January 11, 2017

DVD review by one of our carers

*these are available for loan to members of AANSW - if you would like to reserve them please email the Library on nsw.library@alzheimers.org.au

The Caring Spirit Approach to Eldercare - a Training Guide for Professionals and Families.


This is a very good resource and could be useful in several forums, as the title indicates; it's certainly not preachy and doesn't focus on one source of spirituality; However, it also doesn't go into "new age" thinking either, which is an important point for me in this type of resource. 


It would be great material, for example, for the young onset dementia carers monthly support group that I attend - to take one of the topics, like Spiritual Approaches to Coping with Stress, or Helping a Family Member Finish Well. I would thoroughly recommend its use in this setting, with appropriate support staff in attendance, of course.


Some quotes: 

"Caring is an act of loving kindness that places two people in a sacred space together" (p.5)

"There is more to life than merely increasing its speed." Mahatma Ghandi, (p15)

"... each of us may have left far more behind us than we may ever know." Rachel Naomi Remen from My Grandfather's Blessings. (p.73)

"... Leadership needs to create a meaningful role and place in our society for our elders. They believe that role is one of sage." (p.75)

"The death of an old person is like the burning of a library." Alex Haley (p194)


Teepa Snow

I've also watched the first of the 2 DVD's: 2-1/2 hours!

It's quite enthralling; once you get used to her "out there" style of presentation (which can be quite irritating if you get hung up on it) it's one of the most beautiful and clear and insightful demonstrations I've ever encountered in revealing the impact of dementia on one's personhood. It's loosely set in the "church community" and "church community functionality" but that doesn't preclude its relevance to any setting in society. It's absolutely beautiful and moving in parts, very funny in others. I'm looking forward to watching the 2nd DVD, which is the same length.


I believe this is a most powerful tool that any teaching scenario could use in educating care workers, carers, family members to walk the journey more compassionately with their loved one or their client/patient living with dementia.

  Teepa Snow DVD - a must see for any community
Spirituality in Dementia Care

with Teepa Snow and Rev. Linn Possell
  1. Have you struggled to meet the spiritual needs of a family member living with dementia?
  2. Do you run a faith-based organization and would like to know how to best help a person living with dementia and their families stay connected to their community of faith?
  3. Learn with dementia expert Teepa Snow and Reverend Linn Possell about basic spiritual needs throughout life, what may or may not change when someone is living with dementia and how to best meet those needs.
Watch this program and learn
◾How to meet the spiritual needs that remain when a person is in the midst of brain change
◾How to connect with the spirit of someone living with dementia to create a “soul to soul” relationship
◾How to help family members better manage feelings of guilt, sadness and grief
◾How to offer the highest quality of life by focusing on what the person living with dementia is still able to

Facilitating spiritual reminiscence for people with dementia

Elizabeth MacKinlay and Corinne Trevitt,                           

The authors begin by positioning themselves firmly in the positive dementia care camp, putting the person before the dementia, and operating groups which are inclusive and respectful, emphasising remaining strengths, promoting engagement and facilitating communication. They clearly have an understanding of the value of reminiscence and cite the usual sources to indicate how it is a natural part of the ageing process and a ‘positive activity with educational, recreational, social and therapeutic benefits’ . They also attempt to explain their concept of spirituality as addressing the
core or ultimate meaning of life, covering relationships, creation/environment, religion, and the Arts. This definition of spirituality, even with accompanying diagrams, is far from clear and appears to accommodate almost every kind of reflection whether as retrospective or as experienced in the present. My understanding is that they see the four aspects of spirituality as different routes to spiritual experience and addressing the big questions in life concerning hope, fear, sorrow, religious faith and the meaning of human existence....
To be diagnosed with dementia is "like being blindfolded and let loose in a maze". There is no clear treatment to follow, because each case is unique. But once thickets of misunderstanding and misinformation are brushed aside, there are pathways to hope. "Secular models of support don't adequately reflect Christian values of compassion, love and service," explains Louise Morse. "Neither do they describe the power of spiritual support. This is key to the wellbeing of the caregiver, as well as the person with dementia." This book is packed with examples of what works, as well as practical advice and accessible medical information. Louise Morse is a cognitive behavioural therapist and works with a national charity whose clients include people with dementia. Her MA dissertation, based on hundreds of interviews, examined the effects on families of caring for a loved one with dementia.

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