Aegis Living Brain Health Minute with Teepa Snow #3 of 3
Understanding the Challenges of Dementia Part Three: Aegis Living is proud to present this three part series of Aegis Brain Health Minutes featuring one of the world’s leading dementia educators appearing at Aegis Living, Teepa Snow. Teepa brings 35 years of clinical geriatric care in her trademarked “Positive Approach to Care” training.
“A lot of what happens when people get dementia is in the core of the brain, and I don’t like how I don’t feel in control. I don’t like how I don’t understand things anymore. I don’t like how you’re behaving. I don’t like that the car doesn’t work right. I don’t like a lot of things and so when I don’t like things, then I have issues with I want things to be better or different. I want you to do something. I want to know the answer. I want this, I want that, and when I don’t get what I want, I start to feel endangered or at risk and I get more and more distressed. And so with this condition, because I’m in brain failure, I don’t sometimes know what I don’t know. And so I want to know something and you get to the place where you’re going, “I’ve already told you that 15 times and you’re asking me again.” And it’s like yeah, because every time you tell me and I say oh, okay, I go to put it in a storage unit that I can’t get things in and out of, and so it gets lost. There’s no place for me to put it, and so I think well I guess I didn’t ask that yet, let me ask again. And it becomes this never-ending cycle for you but for me it’s the first time I’m asking every time.
And it’s just like we are in such in different places, that it means that without thinking about it we start fighting with each other because we’re both frustrated or we’re both confused or we’re both frightened or we’re both upset. One of us has to pause and go, okay time out. This isn’t going like it used to, there’s something different going on here so I’m going to do something different.
Well, three reasons. Number one, people aren’t dying, they’re living longer, and the greatest risk for getting any dementia is getting old. So we are dealing with more of this than we’ve ever dealt with before. The second reason is if you don’t figure out how to cope with this you actually create your own distress mode and you increase your own risk of developing a variety of chronic illnesses. Hypertension, diabetes, problems with hypotension, problems with your own health, but one of them actually turns out to be dementia. Well, so, like the worst thing in the world is to not be able to cope with dementia and actually increase your own risk of getting dementia because you’re stressed out all the time and your brain produces a chemical called Cortisol. And you’re not resting, and you’re not sleeping, and you’re not doing very well and you don’t realize over time, that increases the risk of getting your own dementia. And it’s like okay, well time out, that’s crazy.
And then the third reason is if we don’t figure out how to cope with dementia all we feel is frustrated, and angry, and upset. And nobody should have relationships with people they care about that are so miserable all the time. You start to realize, look I can do something and it makes a difference and suddenly, yeah, okay I can do this again because now I know that what I do, I can make a difference. Not all the time, but at least some of the time.”