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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
Welcome back to the program everyone. I am here with a very special guest, a lady by the name of Mary Lynn Pannen. She’s a registered nurse and the CEO and president of Sound Options, and Mary Lynn is a very special person in my life. She has been a real wonderful mentor to me since I’ve been in this industry after taking care of my mom and saw. It such an honor to have you on the program, Marylynn. Thank you so much, Suzanne, it’s an honor to be here and to talk about my favorite subject, or one of them, I should say. We’re going to talk about Alzheimer’s and dementia today. Is that okay? That’s great. Thanks. You know, Mary Lynn, my mom, bless her heart, had a little bit of dementia, not a lot, but she did. She would get dates mixed up, she would tell people she’s a different age than what she was. She didn’t remember, you know, something short term. She’d asked me, like you know, the same question over and over again sometimes. But you know, I was lucky in the fact that I had the opportunity to you know that she was still tracking about eighty five percent. But you know, there is times that I would just be frustrated because she wasn’t living in reality. And I know with families today they have it a lot more significantly, and so I’d love to talk to you about, you know, how can family’s best deal with Alzheimer’s and dementia and a little bit of kind of an overview of how you know how best to cope with the condition. First of all, I’d like to just say that this disease, Alzheimer’s and related dementias, is just growing and growing and in the state of Washington it is the third leading cause of death. Wow, more and more people are coming down with various dementias and this is really basically when I say dementia, it’s a memory issue and its inability to think properly, and that’s probably the simplest way to to present it. What do you think is causing the you know, the rise in in the epidemic of memory disease? Well, you know, you talk to researchers and they do not know at all, but there is more and more research happening, which is very exciting. I think that the federal government is is realizing they have to give more money to this disease because it’s so devastating to families. So we’re seeing we’re seeing a few medications, but there’s some promise on the horizon that there may be more medications. Hm. One of one of the biggest issues for families is how to I help mom and dad who have dementia. And you had a mom who clearly had a little bit, but certainly not severe correct and so you you indeed recognize her her limitations and were able to help her. Again, one of the challenges for families is how do I handle this behavior and who is this person with this dementia? Hmm, families come to us and they say, you know, we it’s just getting worse. I had a couple employees actually call me from a different company and he was so concerned because the mom was the main caregiver for dad and mom landed in the nursing home and all of a sudden dad’s living at home and all of his deficits began to rear up sure, and so it became really apparent and the more they helped Dad, the more they realize that he wasn’t tracking, he wasn’t able to make his own meal, she wasn’t taking his own medication because he had mom or the spouse who is covering for him right. And the thing that I’ve noticed about dementia to you is it when I was a caregiver for my mom, it was so important that I do a good job, and so when she would say things that weren’t accurate, I would like try to correct her and or try to make it, you know, right, and of course that would backfire on me because she would look at me like, don’t you correct me, and because there’s that mother daughter dynamic, and so I had to learn. One day, bless their hearts, the nurse took me aside and in the hallway and she said, Suzanne, I’m going to give you a little bit of advice. The truth is pretty much irrelevant at this point in their life. UNCOL right, and I went wow, you know, I need to learn to lighten up a little bit and realize that it’s okay if they’re not tracking, it’s okay if they’re not telling the truth and and as somebody like you, as a professional, can see through those things, you’re absolutely right, and that is probably one of the biggest tips I tell family is just be where they are. If they’re telling you that they’re in Europe when they’re in Seattle. Right, you’re-you’re in Europe with them, absolutely, and don’t and enjoy the scenery, not not to argue and not to say mom you you know that that’s not true, because the brain is disease and so the communication is all round bled up, right. And so if you can just say, yeah, this is a great day in Spain, or you can, you know, say, if they aren’t talking clearly enough, you may have to try to figure out what they’re saying. So trying to point or give simple clues or choose one on how to do a task. Yes, for example, if you if your parent doesn’t really know what a toothbrush is anymore. Mmmm, and you, as the adult child, will need to say, okay, we’re going to go into the bathroom, we’re going to pick up this brush and you you dissect out the task of brushing the teeth very slowly. Yeah, and they can follow you. But if you just say go into the bathroom and brush your teeth, their brain can’t do that anymore. No, and now. Yeah, and we’re talking today to marry Lynn Pannen. She’s a registered nurse and CEO and president of sound options. So we’re talking about Alzheimer’s and dementia and obviously a lot of the things that we’re talking about. I think really how often you have to keep your sense of humor a little bit. There’s no question you have to keep your sense of humor and you really, as a family care or giver or adult child, you have to take care of yourself. Otherwise, if you’re exhausted and you’re trying to help mom and dad with this dementia, it’s just going to look way overwhelming. Yeah, so a lot I recommend to families. First of all, if they really don’t know or there’s no diagnosis, to make sure they see are seen by a medical person to rule that out. Then I think they should go and contract with a care manager who really are experts in the care of dementia and dementia behaviors, because really the medicine is not going to eradicate all of the behaviors, and so there’s a lot of tricks that a care manager can help families with to to make sure the behaviors are under control perfect. So you are a care manager and your company has sound options. At the end of this interview we will definitely give out your contact information so that you can follow up with Maryland if you have a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia. What are some of the new technologies out there today that are develop our breakthroughs? Are they finding anything new in in the world? Well, I think the biggest breakthrough is the use of music and people are wearing headsets and they’re customizing lists of m music on an iPod. Wow, what they found is that the last thing to go in a person’s brain is really the emotional and in the rhythm side of our brain, which is the temple side. Wow, people who may even not be able to speak if you put music on and it’s got to be music they like. Yeah, we’ve seen and we’ve seen and it’s not really new, but I think it’s just coming. Sure though, it’s just and I’ve heard from yeah, I’ve heard like, for example, if they liked Frank Sinatra with and they like the song my way, but you give them my way with Michael Bublé. That’s not the same. You’ve got to have that that actual Frank Sinatra. Is that correct? Yeah, I mean it just exactly. But what I was going to say is that you find when they listen to the music, you may find their foot tapping or the singer or some people. I’ve seen one woman who never hadn’t spoke for years started singing a spiritual song. Oh wow, that’s wonderful. That’s pretty powerful and that adds to quality of life absolutely. And then, obviously, once you get to a certain point, there’s there’s obviously wonderful facilities that provide what’s called memory care. Could you just kind to give me a quick overview of what memory care is? memoric care units are really places that there you they’re secured, so people can’t go in and out because there’s a wandering of people that may have dementia. They may wander around right. It’s more it’s a good communities, small units. People are are really involved in activities, but it’s secure and as safe. And so you may see people that have dementia starting and go into assisted care, but as that dementia worsens, right, the behaviors change, they may need the security of a memory care unit. Correct. So, Mary Lynn, how do we reach you? Well, you can certainly do look at our website, which is soundoptions.com, and then call (740) 698-9119 and we love to help families with this whole horrible disease of dementia. And you can also find Mary Lynn on AnswersforElders.com, as well. Everyone, thank you so much, Mary Lynn, for being on the program I’m just thrilled to have you here. I am honored. Take care.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.