Caregiver You Are Not Alone: Mike’s Story

Music and Dementia: Magical Moments Bring Back Memories

Music Soothes the Savage Breast

This famous quotation from William Congreve (1670-1629) evidently more truth to it than he ever realized four hundred years ago. “Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast. To soften rocks, or bend the knotted oak.”

I don’t share this quote to suggest that people with dementia are savages. Nor do I believe William Congreve was referring to savages when he wrote that poem. I believe it’s a reference to the times in our life when we are angry, worried, or overcome with the type of fear and confusion that makes us question our place in the world and our connection to the people close to us.

Music can be magical in the way it connects us to memories and shared experiences. If the person in your care is agitated or being aggressive or not communicating, playing their favorite music can make a huge difference. Try it and let me know how it goes.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Len’s Story

Caring Takes Courage

Often the bravest thing a caregiver can do is face a new day. A day of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. A day that begins early and continues long into the night. A day where you are not appreciated and often vilified by the one in your care.

Even when the person you are devoting your life to is kind and loving, courage is required from both of you. Life has changed dramatically, expectations of the future must be modified or abandoned. Facing inevitable continuing losses can make it hard to continue, yet you do.

It takes courage to smile when we are sad. It takes courage to find new ways of communication. It takes courage to take time away from giving care to take care of oneself when selfcare means crying in the shower or lowering your body onto your knees in prayer when the answer you seek is the end of pain for both of you. It is not a wish for death, but a hope for a peaceful ending.

Yes, caring takes courage and most of us don’t understand what soldiers come to realize, that courage doesn’t erase fear, it challenges us to carry on in the face of it. Caregiver are heroes.


Caregiver You Are Not Alone -Amy’s Story

Caregivers have so much to do, day and night, for weeks at a time. Of course it’s exhausting. It leaves one drained physically and emotionally. This is the hardest, most long lasting, thankless time of one’s life, until it is done.

Only after one has had time to recover can one begin to appreciate the special moments of clarity that will reveal why it was a gift you didn’t know you wanted. Laugh or cry at the prospect now, but I believe this to be true. It happened to me.

Until then, give yourself a mini break each day by letting go of one thing that can wait until tomorrow. Walk away from the demand that every little thing be accomplished as it used to be.

Let go of what was to embrace what is. One day at a time.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone: Joy’s Story

Bath Time in Dementia Land

Being a dementia caregiver means choosing one’s battles. One that people often struggle with is getting the person in care to shower or bathe. They will refuse day after day, sometimes for weeks. Odor becomes a problem and we become concerned about the effect on their health.

Why does someone suddenly avoid feeling clean? There can be many reasons when the dementia brain is involved:

Fear of the bathroom. It’s often very white and sounds echo. There are usually mirrors in there.

If dementia has taken them back in time and they believe they are in their 40’s, seeing a 70 or 80 year old looking at them when the enter the room can be frightening.

Water suddenly hitting their sensitive skin can hurt. And because it’s clear, they can’t see it. So, there we are insisting they enter a scary place, naked, where their body is pummeled by an unseen source.

They may have body issues and not want to be seen naked. Or, they may not remember how to remove their clothes.

So, what does a caregiver do?

Suggest, don’t insist that it’s bath time.

If the answer is no, let go and try again later.

Cover the mirrors and lower the lighting.

Make sure the room is warm.

If they refuse to remove their clothing, leave it on. Soap and water go through fabric. They can wash through the cloth. It won’t be perfect but it will be an improvement and maybe next time it won’t be so difficult for either of you.

And one more thing, when you have an opportunity to get in the shower, make the most of it. Enjoy the warmth and comfort, you have earned it.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Ellen’s Story

Get The Hell Off My Mountain

Caregivers find themselves on the receiving end of a great deal of advice. Far too often it comes from someone who is not now, and never has been, a caregiver for someone with a long-term, devastating, brain disease. They don’t live with the unpredictable changes in cognitive ability. They don’t see the aggression and downright spitefulness that some with dementia can manifest at any moment.

When they visit, the person in care is on their best behavior. It’s exhausting and short lived and will end as soon as the guests leave.

