I’m new to the world of dementia, but for the past three years, I’ve been immersed in it both personally and professionally. Like most people, I was shocked by the heartache of living with dementia. Fear, confusion, and sacrifice are all inevitable realities for people with dementia and their families.
But amidst the devastation, I find something really beautiful about dementia care. The ability for us to connect with people who are losing nearly all of their cognitive abilities is a testament to the power of the human spirit. To make someone feel loved, accepted or safe, when they have no memory, or even the ability to understand language, is a deeply inspiring experience.
I’ve always been hesitant to share my admiration of this phenomenon. It felt disrespectful to find beauty in such a destructive condition, but author Judy Cornish changed my mind.
I saw Judy speak about dementia care at an aging conference, and her explanation was a revelation for me, especially the story about Mary from the video.
The progression of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia often results in memory loss symptoms that seem unpredictable and random. Many families that are new to dementia have difficulties with these situations, and seek guidance on dementia care communication strategies.
Judy’s insight that people with dementia retain intuitive thought - the skills we use to enjoy music, beauty, and emotion - can help families develop dementia communication techniques. The idea that we all have the ability to live in the moment and experience life’s joys is a gift to caregiving community.
It was a pleasure working with Judy on the creation of this video. We believe it inspires hope and provides a framework for living with dementia, happily.
Learn more about the industry leaders that are sharing the good news about dementia care.
Judy Cornish, the founder of the DAWN Method, is an attorney licensed in Idaho and Oregon and a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Before becoming a lawyer, Ms. Cornish worked in vocational rehabilitation with people who have brain injuries and is a Qualified Mental Health Associate with the mentally ill. The DAWN Method targets the emotional distress that accompanies cognitive decline so that behaviors are avoided and caregiver stress is minimized.
Teepa Snow is a dementia and Alzheimer's care expert who trains and helps agencies, facilities, and families. She has an extraordinarily unique teaching style, and emphasizes the value of connection when primary verbal communication and interaction abilities are altered.
Dr. Bill Thomas is a Harvard-trained geriatrician who has worked to improve the way nursing home care is delivered. He is well known for his ChangingAging tour, an event described as "non-fiction theater" that shatters our culture's damaging myths about aging.