The Dementia Handbook gives families and caregivers hope. It details the good news about dementia—explaining how we can recognize and support the skills and functions our loved ones retain even as dementia advances.
“Even though people experiencing dementia become unable to recall or recount what is happening to them, they still have the experiences. The psychological present lasts about three seconds. Their moods and actions are expressions of their experiences in the present.”
Interview on Alzheimer’s Speaks
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From the book
Intuitive Thought / Rational Thought
Although people with dementia lose rational thought skills, they retain the more enjoyable ones: intuitive thought. It’s intuitive thought that lets us enjoy creativity, beauty and feelings. When we understand this, we can fill their lives with positive moods and beauty.
Experiential Self / Remembering Self
People with dementia lose memory but they don’t lose the ability to experience the present, because they continue to receive information through their senses. This means we can fill the present with beauty and creativity and enjoy it with them.
Mindlessness / Mindfulness
When we lose the ability to focus, we lose the ability to be mindful. But mindlessness includes two very important tools for those losing memory and rational thought. When we design care to extend our loved ones’ ability to function mindlessly, we enhance their dignity and autonomy.
When dementia caregivers recognize these three pairs of skills, living and working with people who have dementia becomes much easier. Caregivers experience less stress and their loved ones experience a greater sense of security and well-being.
Someone is diagnosed with dementia every 66 seconds. By 2030, the rate will be someone every 33 seconds.
Paying for homecare is expensive, but the cost of institutional care is astronomical—over $92,000/year in 2016. We need to learn how to provide effective dementia care at home. This book equips families to do so.
Judy Cornish is an elder law attorney and geriatric care manager who has spent the past six years working with families and people experiencing dementia on the Palouse. Prior to her work in dementia care, she practiced law, worked in vocational rehabilitation with traumatic brain injury, and spent a year as a psychosocial skills trainer in an enhanced care unit for the mentally ill.
With her varied background—and education in literature, languages, fine arts and the law—she brings a diverse set of skills and a unique approach to dementia care. Her DAWN Method enables families to keep their loved ones home longer, with less stress and more comfort. Today Ms. Cornish runs Palouse Dementia Care, providing case management and care services on the Palouse, and the Dementia & Alzheimer’s Wellbeing Network® (DAWN), offering training and consulting in the DAWN Method.