Knowing what we know, living with what he live, uninvited advice is not what we need. Help is what we require. Ellen’s story reminds people of this. I hope it inspires some to step up. If not, I encourage you to respond that the only right path at this time is yours and when their time comes to care for someone, they can choose their own way up the mountain.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone: Thomas’ Story

It’s Too Hard to See Him Like That

When family members opt out of helping care for someone it’s not unusual for them to say, “It’s too hard to see him or her like that.”

Of course it’s hard. These diseases are brutal, long term, fatal illnesses. Too hard for everyone. What most people don’t understand is that with dementia time travel is real. As short term memory is lost, the past comes alive for person with dementia. Sharing memories of life when they were strong, healthy, and happy is what will ease their days. Share photos, home movies, and stories from your shared time. That is the way to make something that is too hard a bit better moment to moment.

Its too hard to see him like that.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – James Story

Do Not Believe the Things You Tell Yourself

We humans, and even more so, caregivers, have a unique ability to find ways to blame ourselves when things go wrong. When this occurs, we doubt our ability to continue. We lose sleep trying to pinpoint what we missed, or what we did or didn’t do that resulted in another setback or a very bad day.

Listen to James’s story and his doubts. Then listen to what follows and understand you are not alone in feeling as you do. After that, take a few moments to feel the regret or guilt that you are facing. It would do no good for me to tell you not to feel as you do. Go with it for a bit. Wallow as most of us do. Then take a deep breath and move on knowing you did your very best and that is all you need to do. That, and be as kind to yourself as you are to others. Blessed be the caregivers.

Blessed Be The Caregivers

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Leslie’s Story

When friends or family members question you about the care you are providing it is often because they don’t see what you see, or hear what you hear. They are not losing sleep because your loved one is up all night demanding to go to the bathroom every few minutes. They are not there to witness the tantrums caused by confusion and fear in the one needing care.

When visitors do come, they pull themselves together, holding on to their dignity as hard as they can. It’s exhausting for them and the result is a meltdown once the guests leave. You live with every part of these dreadful diseases.

I suggest is to use your smart phone to record what happens in the explosive moments. When someone questions your truth, share the video with them. It may result in understanding and maybe, an offer of help.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Kelly’s Story

As dementia progresses, the caregiver becomes the memory keeper. When they no longer recognize us, we vividly recall who they were before this devastating disease robbed them of so much.

There is no denying that seeing a blank stare where a welcoming smile once greeted us is one of the most panful moments we face. But, I’m here to remind you that it is not a moment of failure for either of you. When recognized for what it is, a moment of infinite trust, it can be the beginning of acceptance as you enter Stage Five of the Six Stages of Caregiving. the Transitioning Caregiver. It is in this stage we: Release the fear, let others in, and think about what’s next.

To learn about the Six Stages of Caregiving and for information about how to book Bobbi for an online appearance or webinar go to Bobbi’s website:

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Peter’s Story

Cherish the Moment

Dementia is proof that time travel is real. As short term memory is erased the past comes alive in the dementia brain. A seventy year old man relives the time he was strong and ready to take on the world. A woman with Alzheimer’s is once again a young mother holding her baby in her arms.

It can be very disconcerting for the caregiver and other family members when this happens. It can be devastating for the person living with dementia if we deny their reality. So what is a caregiver to do?

I repeat, Cherish the Moment. Ask him or her how old they are. The answer will give you insight into where their brain has taken them. Then you can engage with them through their memories of that time and place. If you have photos of them at that time, sit with them and listen to the stories they share.

If a woman is frantically looking for her baby, give her a lifelike doll to care for. Men also like holding babies and both men and women often enjoy holding a realistic looking pet.

It cannot be repeated often enough. We must meet them where they are and when we do that they become more calm and need less medication and very often touching moments that will one day be cherished memories are shared. the podcast dedicated to guiding you through the heavy haze of dementia, is a weekly podcast for caregivers hosted by Bobbi and Mike Carducci. We hope you will tune in, follow, and review the program.

Please share special moment you had with the person in your care.

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