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Team Meeting
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Today our team meets as usual to generate new ideas for coaching caregivers. Since re-entering the coaching field again (instead of just being the company's administrator) I am very aware of the angst around couples who no longer have verbal exchange at the dinner table due to one having aphasia. Most couples feel the worst part of dementia is the loss of communication in the way they always did. I can relate with that as some of my fondest times with my husband is when we are quietly sharing news, plans, hopes and dreams. This may be across the breakfast table or the dinner table, or taking a long drive toward a weekend destination. We seldom turn on the radio or TV at times like these. Both of us have had enough noise for one day elsewhere. So I wonder what it would be like for me to have to generate interest enough to get an answer from a non-verbal partner. And the joking; how would I respond when his sense of humor was dampened?
So, as coaches, we need to design and suggest ways for those couples to 'talk' in a different way. It has to be a concerted effort maintaining eye contact, being the active participant, and being satisfied with less. One couple I worked with recently was struggling with this problem. We came up with other ways besides words to communicate; dancing, smiling, talking one way with no expectation of response, singing (many people who are non-verbal can recall and sing out the words to familiar songs). Music is very key to raising positive memories.
I just watched a u-tube video of a completely non-verbal man become very alert and engaged when music from his era and interest was presented. His eyes got bright and he sang all the words. When the music stopped he said, "Is that all? Play it again!"
Also, sign up for the Alzheimer & Dementia Weekly on line for more on sensory modalities for bringing pleasure back into the life of a non-verbal dementia patient. Teepa Snow has videos on that e-newsletter that are very impressive and instructive. I am so happy that after 13 years in coaching, I am not alone in designing interventions. The media has much to offer us.
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