When I first started working with dementia more than a decade ago, I didn't know much about dementia.
Prior to this point, I had a lot of experience working with older adults and their families. I loved working with older adults, but I had very little experience working with older adults with dementia and their families.
My first thoughts were, "What can I do with folks with dementia? What can I do with families? I don't know." I was at a loss for how to help.
Watch this week's episode to discover the most valuable lesson I needed to learn to become a dementia care expert!
And so, I got busy learning everything I could about dementia. I went to conferences, I signed up for webinars, I interviewed experts, I read text books and journal articles. You name it! I devoured it.
And you know what happened? Over time, I actually developed an expertise in caring for families with dementia disorders and now I educate other mental health providers, other medical providers on caring for older adults with dementia and their families.
So what started as a, "I don't ever want to work with folks with dementia" has actually become an area of love and expertise.
There is so much that we can do as health professionals to help folks living with dementia and help families caring for loved ones living with dementia. I am so glad that I challenged myself to chip away at the assumptions, biases, and roadblocks that I had in my own mind about working with folks with dementia and their families and really deepen my understanding of myself, my own roadblocks, and then my understanding of others and how I can be of service to families with dementia.
So, if you are a health care professional, or a family member caring for a loved one with dementia, who has the thought, like I used to have, "This person has dementia, there's nothing I can do that will make a difference." Please hear me when I say, "YOU'RE WRONG!" There is so much that you CAN do to help families living with dementia disorders and to help folks living with dementia disorders live their best lives and have optimal health and functioning even in the midst of dementia.
We'll do it together! I'll show you how!
I wanted to share with you an important freebie, that's something free, I made for this episode. It's called, Dementia 101: A Beginner's Guide to Dementia Disorders. In it, I describe what dementia is and isn't. I describe the phases of dementia and what to do if you're worried that your aging parent may have dementia. So, take a moment to download it. It answers some of the most frequently asked questions I get about dementia!
I'm a Stanford trained, Board Certified Clinical Psychologist specializing with older adults and families! I'm an Assistant Professor at Emory University School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, and a staff Psychologist working with older adults and families at the Atlanta VA Health Care System. I'm a mom of two little kids and a daughter to aging parents.
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