inspirations surrounding all-things-cognitive-change. The need is overwhelming at times, and yet I am confident that we are learning valuable ways to retain the best-possible quality of life and dignity for people living with dementia and their care partners.

In the end of January I took the 2nd step toward becoming a Positive Approach® to Care (PAC) Certified Independent Coach through the important work developed by Teepa Snow. I believe Teepa is truly an angel on earth for all she has contributed to how we engage with people living with dementia. Preceding the 2-day intensive in-person PAC Training I completed 3 exams based on ~10 hours of detailed video training, and now I am in the middle of completing my 8 weeks of follow-up coaching and exercises. This course doesn’t merely share ideas then send you home – it focuses on proficiency of using these highly refined skills through drills, repetition, role playing, video review with master-level coaches and practice, practice, practice.

As I prepare syllabi for several upcoming trainings I will be presenting my desk is a mess of resources, conference notes, post-its with AH-HA! reminders and a cat. Yes, a cat…may seem odd to mention it, yet his ever-present self is a big part of my workday and keeps me sane 🙂 He’s part of my self-care, a point I often profess to care partners!

In April I will lead a 3-session series for families; from a new dementia diagnosis to those who already have their loved one living in a support community. I love this type of audience, as I know their fear, pain and anger can be somewhat eased with specific understanding of how the brain changes alter behavior and personality. Pairing this new understanding with rehearsed new skills opens the possibility of more loving connections and ease of daily activities. This supports both the person living with dementia and the person doing their best to provide care.

I am grateful to be so clear in my calling. I am a lifelong learner and so much has lead me to opening Jacobsen Dementia Care Coaching. I will continue to have a messy desk full of ideas and resources. I will continue to see those living with dementia as worthy of dignity and compassion. I will continue to advocate for engaging with focus on the unique person, not the disease. I will continue to train and advocate for person-centered skills and policies over task-driven approaches to providing care. And I will enthusiastically continue striving to support moments of laughter and loving connection between people living with dementia and their care partners. Truly seeing the person, not the disease, is where we start.

Want to learn more? Click to learn about our services or sign up for our mailing list.

Leave A Comment