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

Looking for an aged care home for your loved one? Read this!

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, that finds his peace in his home.

Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

Over the last year of my practice, I have supported many seniors and their families in preparing for and finding a residential facility that was “just right” for them.

This is usually after much discussion on when is the right time, and hopefully before a crisis eventuates, so that the move is planned well and with ease rather than hastily and without much choice of where to go – hence only moving once to get to the place you would like to be to live out the rest of your life if and when you can no longer live on your own.

This takes time; and as well as looking at the costs associated with living well in a facility (such as medications, extra services, what is included, etc), really knowing what the preferences of the person are prior to moving into a facility are so important, especially when weighing up which facility is going to be the best fit.

Here’s an example:-

My client Margy (not her real name) was moving into residential care. This was after a long and trusting relationship with a home care provider had given her a safe environment to live in, but had come to the end of it’s time due to Margy’s need for 24 hour care due to her increasing needs and for her safety relating to falls and nutrition.

Margy had always been very independent and lived a life where household duties were a large part of her daily activities, so when we started looking for a facility for her, her main concerns were around being able to continue to do what she had always done – cooking, washing, cleaning, gardening.

After a reply from one admissions team stating “we do not think she would be suitable for permanent residential care where these type of tasks are carried out by staff members” was crossed off our list (- so much for consumer directed care in residential facilities!), we then went ahead with narrowing down our list of facilities that were willing to enable Margy in still doing what she loved, even if in small ways and with support.

Many facilities were deemed “suitable” for Margy in this regard from the admissions point of view, but until we viewed the residences with Margy in attendance, we could not commit to “signing the dotted line” with peace in our hearts.  This is because although the facilities were saying that this is what they were happy to do, were they doing it in a way that was enabling (or disabling) Margy?  Did the place make her heart sing?

One of Margy’s very astute observations of the right place for her was that “everyone was smiling – even the ones in the bedchairs” (in her own words).

Eventually we found a beautiful facility, one where the staff understood the importance of Margy’s needs, enabling her to be independent with support, to have her own space when needed, allowing her to have the privacy and security of her own keys for her room, but not be locked in and being part of a bigger community.

Wait-listing prior to needing immediate fulltime care, avoiding crisis and having the discussion of what is REALLY important to the person moving into residential care is so important.

Then you have time to view facilities, work out what is going to suit and narrow down your list.  For best results, my aim is for this to be organised in advance as when beds become available, they are very quickly taken up, often with not much time to consider all of the things that are important – often resulting in a poor fit for the client

To discuss more in depth ways of how to go about this, or to get your free Residential Aged Care Check list, please contact me.

With much love and Warmest Regards, Bianca

Opening our hearts to people living with dementia

Bear with the faults and frailties of others, for you too have many faults which others have to bear. If you cannot mold yourself as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking? For we require other people to be perfect, but do not correct our own faults.
Thomas Kempis

When we are supporting a person living with dementia, many people say “they push my buttons”, “they are saying/ doing those things just to see how far my temper will last”, or “they could do that yesterday, but not today – they’re being lazy”.

Honestly, these are the last things on the mind of a person living with dementia.  This person is truly endeavouring to do everything right and to the level that they know it should be done in the world that they are seeing as becoming increasingly strange and unusual to them.

I know it is hard to comprehend that the actions of a person living with dementia may be less than what that person was capable of, but they are trying their best with the information that they have at this time – in THIS moment.  When I say “this moment”, I mean right now, not 5 minutes ago or in 30 minutes time, or a day in the future – dementia just does not work like that. Dementia acts differently in every moment and differently for every person. It is up to us as supportive partners to understand that every moment is a new one and to support the person living with dementia in a loving and open way – seeing our role as being the gentle wind beneath their wings to enable the person to enjoy every bit of their independence.

A person living with dementia may be able to complete a task such as making a cup of tea perfectly at one time, and then the next time get muddled about the sequence or the tools needed.  This is when we need to watch how we see things and to open our hearts.  Many supportive partners would now begin to take over that task, thinking that the ability to make a cup of tea has now been lost and that this task is no longer do-able by the person living with dementia.

Let’s try to think of it another way….Let’s just say that you have forgotten one step of this sequence, or one tool for the job?  If a friend came along and gave you a hand with that one little thing that would get you on your way again, how would you feel?  Not as helpless as not being able to do that job at all or having someone take over what you love doing completely. Actually, I am prepared to bet that you would feel quite impressed with yourself that you had completed the task , and that you had an amazing friend who could give you a hand to complete the job.

Sometimes all it takes is one word (“milk?”), one hint (“there’s the kettle”) or one little item left out (such as tea bags) to enable a person living with dementia to get the ball rolling on tasks – just a hint of what needs to happen, and then they can go merrily on their way.

This practice not only saves your relationship, but will also save time in the long run as the person living with dementia will be happier because of their success and support with independence and their trust in you, making the rest of the day flow more wonderfully -that you will be there with them, working together, no matter what.

If you or a loved one are living with dementia, I can support you with any difficulties that you may be having in this area regarding independence and/ or supportive partners seeing things differently.

Please contact me for further information or support.  With much love, Bianca