An international dementia expert providing insights on how to best care for people with dementia.
Gail Elliot, BASc, MA, Author, Gerontologist & Dementia Specialist, is the Founder and CEO of DementiAbility Enterprises Inc. She was the Assistant Director, Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, at McMaster University for 17 years and took early retirement in March 2012 to focus on dementia education. Gail’s work is being used across Canada and has been implemented globally. In Ontario, the Ministry of Health’s BSO programs include DementiAbility Methods and Validation Communication workshops in their list of course offerings and these two courses are also included as two of the core courses in the McMaster University Geriatric Certificate Program. Gail works closely with the Occupational Therapists Association of Hong Kong, Montessori Aged Support Services in Australia and with colleagues in the United States.
Gail is the author of the book Montessori Methods for Dementia: Focusing on the Person in the Prepared Environment (currently available in English and Chinese), Memory Aids for Dementia, Helping Me – Helping You: A Resource for the Dementia Caregiver and is co-author of Checklist for Change: A Guide for Facilitating Culture Change in LTC. She is also editor, and author, of the many titles available as part of the Carry on Reading in Dementia series, author of the “Work It” series and creator of the i-Pad app “Best Guess”, a trivia game incorporates the DementiAbility principles into a game that has been set up for success.
The hallmark feature of dementia is memory loss. Supporting memory loss must therefore be a high priority in dementia care. This blog is about how we can use practical ideas such as using an agenda to...
When you think about an evening with friends and family do you think about the "dine and dash" type of dining or the "sit, relax, chat and enjoy" type of dining experience? When you eat with family at...
If you are in the situation of caring for a loved one and have made a commitment to placing a loved one on a nursing home placement list, be prepared for the vast array of mixed emotions that might arise when you get that much awaited (or dreaded) call. While you may look forward to lightening the burden that has accompanied your caregiving commitments, you may also feel a deep loss, much like grief. This is normal.
As discussed in previous blogs, communicating with people who are living dementia can sometimes be difficult. I want to thank those of you who told us about the successes you have had with our resourc...
The hustle and bustle of the holidays often brings people together. This can be a problem for those who are challenged by memory loss. While the person with dementia may recognize someone's face, they may struggle to remember the person's name. Nametags can help to address this frustration.
Do you find it difficult to maintain a conversation with older adults who are living with dementia? Many people find that once they get past talking about the weather, how they slept that night or what they had to eat today, they struggle to find ways to stimulate conversation in a way that is meaningful, interesting and mutually rewarding.
There are times when some people with dementia just want to talk about the frustrations they are experiencing in the moment. These people are in need of chatting about the circumstances related to where they believe they are now.
The main reason we want to put chores, roles or tasks back into the world of those living with dementia is that each person needs to enjoy a life filled with meaning and purpose, regardless of physical and mental health. My favourite expression, which speaks to this, is "The purpose of life, is a life with purpose."
Shortly after my latest blog, entitled "I'm Engaged," I was delighted and honoured to receive an email from Dr. Laura Gitlin, Professor & Director of the Center for Innovative Care in Aging, Johns Hop...
Along with the diagnosis of dementia there often comes an expectation that abilities are diminished. The focus shifts to what this person can no longer do rather than focusing on the remaining abilities and what the person is still able to do.
Have you ever wondered why some people will acknowledge that they have dementia, yet others will clearly deny there is anything wrong? Why do some people argue with the diagnosis? Why do some people know they have dementia but refuse to tell anyone? Why do some discuss openly? Let's explore.
Personal Support Workers attend to the diverse needs of individuals who rely heavily on the help of others. They have a variety of roles including caring for a person's hygiene, making sure they are nourished, dressed, toileted, validated, comfortable and happy. Most importantly, PSWs may be the only human connection some individuals receive in a single day. Yet, while they are offering their valuable support, it can feel thankless when trying to bathe and clean an uncooperative incontinent person, soothe the irritable and feed the ungrateful who are not longer able to do things themselves.
Recognize that all behaviour has meaning. Many of the behaviours we see in dementia arise because a person's needs are left unmet. When you observe the behaviour, you need to figure out what it is te...
It is important to correct the person with dementia when they say things that are not true - FALSE. The cardinal rule is "never argue with a person with dementia". A person with dementia is simply taking files from their memory bank that come from another place and time. They are sure they are telling the truth.