Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday Tidings: Phases of Disorientation

Distrust and repeated anger are often signs of a very important phase of disorientation known as malorientation.  Individuals with Alzheimer's who experience this stage, which is phase 1 of 4, tend to be unhappily oriented to life, are regularly accusatory, and typically do not maintain eye contact.  My belief is that it is our duty as caregivers to never judge situations and comfort our loved ones in the best way possible.  Naomi Feil's Workshop Handouts give basic guidance information when caregivers need extra support.  No one, patient or caregiver, should have to go down the long road of Alzheimer's disease without helpful advice from trained professionals who care.

In attempts to give Alzheimer's patients top priority over our own when it comes to emotions, we must remember this key expression: Alzheimer's is a disease of the mind that is uncontrollable.  When we as caregivers are having a bad day, we should stop to center ourselves.  As Carrie Gallahan, Certified Validation Worker and Group Practitioner expresses, close our eyes and imagine our favorite color entering our bodies each time we breathe in - all the way down to our toes.  Take a few minutes to do this until the body and mind feel relaxed.  Start off the day with a fresh slate, leave worries and everything negative at the door.  This will allow us to give our undivided attention and empathetic emotion to our dear elders.      

Has anyone tried using the Validation Technique?  How about attempting to center yourself?  Did either of these approaches provide benefits throughout the day of caregiving?

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