Sarah Jane is a freelance writer/researcher and part-time caregiver for her mother Eleanor* who has dementia and lives at a rest home nearby. Sarah and her mother spend Saturdays enjoying each other’s company, pottering about and having the occasional adventure. Sarah lives in New Zealand where she writes and speaks about dementia-related issues.

Articles

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Sarah Jane writes about the special weekly visits that she shares with her mother who suffers from dementia. Her goal is to connect individuals affected by dementia and provide information and support for improving a loved one's quality of life.

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The repetition of Mum’s stories could make me crazy, but on good days I find ways to cope. The trick is to keep the conversation fresh. I amuse myself and make Mum happy.

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Loved ones with Alzheimer's and other dementias face a grave threat to their identity. How do you protect who someone is when they cannot remember close family members, milestones, likes and dislikes? A few tips, ample patience and compassion can help.

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Once-familiar tasks can become difficult, frustrating, and even downright impossible for individuals with dementia. Sometimes gentle encouragement and careful observation are the best things a caregiver can offer to a loved one facing these challenges.

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Most elders want to feel useful and do something to contribute to what is happening around them. Finding ways to utilize their strengths and incorporate them in activities can be challenging, but it is worth the effort.

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Trying to please someone with memory issues can seem like a losing battle. Many caregivers bend over backwards for their loved ones only to have their efforts fail or fall short. Perseverance and attentiveness to their needs are crucial in these trying situations.

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Even though Mum’s childhood friend, Edward Bear, had been stored away for years, it turns out he is still able to provide her with the security and comfort she needs in difficult times.

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Commonly patients with Alzheimer's cannot acknowledge their cognitive impairment. This phenomenon, called anosognosia, makes it very challenging for caregivers to provide the treatment and care they require.

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As a loved one's dementia progresses, it can be extremely difficult for them to communicate with their caregiver and other family members. There are a few simple tips to keep in mind that can help conversations go more smoothly.

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Familiarity, distinctiveness, accessibility, legibility, comfort and safety: these visual cues help us all throughout our lives. Utilizing each of these cues both inside and outside the home can increase a loved one's quality of life and ability to function safely and independently.

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As the population ages and dementia becomes more prevalent, it is crucial for businesses to train their staff in dementia awareness and make small adaptations to their spaces.

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After researching the “ethics” of blogging, I realized what had been bothering me. I hadn’t been honest with Mum and it was time to tell her the truth.

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Sometimes the smallest mishap can be extremely upsetting for a loved one with memory issues. An accident or misunderstanding can cause emotional turmoil for days.

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Caregivers can easily get caught up in life's many demands, but exposing a dementia patient to this whirlwind of activity can be confusing and upsetting.

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We all want to feel useful and have some sense of purpose. These desires do not change as we age, but waning abilities leave few options for our elderly loved ones to feel fulfilled.

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Caregivers are busy people by definition, whether they are working, married, and/or raising children. Sometimes we get in the mindset of trying to do it all, but we also get frustrated with ourselves and lose sight of simple solutions to being spread so thin.

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Mom desperately wants to feel better; to have some purpose in life. As her caregiver I was keen to help, but it can take a number of ideas and trials for a person to adopt a new hobby or activity, especially someone who has dementia.

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Sometimes simple discussions about fears and hopes for the remainder of one’s life can prove to be far more healing than surgeries and medication.

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Many caregivers look for ways to entertain and stimulate their loved ones with dementia. This blogger decided to take her mother on an outing to the beach.

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A loved one develops dementia and begins to have difficulty with memories and crowds, but they still want to be a part of family life and celebrations. How can caregivers balance a loved one's desires with their diminishing capabilities?