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Dementia Living Solutions - Because Life Goes On -

 ...Because Life Goes On                                 

Experiencing Memory Loss or receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or other dementia does NOT mean that Life is is a tough time and filled with  anxiety of the unknown.  We all must keep in mind that the individual with dementia is a Person with an illness and a Life still worth living....not just a dreaded statistic.
Even in latest stages of dementia, the Essence of the Person is Still just may take more effort to engage and connect.  With love in your heart, a smile on your face, a positive attitude, simple kindness and a bit of knowledge, supporting someone who is living with dementia to find Quality of Life IS possible....Not Easy, yes, but possible.     Join me on my quest to find and share positive solutions to the challenges of living with dementia.      
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Person-Centered Matters: Making Life Better for Someone Living With Dementia
This video beautifully portrays the lives of 5 people living with dementia and shows how person-centered care helps them live meaningful lives. Person-centered care helps make life better for someone ...

Simple Solutions for the Challenges of Living with Dementia

The cognitive and behavioral expressions associated with dementia can be managed and many times avoided. Life does NOT have to be dreaded!    In general, understanding a person's Life Story,  focusing on meeting the needs of the individual, cultivating a Positive attitude, maintaining a calm atmosphere, focusing on what an individual CAN do instead of what they cannot do, being prepared, creating opportunities for Connection and maintaining a daily routine including exercise and familiar music can go a long way in helping all involved find Joy in Living.

  • Meet Unmet NEEDS...Pain, thirst, hunger, fear, sadness, frustration, need to use the bathroom, fear, tiredness, excitement...think of every behavior as a Communication that cannot be put into words.
    KNOWING their Life Story and understanding the individual as a unique human being; their history, likes, dislikes, habits, background, needs, routines is critical.
  • FOCUS on the ABILITIES of the individual.  Not on what he/she cannot do....but what he/she CAN do.  A person may not be able read and understand a novel any longer, but Can read a children's book to a grandchild or chat about pictures from their past, mall shopping doesn't work, but catalogs & circlulars can.
  • VALIDATE.... don't discount manifestation of anger, fear, saddness, anxiety or other emotion...rather understand and empathize with the needs the person is trying to express. Say..." you must be sad, tell me about it" not, "don't be sad"
  • FEELINGS......are NOT forgotten!    The person may not remember what you said, but...WILL remember  how you make them Feel!   LOVE THEM!
  • KINDNESS.....  Smile and Be Kind.  Its that simple.   Act from the Heart.
  • Caregivers Take TIME for Yourself!!!    Enlist the help of family, friends, neighbors and get away! Every Day!!  Even if just a few moments.
  • MUSIC...Add Music to Life every day.   Musical and Emotional Memories do not fade away but are the bridge to self.   Use familiar music to soothe, connect to the past, create just enjoy as an activity.    Use soothing music during bath or other personal care routines.  Experience the Power of Music!
  •, walk, garden, march in place, sweep, follow along with an old fitness video like Jack LaLanne, pretend you are a conductor of an orchestra or a butterfly!!  Sing Sinatra and do the Jitterbug. Cardiovascular exercise is a Must and Whatever the person with dementia can move should move every day.   
  • SIMPLIFY -  Don't increase confusion by introducing multiple tasks, ideas, steps all at once.  Think:  One activity at a time, One thought at a time, One step at a time.
  • EMPOWER - Engage the individual with dementia by asking for his/her help or opinion.   Offer two choices  "Shall we have Pizza or steak today?", not "Are you hungry?  "Can you help me with .....?", not, doing everything for them.
  •  REDUCE CLUTTER -  In the environment and in routine.  Maintain lifelong daily routines - the person with dementia is struggling to organize his/her own thoughts....seeing clutter and not having dependable routine increases confusion and frustration.   A few precious, familiar items....not stuff everywhere works best.
  • SLOW DOWN  - The brain of a person with dementia processes information  one thing at a time.  Approach SLOWLY and from the front.....Speak Slowly allowing comprehension of each thought before moving to next thought.  
  • Stay CALM- The person with dementia will MIRROR your energy.... so Smile, Stay Positive, Center Yourself - take a few deep breaths Before approaching.  
  • GO with the FLOW of the situation- and BE WITH the person with Dementia wherever he/she is.  If Dad thinks he is waiting for the train, sit with him and talk about trains, his work, traveling.  Don't try to re-orient the person to your reality..enter his/her reality.   ENJOY THE MOMENT.
  • Be FLEXIBLE...things can change in an instant.  Adapt to the situation....   Remember the individual is struggling, its Not about you.
  • TOGETHER.....Whatever you it side by side, not FOR the individual but WITH the individual.    Ask for Help, their opinion and then say THANK YOU!
  • RELAXATION....Add activities to that help relieve stress like aromatherapy, hand massage, deep breathing, stretching, soft items to hold, soft music and soft lighting, art, dancing.
  • MAKE ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGES  -  Use Contrast, nightlights, sensory cues.  This Website "Dementia and the Home Environment" provides details on modifications you can make to optimize the home environment.
  • HAVE FUN!!!  - Smile a lot...laugh!   ENJOY the Moment!

Learn about ways to help reduce stigma and change the way we support individuals with dementia at the DEMENTIA ACTION ALLIANCE

To help you Understand what is happening to your loved one with Alzheimer's disease or other form of dementia, watch this very informative video for a clear explanation of the brain changes that occur.

                    Visit my Resources Page to learn more!


Thanks for visiting!

My name is Francine Pannella. This website is focused on sharing up to date information and practical ways to enhance quality of Life for aging adults with cognitive decline through education, assistance with lifestyle changes  & physical and cognitive fitness.    I  believe that Joy in Life can be achieved and connection to self can be made through the inclusion of human connection, movement, music, reminiscence & and other holistic pathways into daily life; and by doing this reduce the need for some drugs as a response to some of the challenges of aging with memory loss or dementia.   My Vision is to someday create special places where individuals with dementia are welcome to spend time - without stigma - to experience joyful moments and for their care partners to find resources and a connection to to others living with the same challenges.   I have worked for almost 20 years is in geriatric nursing, dementia care, and in transitions to all levels of eldercare living.   I am on staff at Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey as Manager of their Alzheimer's Respite Care Program in the New Jersey counties of Ocean and Monmouth.   I am a past Associate Director of of the Alzheimer's Association Greater NJ Chapter and on the Advisory Board of the  ALIVE INSIDE FOUNDATION , whose mission is to  create an Empathy Revolution through education, inter-generational practices, music, and film.     I hold certifications as a Licensed Practical Nurse,  Dementia Care Practitioner, ASFA - Senior Personal Trainer, Balance Fitness Progression Specialist, Long Term Care Fitness Leader and Brain Fitness Facilitator.    I am NOT the Expert, but a student of the amazing  & growing wealth of knowledge being shared by practitioners, scientists and researchers from all over the world.   I am continually expanding my education in the field of Aging, Dementia & Fitness - and sharing it here for you to use in your life, so please check back often.   

I hope that you find the resources on my site helpful - I welcome your comments.    I am available to speak to your group or staff about any of the information found on this site.