Have you ever met a person who was so incredibly practical that it seemed they missed out on getting any emotions when they were born? And on the flip side, have you ever met someone who was so emotional that they lacked all common sense? We usually lean one way or the other, but then every now and then we come across someone that is right near the middle between the two and is able to see things from both the practical and emotional side of things. Jolene Brackey is just such a person. From her experience of working with residents with dementia in an Alzheimer’s Special Care Unit and from her business that helps guide people through the Alzheimer’s experience, she has written a wonderful guide/journal entitled Creating Moments of Joy.
I happened upon the book when a daughter of a Hospice patient with dementia told me she had found a book that was really helping her with her mother. In it, there are hundreds of practical solutions to common problems such as eating, bathing, sleeping, toileting, wandering, and on and on and on. She said that when a certain problem would arise, she would simply go to the particular section in the book and read Jolene’s advice. In that way, it truly is a treasure trove of practicality.
Yet, all the way through, the heart of the author shines through. So instead of trying to list all of the practical suggestions she offers in this short blog, I thought I would help you see the heart of the writer through some quotes directly from the book. That way, you can decide if you would like to pick it up for yourself and give it a read.
“Five minutes later, they won’t remember what you did or said, but the feeling you left them with will linger.” p.13
“The other fascinating discovery is they don’t forget a tone of voice. They will recognize your voice far into the disease, but you have to get out of their sight in order for this to happen.” p. 29
“The bottom line is this – there is no reasoning with a person who has Alzheimer’s, and you will not be able to make them live your reality. Choose to accept, and everyone wins.” p. 41
“Do you know this is the only disease where you can make mistakes all day long, because five minutes later they don’t remember it. That is a blessing!” p. 42
“No matter how many times we correct them, can they change? No. Again, guess who has to be the one to change. Yes, it’s still you.” p. 59
“You cannot control the disease. You can only control your reaction to it.” p. 63
“Ninety percent of what they understand is not the words that come out of your mouth, but they do understand your body language and tone of voice.” p. 84
“Even people with closed eyes who do not speak can sense the closeness of another person…Let go of your expectations of how you want them to respond and savor the time you have together.” p. 93
“…the point is to stop blaming the reactions that occur solely on the disease itself. Whey we say they do something because of the disease we are essentially giving up on one valuable question. ‘Why?’ Why are they reacting like they do?” p.183
“Whatever your task may be, ask the person to help you. Human beings possess an innate desire to feel needed.” p. 218
“So often, families and friends stop visiting because of an attitude of ‘what’s-the-point when the person doesn’t know who you are?’ I assure you, they need your companionship and comfort now more than ever.” p. 244
“List the ways they showed you love, then next time you visit do one of those things. If they loved you that way, that is probably the way their mom showed them love.” p.248
What wonderful words of wisdom! And that is just the tip of the iceberg. So whether you have a loved one with dementia or you are a professional caregiver, I highly recommend this book that will not only inform your head, but will inspire your heart to comfort these precious people the way they deserve to be comforted.
To purchase this book from Amazon you can click on the image of the book above.