- With Mayo Clinic health education outreach coordinator
Angela Lunderead biographyclose window
Angela LundeAngela LundeAngela Lunde is a dementia education specialist in the education core of Mayo Clinic's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the Abigail Van Buren Alzheimer's Disease Research Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
The transfer of information about dementias, as well as understanding the need for participation in clinical trials, is an essential component of the education core.
Angela is a member of the Alzheimer's Association board of directors and co-chair of the annual Minnesota Dementia Conference. She is a member of the Dementia Behavior Assessment and Response Team (D-BART), a multidisciplinary outreach service assisting professional and family caregivers in understanding and managing difficult behaviors often present in dementia. She facilitates several support groups, including Memory Club, an early-stage education and support series, and more recently, helped to develop and now deliver Healthy Action to Benefit Independence and Thinking (HABIT), a 10-day cognitive rehab and wellness program for people with mild cognitive impairment.
Angela takes a personal interest in understanding the complex changes that take place within relationships and among families when dementia is present. She is particularly interested in providing innovative and accessible ways for people with dementia and their families to receive information and participate in valuable programs that promote well-being.
"Amid a devastating disease, there are tools, therapies, programs and ways to cope, and it is vital that families are connected to these resources," she says.
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HABIT helps people find courage in facing dementia
By Angela Lunde
For those of you who are regulars to the blog, you know I often reflect on a special Mayo Clinic program called HABIT.
Healthy Action to Benefit Independence and Thinking (HABIT) is a 2-week program for persons impacted by mild cognitive impairment or early stage dementia and their support partner.
A few days ago I completed another HABIT program with 26 participants-persons living with cognitive impairment, spouses, partners and adult children.
This comprehensive, holistic intervention program involves daily memory compensation training, brain fitness, supportive small group therapy, yoga and mindfulness, along with wellness conversations and action planning.
It's more common than not during the first couple of days in the HABIT program to see and feel tension, uncertainty, and uneasiness in those attending. This makes sense; it must take a great amount of courage to show up, gather with a group of strangers and focus on something that stirs up so much fear. And at the same time, it takes sufficient courage to be faced with the risk of allowing our true selves, weaknesses and all, to be seen.
The special thing that participants soon discover is that HABIT is a place where imperfection, fear and sadness are not only allowed; they are embraced and welcomed with compassion.
We feel connection and belonging when we are around others who share in our experiences, our imperfections and our struggles. In this way, we are connecting on the deepest levels that call to us as human beings. And with this connection comes the courage to be who we are, and to believe that who we are — memory loss or not — is more than enough.
Conversely, when we are attempting to hide our flaws we are actually disconnecting from the very connection we need and long for.
Author and researcher Brene Brown in her book "The Gifts of Imperfection" states that owning our story can be difficult but not nearly as difficult as running from it and that embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging. She says that only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover infinite power of our light.
My sincerest gratitude to all the courageous and loveable individuals I was fortunate to spend these past weeks with. From Brown's Book: "We have to be brave with our life so others can be brave with theirs."blog index