As we turn the page to a new year, it's an appropriate time to dive into wellness and well-being for people with dementia.
As a strong advocate for care partner education and training, the importance of empowering people living with dementia through resources is of equal importance if we are to address the urgent needs of the dementia community.
A must-read resource by the Dementia Action Alliance, Pathways to Well-Being with Dementia: A Manual of Help, Hope and Inspiration, should be on top of the bucket list. With eye-opening stories from people navigating the shock of early diagnosis to recreating new life's purposes after life-long careers to navigating everyday life in creative ways that they never thought possible, readers will find that well-being is possible for people with dementia.
In addition to shared stories, Pathways provides a practical but deep dive into what I call the Nuts and Bolts: dealing with everyday life, such as managing "stuff," driving, pets, travel, bill-paying, family communications, sex, and intimacy. After all, it is in our everyday lives that we find joy, a sense of purpose, and growth.
Wellness as we age is a big deal these days. Emotional and physical well-being, creative practices, coping strategies, sleep, and nutrition are essential to our overall well-being. It's no different for people living with dementia! Wellness means constant learning, finding,and tapping into sound educational resources that adapt to your life. Every step one takes empowers you and those around you.
Another nuts and blots topic covered in Pathways is healthcare. It's no secret that managing the healthcare maze can be overwhelming and stressful for everyone. With a dementia diagnosis, knowing how to manage your relationships with healthcare providers, communicating as accurately as possible, and understanding healthcare options are essential. This will be most effective with a care partner, and it's then a team effort. How great it is to have a guide to walk you through each step!
It is empowering to get a handle on one's healthcare - and once you feel confident - it will leave more room for enjoying life!
A great gift to yourself is the ability to learn - and we all know that dementia allows for plenty of ongoing education! Tap into this guide to understand the different types of dementia - it will be an important base of knowledge for yourself but also to help others on their journey.
The Creative Caregiving Guide© was created by the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA) with our partners at OMA - Opening Minds Through Art. Filled with short video lessons that guide users through hands-on learning experiences, from paintings, poetry, music, storytelling, to drama and dance exercises. It is a free, community-shared, web-based resource specially designed for family and professional caregivers of adults who live with Alzheimer's disease and related cognitive disorders.
Tapping into our creativity can be a game-changer in improving well-being, a sense of personhood, and building a sense of awareness.
Tools that spark our sense of playfulness can reduce stress, enrich connections with others, boost self-esteem, and bring a true sense of joy. The Creative Caregiving Guide is a valuable resource for families, professionals, volunteers, and more. When you view the ability to tap into creativity without structure as a right or wrong approach, it is freeing and open-ended. Isn't this a practical wellness approach for people with dementia?
2024 can ring in a new year of opening minds through pathways of empowerment, learning, and growth. We hope you will use the resources we've discussed and find out how AGE-u-cate's family of training programs have helped over 2 million care partners!