"Spot Light on Seniors" Show Focuses on De-stigmatizing Dementia

Posted:  Monday, April 8, 2019 - 11:30am
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LCTV hosted Lincoln Home colleagues, Steve Raymond and Lynn Norgang, to create a new “Spotlight on Seniors” episode. The focus of this show is to help seniors, families, and community members understand more about memory loss and dementia. The onset of dementia can affect our families and our friends, our colleagues and our neighbors, and may come to affect us individually. Cognitively, it changes how people think, act, their perception of time, and their ability to care for themselves. Lincoln Home is strongly motivated to teach others how to improve the lives of people with dementia who are out and about in our community by helping them to feel safe, secure and treated with dignity.

Several anonymous stories of residents were shared to demystify the stigma associated with dementia. Memory loss is not a mental illness. Understanding the disease process and learning communication strategies can raise the consciousness of our community and help us collectively treat those with cognitive impairment with empathy.

The model of caregiving at Lincoln Home, for all residents, is based on the “Best Friend’s Approach.” As in a best friend relationship, we take the time to learn as much as we can about our residents’ likes, family, career and history. We build relationships and create a feeling of family, and use skillful communication based on an understanding of the dementia disease process.

This approach is invaluable for those suffering from memory loss, creating a sense of security, structure, empathy and positive reinforcement. Assisted living residents with some level of cognitive impairment often improve by being in a community environment with structure, social connection, proper nutrition, medication management, and compassionate care.

Learning helpful communication skills sets up a win/win environment by reducing anxiety and building bridges for a positive outcome. People with dementia are struggling to hang on to their dignity and sense of control. Often, a caregiver hears, “I want to go home.” Home, to someone with dementia, does not necessarily mean a place, but more a state of mind, back to when their world made sense and they were in control. Positive diversion and redirection can help move someone from sadness to feeling joyful in the present moment, which is the very basis of the art of memory loss caregiving.

Executive director Lynn Norgang, shared, “Caregiving is a privilege and an honor. We receive far more than we give each and every day. We are so appreciative of our staff who go above and beyond to ensure each resident is treated with dignity, compassion and kindness.”

Towns and cities across our nation are embracing the concept of “Dementia Friendly Communities.” The Lincoln Home is advocating for all businesses, town officials and community leaders to participate in efforts to create a Dementia Friendly Lincoln County. On May 8 and May 15, from 1:30 - 3:30, Lincoln Home is offering free customer service training to local banks, shops, stores, restaurants and other places of business. Employees will learn skills to help understand and communicate compassionately to customers with dementia.

A separate set of free classes in communication skills is also being offered for family caregivers of people with dementia.

The LCTV Spot Light on Seniors show can be viewed starting Thursday, April 11 at 6:30pm, then continuing to air at revolving time slots, or view on-line: http://lctv.org/spotlight-on-seniors-dementia/

To sign up for one of the workshops, or to learn more about family caregiver classes, contact Steve Raymond, 563-3350 or steve@lincoln-home.org. The Lincoln Home is located at 22 River Road, Newcastle.