- 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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Dec. 13, 2011
Gift for caregivers: Finding a place of contentment this season
By Angela Lunde
If I could give each of you a gift it would be of course a cure for Alzheimer's. But short of that it might be ten hours of peaceful sleep, a personal assistant, high quality and low cost respite care anytime and anyplace.
Alternatively, my gift might be an endless supply of patience, or the chance to escape back to a favorite time from your past. But even these are not gifts I can deliver on. So instead, my gift to you may be in simply knowing that you have at least a handful of (virtual) friends in our blog community who understand what you're going through and can empathize with your experience.
I often write about Rose because she's a caregiver I admire who offers profound insight. Recently she said, "Today I am feeling buoyant after talking with a wonderful friend and she totally 'gets it.' Being understood is fundamental to a sense of well being."
I wholeheartedly agree that being understood is essential to one's well being. And I believe it bestows a feeling of contentment as well. Contentment is hard to come by for many of us.
I struggle in feeling contentment and not wishing for something more, better, different. I sometimes strive for wanting to pad my ego with credentials, accomplishments, or just things — possibly it's the desire to impress, please, or be the best at what I do. Yet, to the folks I'm with who have Alzheimer's, none of this matters.
They might not remember my name much less the things I own, my accomplishments or credentials. Yet they do know if I'm a kind and compassionate person and a sincere listener. They sense if I'm patient, understanding and accepting. They respond more to the tone of my voice, my eye contact, body language, facial expressions and touch, than anything else about me. They feel trust and ease when I simply acknowledge what they're saying — most often this means validating the beliefs, feelings or realities that are uniquely theirs at that moment. Those of you who offer this therapeutic way of communication know what I'm talking about.
So, in this giving season, I reflect on the richness of what I (and maybe some of you) receive from persons with dementia. They draw from us those authentic qualities that are within, but often are buried beneath the rocks that fill our ego. When we remove the rocks, we connect with our authentic self, and we find that place of contentment. Peace and ease to each of you this holiday season.
"Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, it is the realization of how much you already have."
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