Tag Archives: dementia

Adjusting holiday expectations

Caregivers can experience additional stress around the holidays on top of an already challenging routine. That stress is often triggered by expectations: from others and ourselves on how a holiday should be celebrated. Family traditions are something to be treasured, but when caring for an ill loved one, those traditions can quickly become burdens. One […]

Adjusting holiday expectations

My time with Meeting Centres

The March Meeting Centres UK webinar was led by Professor Dawn Brooker MBE who was reflecting on ‘My time with Meeting Centres’, or as she also called it, a retiring Professor’s reminiscence session. Although Dawn retired as Director of the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at the end of March, she was very clear that […]

My time with Meeting Centres

The evolution of Meeting Centres in Scotland

“A Meeting Centre is a local resource, operating out of ordinary community buildings, that offers on-going warm and friendly expert support to people with mild to moderate dementia and their families. At the heart of the Meeting Centre is a social club where people meet to have fun, talk to others and get help that focuses on what they need. Meeting Centres are based on sound research evidence of what helps people to cope well in adjusting to living with the symptoms and changes that dementia brings”

Association for Dementia Studies Blog

The first webinar in the new series took place on 25th February, and joining Dr Shirley Evans to speak about the work that’s been going on in Scotland around Meeting Centres were:

The webinar started with Shirley giving a brief description of what a Meeting Centre is, to make sure everyone was on the same page. Essentially:

“A Meeting Centre is alocal resource, operating out of ordinary community buildings, that offers on-going warm and friendly expert support to people with mild to moderate dementia and their families. At the heart of the Meeting Centre is a social club where people meet to have fun, talk to others and get help that focuses on what they need. Meeting Centres are based on sound research evidence of what helps people…

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People with dementia contributing original content to the online educational offering of a new University course as part of everyday citizenship

Association for Dementia Studies Blog

Our blog this week is by Dr Chris Russell who has been working with Jennifer Bray to enable a variety of people to record video content for his forthcoming module. Here, Chris discusses the process they put in place to work with ‘J’, a lady with dementia. Over to Chris:

The voices and viewpoints of people living with dementia are fundamental to underpinning and informing our distance learning Postgraduate Certificate in Dementia Studies. Capturing insights has been made challenging by the Covid-19 virus and its consequences, however. Nowhere more so than in preparation for the module ‘Engagement and Empowerment in Dementia Studies’, where the original insights of people affected by dementia are essential to learning.

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The Wild, Wonderful World of Estate Sales

“I got into this many years ago because I saw the elderly being taken advantage of, especially those with dementia,” Julie Hall, the director of the American Society of Estate Liquidators and a thirty-year veteran of the estate-sale business, told me. In one of her numerous books, which include “Inheriting Clutter: How to Calm the Chaos Your Parents Leave Behind” and “What Am I Going to Do with All My STUFF?,” she describes a woman with Alzheimer’s whose friends and neighbors, hearing that she was going to be institutionalized, showed up at her house and began looting the place. “What I witnessed,” Hall wrote, “was like watching a vulture strip a bone.”

the National Association of Senior & Specialty Move Managers® blog

The estate-sale industry is fragile and persistent in a way that doesn’t square with the story of the world as we have come to expect it.

By Lizzie Feidelson, January 7, 2022, The New Yorker

An estate sale is only a true estate sale if the homeowner is dead. If the owner is living, then it’s a tag sale, though many people use the terms interchangeably. When I went to one of my first “estate sales,” in Hewlett Harbor, Long Island, roughly two years ago, just before the pandemic temporarily forced much of the industry online, I was surprised to discover that the owner was not only alive but there, in her soon-to-be-former house. A recent widow, she wandered through the rooms, dazed, dressed in a fringed denim vest.

The house was a beige Colonial-style four-bedroom with prim hedges and a small, sloping lawn. I arrived thirty minutes early, but a…

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Connecting Memory and Imagination

Mike Wright shares his thoughts

One thing that could be said of both memory and imagination is that each only exist in the mind. Now that could be said of many things (in fact, some would suggest that everything exists as an expression of Universal Mind, but forgive me if I side-step that one for now!), after scratching my head and pondering over what connects the two, I looked into my own mind – and there they both were!

The consideration that I may have to go outside of that mind to find another connecting factor convinced me it was wise to stay put, and further explore this initial discovery.

Essentially, memory and imagination are both processes of thought, the activation of which places a slight veil over our immediate experience, and therefore, reality. This is not to undermine the usefulness of both as tools helping us to live practical and high-functioning lives, but we do not ‘exist’ in our thoughts: rather, the fact that we have consciousness means we are able to think.

Therefore we should not mistake either memory or imagination as conditions of who we essentially are, as the following quotes convey:

“…if you made a mistake in the past and learn from it now, you are using clock time. On the other hand, if you dwell on it mentally, and self-criticism, remorse, or guilt come up, then you are making the mistake into ‘me’ and ‘mine’: you make it part of your sense of self, and it has become psychological time, which is always linked to a false sense of identity.” Eckhart Tolle

“Thus I know that none of those things that I can understand with the help of my imagination is relevant to what I know of myself, and that the mind must be turned away carefully from those things so that it can perceive its own nature as distinctly as possible.” Descartes

Of course, I’m not suggesting that we refrain from the free use of imagination – say, reminiscing about the momentous impact that sliced bread had when it made its debut in the shops, or attempt to inhibit the creative impulse by forbidding Jeremy Paxman to rewrite Harry Potter as a polemic against fascist dictatorship.

What I am suggesting is that when our memory and imagination come together to construct some sort of narrative thread as to what type of person we are, or what other people think of us, this only exists in the realm of thought and does not constitute an immutable truth.

False senses of Identity

The implications of this are that we are not bound, as Eckhart Tolle says, ‘to a false sense of identity’. Rather, if we allow thought to dissolve back into its source, which is our ever present consciousness, we are eternally born back into the present moment – free of the suffering we may have experienced in the past and with our essential nature undiminished and without the limitations so often imposed through our imagination.

By the same token, if we merely view memory and imagination as tools of thought, to be taken up and dropped as and when they are needed, not as inseparable extensions of our identity, then we are surely free to once again to enjoy our present experience and dwell in our true nature.

This has implications for the way we view and behave towards those people who experience dementia, or other diseases which inhibit a person’s mental function. If a person’s overt ability to think or reason appears to diminish, this does not imply that the essential nature of that person is also diminished.

The disease does not therefore render someone less of a person – and it should not allow for a person to be stigmatized or treated as though they are. Again, if we are able to free ourselves from negative judgements and opinions which belong entirely to our imagination, then we may allow ourselves to act more in accordance with our nature, and instantly reduce the likelihood of someone feeling judged and undervalued.

If we seek to connect with a person on the level of our mutual fundamental nature, rather than our ability to think, reason, and remember, then perhaps we would be closer to sharing in the experience of the only reality that truly exists and not find ourselves so caught up in the ones that we construct in our minds.

Just a thought.