Daphne Davis at Pinnacle Senior Placements talks about what to do as a family to support a loved one through this journey. Generally, following a formal diagnosis of dementia, there is a lot of denial, but looking back five to seven years prior to the diagnosis, one can recall many symptoms and signs.
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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.
The following podcast is provided by pinnacles senior placements LLC and answers for elders radio and welcome everyone to the third weekend in September as we are educating all about Alzheimer’s and I hope each and every one of you have are going to a LZ Wa dot org and sign up and just donate or support a team. The Alzheimer’s Associa seniors doing some amazing things out there and there’s amazing breakthroughs and obviously we’re excited to be a part of this very important effort. And today is a very special show because our favorite guest, Daphnee Davis, is here with us from pinnacles senior placements. Daphnee, welcome back today. Love everybody, and we’re going to talk about Alzheimer’s, obviously, and you are kind of the resonant authority on working with families here in greater puget sound and beyond and certainly, Daphnee, you have been involved just throughout the journey, and so we’re going to spend this hour together and we’re going to talk about what to do as a family and really how to support you know, a loved one that us all Sammers, or maybe you know from the early stages all the way to the end, and so we’re going to start right now, Daphnee, with the first stages. Well, thank you so much, and this is an area that’s near and dear to my heart. Just a little background that my dad suffered from Louis Body Dementia and Parkinson’s and he passed away four years ago at a very young age of seventy four and so very hard journey. And so not only professionally do I know this, but personally I know this journey, and so today I’d really like to be able to focus on the effects on a family and how a family can help their loved one through this journey. Over the twenty years that I’ve been doing this job, I’ve seen some patterns that come up and often family say to me, Daphnee, it feels like you’ve been sitting in our living room and hearing the conversation. Yeah, you know, I do that too, because people tell me the same thing over and over again and you kind of go hmmm, yeah, so there are some patterns. I don’t want to take away the uniqueness of every family story, though there are nuances that are unique to your family and we as caregivers and and providers of information, need to adjust to those uniqueness but generally at the beginning is a whole lot of denial on arch everybody’s part. And when someone gets a formal diagnosis, and I’m going to use the word dementia rather than Alzheimer’s, because dementia is the overall umbrella of all kinds of different forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s is one of them. So I’m going to use the word dementia. But when, when people are starting, or excuse me, looking back up, when people get to the place of having a formal diagnosis of some form of dementia, they usually can look back, and it seems to be about five to seven years that they can say, Oh, I started to see some signs. Now that I know what I’m supposed to look for and now that I know the journey were on, I can look back and see some of the things. Sure, and those things can look like saying irrational things out of the blue, just like where did that come exactly? And you just go on because then the conversation continues and everything’s normal. Would just like had a blame brainbrook loop or it could be some things in terms of added frustrations that normally something doesn’t bother somebody and then it’s gone again. You know, this is I’m thinking back five to seven years from a formal diagnosis. It would also be things like sequential thinking. You know what comes next. Those are a little harder to recognize because we can also think in terms of when we walk into a room and we forget what we walked into the room for. It can kind of look like that a little bit, that I just don’t remember what I am going to do next, right, or I came in here for a cup of coffee, but I did. I remember that I came in for a cup of coffee. Right. So I don’t want everybody to get worried that they’re all doing this, because that’s normal aging process. So I’m just talking about some of the things that can show up well, and I think a lot of us we dismiss some of these things because they feel normal. Yes, you know when you’re when you’re I mean we’ve all walked into a room and think why did I give this? You know, my mom used to call it part timers. You know, yeah, exactly where you feel like you know, but that may not. There are normal behaviors that sometimes you can dismiss, but if they’re starting to happen more and more frequently. The other thing I says I don’t think that people are aware sometime that they’re in that you know zone. Absolutely, that’s the biggest thing and nor should we live in that zone. I want to I want to say please, don’t hear this and then start worrying. That’s not it. Remember, I was talking about this being five to seven years before a formal diagnosis, and so there’s five to seven years that are still normal aging. But the key here in what I want you to hear. There’s a couple of medications that doctors like to prescribe early in the journey of slow down. That can slow the process down and it takes a lot of courage to be able to go to your doctor or to say, you know, I think I need to talk to a neurologist because some of these are things are happening and I don’t know if they’re normal aging or not, and a PCP, general practitioner or somebody. Usually I’ll say no, don’t worry, don’t worry, but if you start to see a short term memory loss. That’s pretty consistent. Yeah, you know, like I can’t recall things that I just did. That’s more than just normal aging process. So there it’s hard to pay attention to everything that’s going on in this journey, but it’s prudent to