My blog for THIS time

My blogs are a little bit sporadic, and mostly just musings, but today I feel I need to share some news regarding upcoming changes to the way our health information is managed and distributed.

But first, let me muse a little :)……As with every person these days, time seems to run away from us – hence my heading… but do we really need to worry about anything else, except for this time, right now?

When supporting people living with dementia; mostly, the answer is no, we do not need to worry about any other moment except for this one right now… unless specifically asking about planning, and how to organise the day or moment to make the most out of a confusing world, please just concentrate on right now, and enjoy it, make it make sense and keep it real.

If you would like regular content, join my newsletter subscriber list to be able to see what I am up to, what information I am sharing and to ask me questions that I can answer and share with others, so we can all benefit.

And now the important stuff!…..

My Health Record – Online Health Information for all

By the end of 2018, a My Health Record will be created for every Australian, unless they choose not to have one.

As more people and their healthcare providers use the My Health Record system, Australia’s national health system will become better connected. This will result in faster and more efficient care for you and your family.

For more information, here is a link.

This will be fantastic for people living with dementia as in an emergency situation, often stress takes even simple memories away, such as a long time address or the name of a loved one who supports, or even their own name.  All information that is important can be listed in this one accessible record that is available by emergency services.  What a blessing.

If you don’t want a My Health Record, you will be able to opt out of having one created for you during a three-month period in 2018.

I have many ideas of how to keep yourself or your loved ones safe and how to make the best outcomes of time in hospital (not a pleasant time for anyone, let alone for one living with dementia!) Let me know what your thoughts and questions are around this and I will formulate my next blog around safety

LoveFest a hit! Big thank you Perth!

Thanks to all those involved in LoveFest Perth. It was a wonderful success, and many of us are still feeling the joy of such a supportive and inclusive event.  There is a resource booklet available on request for all living with and supporting those living with dementia, just contact me and I will send it to you.

In closing, as winter is coming fast to us, please be mindful of keeping warm and nourished, not only physically, but spiritually as well.  Winter is a time of isolation for many due to inclement weather, and keeping busy inside is often a challenge!  For the Spark of Life Core Spiritual Need of feeling needed and useful, my favourite pastime in this area is to ask for help peeling vegetables for soup or stews and then using a slow cooker to make the dish, enabling interaction with stirring and tasting as the day goes on – it’s amazing how satisfying this is to many!  And even if too many vegetables are peeled – it is a very cheap “activity” that occupies for a good length of time.

Stay warm and safe until the next time, with much love, Bianca

Will dementia take away my ability to choose?

Everyone will experience dementia in their own way. How it affects someone over time is unique to each individual – their attitude, relationships with others and surroundings that will all have an impact.

One question I get asked by people living with dementia is “Will I still get to make my own decisions?”.

Many people living with even the advanced stages of dementia CAN make decisions regarding their life- weighing up risks and choices when given the support, time and tools to enable them to make choices that are right for them.

How I address this is to look at and work with the person living with dementia and their loved ones around how they are managing right now – in this moment.

Many concerns come around safety, vulnerability and finance  – especially the possibility of overspending, being swindled or being taken advantage of.

If you have a trusting relationship with your loved one and you are open to sharing concerns, talk about your concerns over these things, giving choice to be able to work together on things that may need support.  If the relationship is not so good, then sometimes things have to be done in the background to ensure that things are in place to protect the best interests of the person living with dementia and their loved ones.

I am able to support you though this process and have plenty of information and tools that you can use to put both of your minds at rest regarding not only financial decisions, but life decisions as well.  My motto – like the boy scouts is “be prepared”. Please contact me for more information.

My story around this is about a lovely lady living with dementia who was struggling in her own home.  Her family were concerned around her vulnerability to being swindled from door to door salespeople and the like, and also around her general security as her ability to navigate her street and sometimes her own home was getting to the point where she was becoming disoriented and afraid.

Although the lady was extremely independent and had formal support in place a lot of the time, she had the ability to know that she was becoming anxious around being alone and often felt afraid of theft and her security. She did not want to leave her home for the fear of what residential care looked like in her mind and also that she would lose her friends and her independence.

Once we talked about her fears, her choices, her families concerns, what she wanted her life to look like and many other things, we decided all together with the final choice being made by the lady living with dementia that perhaps a “trial” of residential care may be good for her, and perhaps this would give her the opportunity to try out a few facilities of choice that the family had found that would suit their mums needs and interests.

This was a process that involved many hours of supporting the lady living with dementia, enabling her to express her feelings freely. It was not an easy time for anyone concerned.  There were tears, arguments, mistrust, feelings of guilt and many other emotions prior to the admission to the facility, but the final decision was indeed hers to go ahead.

This was all orchestrated with love in our hearts at every step, so that the lady knew that we had her best interests at heart- she could trust us and if she wanted to return home, that was fine too.

Within 2 weeks of the lady trialing residential care, we could see that the her health had improved, that her conversations were more lively, and that she was having her spirit lifted with the many activities that she was joining in to and being part of.  As well as this, we incorporated a visitors book as one of her main concerns was that no-one would visit her if she went into care.

After the 2 weeks, we again got together and discussed all of the pros and cons, her fears, what improvements needed to be made for her to stay and what her ideal life would look like in the future, and the decision was then made by the lady to move into residential care.

This is just a very brief account of what happened, but gives the answer to the question above – dementia does NOT take away your ability to choose.

Dementia may take away some of your strengths and abilities, but it won’t change who you are. With a positive outlook and the right support, it IS possible for someone living with dementia to live well and still get the best out of life by making decisions that are important to them and have these decisions adhered to and respected by others.

If you or your loved one are living with dementia, please contact me to see how I can support you.