As we grow and age in body and mind, so do our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. For some of us, we are granted the opportunity to help support them as they age, just as they supported us in our youth.
In recent studies over the past few years, we are learning that some of the inventions of the past century have been doing more harm to our bodies than good. This includes some synthetic ingredients as well as childhood vaccinations. Due to the toxins found within these, we have an increasingly higher disease rate in the U.S. than ever before. While research has shown that many childhood cases of autism have been linked to such incidents, there is likewise a growing rate of Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia (ADRD).
In the article, "Therapeutic Use of Self": The Concept of "Action and Reaction" in Dementia Care, the Crisis Prevention Institution (CPI) tells us, “There is tremendous benefit to understanding a simple concept which is "action and reaction" as it relates to interacting with someone who has Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia (ADRD). This concept needs to be fully comprehended and acknowledged by all those who interact with those with ADRD in order to facilitate the best possible outcomes.”
What the CPI refers to as the “therapeutic use of self,” I believe can be summed up in one simple term; patience. It is easy to lose patience with someone suffering ADRD, as you remember how easy it was to communicate with them over the years. The practice of therapeutic use of self reminds us to be patient and respectful. Put yourself in their shoes, they are going through more frustration than you could possibly imagine. Being patient and holding simple “action and reaction” conversations with them will help them to stay in the preset rather than getting lost in the whirlwind of memories and information over-loading their mind.
During my years working in the nursing home, I interacted with many residents suffering from Alzheimer's or a related dementia. The best way I knew how to ease their anxiety and bring them to the present moment was to sit with them and converse. To let them tell me their story again and again, to make them feel appreciated. Many of these residents no longer had families that would visit, so more than anything they were seeking a friend. They may not have remembered me from one day to the next, but for that one conversation a day, I knew I was bringing them a sense of peace, relief and happiness. All it took was a little patience.
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