pay attentions so that you can get the benefits of the research that’s been done so far right and the things that we know. Nothing reverses this disease of dementia. Yet nothing stops it, cures it, but we do have some things that slow the process down and that can be a real gift to families. Sure. So that’s kind of that very early, early, early time. During that time is a lot of patients and grace and humor, and it’s also a good time to start thinking about what kinds of adaptive equipment may we need and to learn how to use them. Let’s say someone might have some ambulation challenges or their gate is a little off, for their balances off. It’s better to start learning how to use that Walker now then get to the place that I can’t learn how to do this, you can’t remember. I want to spend a little bit more time on that topic because I think that’s really important, but I first want to reintroduce you to our listeners again. We are talking to our Wonderful Daphne Davis from pinnacle senior placements and Daphne, you are I just want to ground everyone back. You help families through this process and I think that’s really an amazing thing and there’s no there’s no unpopular question, there’s no question that’s out of bounds anything like that. I know that your phone is wide open to to talk into families and really you don’t. You know, you’re an amazing resource and that’s one of the things that I want to really emphasize that if you’re starting to see signs with a loved one but you’re not really sure, you’re a really good person to come back to and say, you know these things are happening. You know, I’m a nonthreatening person. I mean, I am not the expert, I’m not a doctor, but I certainly am a person that’s schooled with just experiential, a share, anecdotal, in the trenches kind of knowledge, and it is important to ask questions. The other thing at this time is not not just asking questions but start journaling. If you’re not a journal or why just start journaling for your loved one of what’s going on, or if it’s yourself. I have a good friend of mine who has been very open to this journaling process and and she isn’t walking the journey herself and that’s been something that just kind of grounded her. That doesn’t make her feel like she’s, you know, losing her mind. And I think that the next thing is is that pay attention and educate yourself on what to look for, because I think a lot of us, I know when I when my mom, of course she had vascular Demensia, right, so little bit different obviously, than Alzheimer’s, but you know, you’re talking about sequencing. That’s was her big thing. And of course, that that’s very common with vascular demensia is, you know, not understanding. You know, scale from one to ten, it’s always a for it doesn’t matter what it’s our it’s a forlorn so understanding that piece. But I didn’t know what to look for as a as a daughter. I also didn’t understand a lot of the prescriptions that the doctor would give her. I just saw a bunch of drugs there and I’m going, oh my gosh, we’re into polly pharmacy and this is unbelievable, and you know all of the different things that I didn’t understand. So we, as providers, I think, need to do a better job of educating families and families you need to start asking better questions as far as what do I need to look for? How can I support my loved one who? There’s we’ve just opened up a whole lot of stuff, topics to talk about right there and they’re all really important. So I hope you stick with us for the whole hour and we’ll try and get this sequential. But but asking questions, knowing information about the drugs that are being taken, understanding, and here’s another, you know, topic for us to talk about the relationship between medication support and environmental support. I mean, it’s just so many things in this. In terms of me, Daphne at Pinnacle senior placements, I think the most important thing I want you to hear is just call. There is nothing that is contractual now, nothing that I will call you in anyone from my Chin no cailing lest, there’s nothing rassment, there’s no anything. It’s just just kept the phone. It’s just just, as you know, desire to share the information that I have been able to learn over the years with people who are, and I’m going to say, kind of deer in the headlights, like, oh my gosh, what are we doing right? So that beginning stage can be completely overwhelming. I want to go back to the first word I said, and that’s the denial. And that’s not just on the children’s part, but that’s on the person walking the journey as well, and so be gentle with them. Never, ever, ever, take away someone’s hope, never take away their dignity, their pride. Those are just some litmus, and I use the word never intentionally right. I’m just don’t do it. If you’re you know, have to stop yourself before you say a word. Stop yourself well, and this also, in this time, is where families feel really annapt and they can stir up some hard feelings. Give yourself some grace too, and knowing that you are not a professional caregiver, you are not taught how to language appropriately to someone who’s walking through the disease of dementia. So just some some words of caution there, but also encouragement. Yes, and and you know, in this beginning stage is where, as we’re wrapping up this first segment. I really want to emphasize be proactive. You know, I think that’s one of the things you’re saying. If you’re questioning, this is the time to start doing the research. So definitely I know you’ll be right back right after this. The preceding podcast was provided by pinnacles senior placements LLC and answers for elders radio. To contact pinnacles senior placements, go to Pinnacle Senior Placementscom.
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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman 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 Newman found herself 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. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, 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.