The following content has been embedded from the CDC Website and will help keep individuals educated on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the US. Since individuals over the age of 60 are at increased risk of severe symptoms, we want to make this information readily available to our readers.
Maggie and Thomas interviewed Jackie Pinkowitz, who discussed the ongoing work and mission of the Dementia Action Alliance. The Dementia Action Alliance is an organization seeking to "support, empower, and encourage wellbeing" among individuals living with dementia. They identify themselves as an "advocacy and education organization of people living with dementia, care partners, friends and dementia specialists committed to creating a better country in which to live with dementia." In this podcast, Thomas and Maggie inquire about dignified care, stigma, and the importance of honoring the personhood of individuals living with dementia.
Ms Pinkowitz earned her Master's degree in Education from Rutgers University and holds advanced certification in special needs populations. She was a primary family caregiver to her mother and father-in-law who both had dementia. She is Board Chair of the Dementia Action Alliance and speaks at national, state and local conferences and forums to advance inclusion and "living fully with dementia".
Maggie and Thomas recently interviewed Gary Glazner, founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer's Poetry Project (APP). In this podcast, Gary explores the power of the arts in empowering individuals with a dementia diagnosis. Throughout the conversation, the group discusses the significance of creativity, ambiguity, expression, and sensory stimulation for these individuals and their families.
Established in 2013, the APP attempts "to improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia by facilitating creative expression through poetry." APP was the recipient of the 2013, Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer’s Disease Caregiving Legacy Award, as well as the 2012 MetLife Foundation Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award, in the category of Community Engagement. In 2013, the National Endowment for the Arts listed the APP as a “best practice.”
Mr. Glazner is also the author of “Dementia Arts: Celebrating Creativity in Elder Care,” on Health Professionals Press, 2014. Additionally, his work has been published by Harper Collins, W.W. Norton and Salon.com. Per the APP website, programming has reached 26 states domestically, as well as Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Poland, and South Korea, serving over 35,000 people living with dementia.
This week, Thomas and Maggie interviewed Reverend Jeanne Phillips, a Hospice Spiritual Care Counselor. Jeanne discusses the various manifestations of spiritual care, and how meaningful it can be for individuals with a dementia diagnosis, particularly at the end of life.
Reverend Jeanne Phillips has been working as a Hospice Chaplain/Spiritual Care Counselor at LightBridge Hospice in San Diego for 10 years, providing spiritual and emotional support for patients with terminal illnesses and their families. She also serves as Staff Minister at Vision Center for Spiritual Living, leading the Compassionate Care Ministry as well as teaching, guest speaking and supporting the Communications Ministry. She has worked in the Chaplaincy field for more than 15 years and completed 4 units of Clinical Pastoral Education in 2009. She has been a licensed spiritual counselor since 1996 and became a CSL Minister in 2013 after earning her MA degree in Consciousness Studies at the Holmes Institute, Centers of Spiritual Living.
This week's interview is with Nancy Schier Anzelmo, MSG, and Paula Hertel, MSW, co-founders of Connected Horse. Nancy and Paula are long-time professionals in the field of dementia care, and they recently turned their collective focus toward equine-guided workshops. According to their website, Connected Horse "offers human-animal connection, engagement and understanding" through innovative workshops that engage the individual, their caretaker, and the horse. This research-based workshop provides space for learning and engagement that the pair would otherwise not have in their home environment, opening both to a unique experience each time.
Fun Fact: Paula Hertel is also the Chair of the Board for the Presence Care Project, which we featured in our podcast interview with Ymkje Dioquino, MS, LMFT, the COO of the Presence Care Project.
By Thomas Baird LCSW, MDiv
In this space, we will regularly be sharing resources that we find may be helpful for caregivers. The content provided is intended for informational purposes only. The materials included do not constitute an endorsement of the authors or their materials by Awkward Story.
TimeSlips offers training, guidance and resources promoting what they call "Creative Meaningful Engagement." They acknowledge that communication can be difficult for family members, and claim to provide tools and framework to create positive engagement and interaction. This post is certainly not an endorsement or a critique of their program. I am posting this because the primary advertisement below does a fine job at capturing the role of imagination and exploration in our efforts to engage our loved ones with dementia. In my opinion, they correctly identify the barriers that occasionally get in our way when we communicate in a traditional fashion. Please see the video below, and feel free to explore their website here.
They also provide an example of a creative story telling session which captures the myriad responses one might receive when prompting elderly individuals with pictures.
By Thomas Baird LCSW, MDiv
In this space, we will regularly be sharing resources that may be helpful for caregivers. The content provided is intended for informational purposes only. The materials included do not constitute an endorsement of the authors or their materials by Awkward Story.
The Alzheimer's Poetry Project (APP) was created by Gary Glazner to promote engagement and creativity among individuals with Alzheimer's, through poetry. Please feel free to review some of APP's media below. Like the TimeSlips program, this one promotes expression through creativity and imagination, rather than relying on concrete memories that might not be readily available.
Spoiler Ahead: We recently interviewed Gary Glazner and will be featuring the interview on our podcast in the near future. I started writing this post before we booked the interview, and published it after speaking with Gary.
In this episode, Maggie and Thomas interview Jason Bloome, founder of Connections Care Home Referrals. Jason started Connections nearly 20 years ago after being inspired by his own personal caregiving experience, with a desire to help low-income families find caregiving options for older adults. Jason discusses how certain policy limitations effect access to assisted-living care for older adults. He specifically discusses the limitations of Medicaid programs in California and how policy changes could potentially make Medicaid money available to individuals seeking assisted living options.
Thomas Baird LCSW
Maggie Dawson MSW