Having a loved one with dementia is tough. Having someone around who truly understands all sides of the effects of the decline in mental ability — for the afflicted, their family and caretakers — is absolutely necessary. At American House, we are proud to have someone who can help: Angie Kadowaki, our corporate life enrichment director and certified dementia practitioner.
Angie received her designation from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners after meeting several qualifications: She had to have a college degree; a minimum of five years of experience in a health-related field; a minimum of three years of experience presenting in services or seminars to health care professionals; and have numerous hours in the field before she could qualify for the extensive training program.
Part of Angie’s training means she is now able to offer family members a game plan on how to visit their loved one and not feel so sad and how to share moments in time with them. She provides valuable insight on how to communicate with someone who has dementia, how to make them more comfortable and how to make the journey less painful for family members. If you have a loved one with dementia, you know it can be hard to know what to do and say.
Angie offers some tips for families coping with these issues:
“The best advice I would have for any family members is do what you need to do to enter their world,” Angie said. “Don’t expect them to become part of yours anymore. If you enter into their world, their reality, it’s so much easier for the family members and the person they love.”
This may seem a bit awkward at first, but you’ll soon catch on to the best ways to enter your loved one’s new world.
Says Angie: If your loved one says they are wearing a purple shirt when they are really wearing a blue shirt, don’t argue with them. Let it go. Trying to correct a loved one with dementia is lose-lose, she says.
“What have you gained by arguing over that?” she says. “You’ve created distrust.”
Angie said it helps to remember that family members are being invited on the loved one’s journey. Some key phrases to keep in mind:
- “I can’t fix this.”
- “I’m sorry it’s so painful.”
- “Let me help you along the way.”
In addition, Angie is now able to conduct seminars with American House staff about thoughtful ideas on how to address the needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
AMERICAN HOUSE UNDERSTANDS DEMENTIA
The American House Elmwood and Regent Street communities are official memory care communities, but Angie said training is offered throughout all American House communities for family members who have loved ones with dementia.
Anyone is welcome to call Angie at (248) 496-1791 with any questions regarding dementia.
To schedule a tour of any of our communities, call us at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.