Stories, Strategies, and Spiritual Practices for Caregivers of People with Dementia

Universal Spirit

THESE ARE THE FACTS: There are over 100 types of dementia affecting over 50 million people around the world. Unfortunately, knowing the hard numbers doesn’t make caregiving less demanding, challenging, exhausting, and, yes, many times and in many ways, potentially uplifting. Caregiving is typically understood as an activity, as something we do – likely because caregivers do a lot. But caregiving is deeper than what we do. It is more than a series of tasks. It is, first and foremost, a call to love.

In How the Light Shines each chapter engages an issue raised by caregivers themselves and is filled with real-life stories that convey the realities of caregiving, as well as tips and advice, and spiritual insight and guidance. It is written with both individuals and groups in mind. Each chapter includes questions and, for personal or group reflection, a spiritual practice and a prayer grounded in the pain and possibilities of it all.

In How the Light Shines, Trisha Elliott invites caregivers, of which she is one, to dive deep, to confront the challenges – physical, emotional, and spiritual – that are part and parcel of caring for someone with dementia, and also to explore the possibility that caregiving is a holy calling, that it is not just about learning a set of skills, but can be a path to a deeper relationship with God and with the divine spirit in all of us, including those with dementia.

https://www.woodlake.com/lightshines/index.html?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Bundle%20Dementia%20Launch&utm_content=Bundle%20Dementia%20Launch+CID_69e651f8b8e75b7928b136722ae4279b&utm_source=&utm_term=click%20here

 

The Best Way to Handle Your Mental Decline Is to Confront It Head On

Much like contemplating death can neutralize the fear of it, it can help to acclimate yourself to the idea of losing professional skills before it happens.

To read an article in the Atlantic on this topic, click on the following link:  https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2020/06/how-get-comfortable-professional-decline/612637/

The science of psilocybin and its use to prevent sufffering

“Johns Hopkins is deeply committed to exploring innovative treatments for our patients. Our scientists have shown that psychedelics have real potential as medicine, and this new center will help us explore that potential.”
– Paul B. Rothman, M.D., Dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

Scientists today are entering a new era of studying a truly unique class of pharmacological compounds known as psychedelics. Although research with these compounds was first started in the 1950s and ‘60s, it abruptly ended in the early 1970s in response to unfavorable media coverage, resulting in misperceptions of risk and highly restrictive regulations.

After a decades-long hiatus, in 2000 our research group at Johns Hopkins was the first to obtain regulatory approval in the United States to reinitiate research with psychedelics in healthy volunteers. Our 2006 publication on the safety and enduring positive effects of a single dose of psilocybin is widely considered the landmark study that sparked a renewal of psychedelic research world-wide.

Since that time, we have published further groundbreaking studies in more than 60 peer-reviewed articles in respected scientific journals. This makes Johns Hopkins the leading psychedelic research institution in the U.S., and among the few leading groups worldwide. Our research has demonstrated therapeutic effects in people who suffer a range of challenging conditions including addiction (smoking, alcohol, other drugs of abuse), existential distress caused by life-threatening disease, and treatment-resistant depression. Studying healthy volunteers has also advanced our understanding of the enduring positive effects of psilocybin and provided unique insight into neurophysiological mechanisms of action, with implications for understanding consciousness and optimizing therapeutic and non-therapeutic enduring positive effects.

At the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, researchers will focus on how psychedelics affect behavior, mood, cognition, brain function, and biological markers of health. Upcoming studies will determine the effectiveness of psilocybin as a new therapy for opioid addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (formerly known as chronic Lyme disease), anorexia nervosa and alcohol use in people with major depression. The researchers hope to create precision medicine treatments tailored to the specific needs of individual patients.

To watch a TED talk on this topic, click on the following link:  https://hopkinspsychedelic.org/

Experiencing Alzheimer’s: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

 Goodreads rating (out of 5) 4.31  282,594 ratings 

Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman’s sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer’s disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.

Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what’s it’s like to literally lose your mind… (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2153405.Still_Alice)

I liked this novel because it is scientifically accurate and shows how much of a difference strength of character and a loving and well-informed family can make in easing the trauma of Alzheimer’s.

Caregiving Tips for Traveling with an Older Adult

You don’t have to cancel the annual family vacation just because your loved one is getting older. With some careful planning, you can still get away and have an enjoyable time. This article provides some tips on how to plan a trip with an elderly loved one.

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/caregiving-tips-for-traveling-with-seniors-147634.htm