Writing helps dementia caregivers share courage, focusBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/writing-blogs/MY01732
- 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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April 5, 2011
Writing helps dementia caregivers share courage, focus
By Angela Lunde
I'm mulling over the comments many of you have provided and reflecting on the impact that Tom and Julie (my last blog), Duane and Betty, Roy and Marty, Mel and Linda, Mike and Gail, Terri, Susan, Bernie and so many others have had on me over the years.
I realize, as I know most of you do as well, that we cope with a disease like Alzheimer's not so much by what modern medicine can give us, but by what we give and receive from one another. This blog is a vehicle for each of us to give and receive.
I've been reading another blog recently by a woman whose husband has Lewy body dementia. Her eloquent writing portrays an authentic candor that most of us can appreciate. She's from Minneapolis and goes by the name IslandGirl. In one blog posting, she wrote about courage. Her beautifully crafted words are worth repeating:
"Courage is going forward into a place where you cannot see the destination, putting one foot in front of the other while pulling a 1400 pound sled. Isn't that what we do daily with our loved ones? We don't know what the day will be like when we rise in the morning. We've lost our own futures — if that isn't a 1,400 pound sled we're pulling, I don't know what is. And yet, we do it. One step at a time, one foot in front of the other. We whine a little bit (or a lot) along the way. We seek companionship from others who know our plight. But we get out of bed, and sometimes, that is the biggest act of courage for a caregiver.
"And having others to help you pull that sled? That's God's gift."
She also writes about how her blog has helped her:
"These blogs have been my way of thinking through what is going on. They help me focus so I know what to ask for in strength and courage and wisdom. Some would say it's prayer, some would say it's meditation, some would say it's just the brain sorting things out. The odd thing is, I've never been a person to journal. Why is this so much easier?
"One thing that is clear though. Whatever you call this, and I'm calling it prayer on the keyboard, the answers come. They change sometimes from day to day, hour to hour, but the answers do come. One just has to sit still and listen for them."
Hopefully, many of you find healing as well by contributing your words to this blog.
To visit IslandGirl's blog go to: http://islandswamp.blogspot.com/blog index