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A Dignified Life

Virginia BellDavid Troxel

A Dignified Life

Virginia BellDavid Troxel

$34.99

Paperback
Four million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease and experts estimate that 22 million people around the world will be so afflicted by 2025. Far too many families are struggling with the emotionally and physically draining responsibility of redefining their relationship with, and caring for, someone who not long ago was a vibrant member of society, yet may not know their own name today. ^A Dignified Life helps combat the burnout and frustration that often accompany the task of caring for an Alzheimer's patient. Author David Troxel, an Alzheimer's expert and executive director of the California Central Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, maintains that at its simplest this approach is based on treating the person like a best friend and working from their strengths, not their weaknesses. He explains: "As family members, caregivers and professionals, we have to try to connect with them. People with this disease in some way need someone to be . . . attentive and

- Publisher Chapter 4 A New Start The Art of Friendship Alzheimer's disease changes us all. Because of the associated memory loss and confusion, your mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, or partner may no longer know you or understand his or her relationship to you. Many caregivers are confused, frustrated, sad, or even angry about these losses. Your mother may have always been your closest confidante and strongest supporter; now, she does not recognize you. A spouse whom you counted on for many years to balance the checkbook, pay bills, file the income taxes, or cook three meals a day is no longer able to do these things. As a result, your relationship with the person changes whether you like it or not. Adopting a Best Friends approach can help diminish this pain and loss and can have a powerful impact on the person with dementia. When you rethink, or recast, your relationships to individuals with dementia and become a Best Friend to them instead of just a caregiver, the person now feels you are on his or her side. In addition, friendship helps evoke some of the social graces or learned manners of the person with dementia. It helps put the person on his or her best behavior. Caregivers using the Best Friends approach have made the Helping Hand day program of the Greater Kentucky/Southern Indiana Alzheimer's Association one of the most admired adult day programs in the United States. Many individuals with dementia in Helping Hand have been considered difficult and challenging by their own family caregivers. Yet at Helping Hand, because the staff and volunteers are acting as friends, they thrive. Families can have similar success using the Best Friends approach at home. Rather than staying in a state of despair, caregivers can learn to work through the pain and focus on gaining maximum value from the present; caregiving is transformed from a terrible burden to a job that becomes meaningful and satisfying. The process changes from a series of failures to a series of successes. Recasting this relationship to become a Best Friend does not mean taking away love or loving the person with dementia any less. It simply means approaching the relationship differently. One caregiver told us that he had always had a troublesome relationship with his father-so bad, in fact, that he ran away from home at age 16. He now cares for his father full time and says they have never been closer. They take a daily walk together, have an evening scotch and soda, and watch the grandchildren play soccer. They have found that they now enjoy each other's company. Because the father has forgotten much of the past and is often unsure of his relationship with his son, the son has realized that he, too, must let go of past slights and injustices. "What's the point of me dwelling on it?" the caregiver asks. "What's past is past." Like many caregivers, the son never dreamed he would be in the position of taking care of his father, a father whom he admits disliking for much of his life. However, this family's approach to Alzheimer's care has helped heal not only the son's relationship with his father, but also wounds he has carried inside himself. Being a Best Friend is not just about altruism. Caregivers who recast their relationships take advantage of the principles of friendship to gain new ideas for handling day-to-day care in a more natural, positive way; prevent problems before they happen; fo

- Publisher

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About "A Dignified Life"

Four million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease and experts estimate that 22 million people around the world will be so afflicted by 2025. Far too many families are struggling with the emotionally and physically draining responsibility of redefining their relationship with, and caring for, someone who not long ago was a vibrant member of society, yet may not know their own name today. ^A Dignified Life helps combat the burnout and frustration that often accompany the task of caring for an Alzheimer's patient. Author David Troxel, an Alzheimer's expert and executive director of the California Central Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, maintains that at its simplest this approach is based on treating the person like a best friend and working from their strengths, not their weaknesses. He explains: "As family members, caregivers and professionals, we have to try to connect with them. People with this disease in some way need someone to be . . . attentive and
- Publisher

Chapter 4 A New Start The Art of Friendship Alzheimer's disease changes us all. Because of the associated memory loss and confusion, your mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, or partner may no longer know you or understand his or her relationship to you. Many caregivers are confused, frustrated, sad, or even angry about these losses. Your mother may have always been your closest confidante and strongest supporter; now, she does not recognize you. A spouse whom you counted on for many years to balance the checkbook, pay bills, file the income taxes, or cook three meals a day is no longer able to do these things. As a result, your relationship with the person changes whether you like it or not. Adopting a Best Friends approach can help diminish this pain and loss and can have a powerful impact on the person with dementia. When you rethink, or recast, your relationships to individuals with dementia and become a Best Friend to them instead of just a caregiver, the person now feels you are on his or her side. In addition, friendship helps evoke some of the social graces or learned manners of the person with dementia. It helps put the person on his or her best behavior. Caregivers using the Best Friends approach have made the Helping Hand day program of the Greater Kentucky/Southern Indiana Alzheimer's Association one of the most admired adult day programs in the United States. Many individuals with dementia in Helping Hand have been considered difficult and challenging by their own family caregivers. Yet at Helping Hand, because the staff and volunteers are acting as friends, they thrive. Families can have similar success using the Best Friends approach at home. Rather than staying in a state of despair, caregivers can learn to work through the pain and focus on gaining maximum value from the present; caregiving is transformed from a terrible burden to a job that becomes meaningful and satisfying. The process changes from a series of failures to a series of successes. Recasting this relationship to become a Best Friend does not mean taking away love or loving the person with dementia any less. It simply means approaching the relationship differently. One caregiver told us that he had always had a troublesome relationship with his father-so bad, in fact, that he ran away from home at age 16. He now cares for his father full time and says they have never been closer. They take a daily walk together, have an evening scotch and soda, and watch the grandchildren play soccer. They have found that they now enjoy each other's company. Because the father has forgotten much of the past and is often unsure of his relationship with his son, the son has realized that he, too, must let go of past slights and injustices. "What's the point of me dwelling on it?" the caregiver asks. "What's past is past." Like many caregivers, the son never dreamed he would be in the position of taking care of his father, a father whom he admits disliking for much of his life. However, this family's approach to Alzheimer's care has helped heal not only the son's relationship with his father, but also wounds he has carried inside himself. Being a Best Friend is not just about altruism. Caregivers who recast their relationships take advantage of the principles of friendship to gain new ideas for handling day-to-day care in a more natural, positive way; prevent problems before they happen; fo
- Publisher

Meet the Authors

Virginia Bell

Virginia Bell developed the Helping Hand Adult Day Center sponsored by the Lexington/Bluegrass Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association in Lexington, Kentucky.

David Troxel

David Troxel is an expert on the best practices in Alzheimer's care and is a popular keynote speaker at conferences related to Alzheimer's and aging services.

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Product Details

Product Details
  • Catalogue Code 190833
  • Product Code 075730060X
  • EAN 9780757300608
  • Pages 250
  • Department General Books
  • Category Grief, Comfort & Consolation
  • Sub-Category Illness
  • Publisher Harperone
  • Publication Date Dec 2002
  • Dimensions 216 x 133 x 22 mm
  • Weight 0.478kg

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