Thursday, February 22, 2018

14 Ways to Conquer Loneliness

There are times in our lives when we all feel lonely.  Sometimes, our loss is profound:  the death of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, starting over in a new environment.  Other times, we may simply feel “out of step” with the way everyone else appears to be behaving, or feeling, or with life milestones that others may be accomplishing but which we haven’t quite gotten to yet.  Whatever the reason, though, know that loneliness (on occasion) is normal.  As humans, we naturally crave togetherness and meaningful relationships.  Loneliness may come and go – and come again during different periods of transition in our lives.  While long lasting, persistent feelings of loneliness are not healthy, steps can be taken to alleviate this perception of alienation. 



Here are 14 steps you can take on the path to reengaging with the world, the significant people in your life, and most importantly -  yourself!



1.       Recognize, acknowledge, and embrace your emotions/feelings of loneliness.  When you are feeling lonely, the number one thing you need to do is to recognize your loneliness.  Call it out.  Give it a name.  By naming what you are feeling, it becomes less frightening.  It also becomes less powerful.  When you know what you are dealing with, you will also know how to conquer it.  But embrace it?  Yes.  Honor the feelings that you are having and accept them.  Feeling lonely is a human experience; it is something everyone will encounter at some point in life.  You, too, will not go an entire lifetime without feeling lonely at some point.  So, embrace this feeling and understand that this is not a life sentence.



2.       Focus on what you have – not what you have lost or what you think is missing.  Stop for a moment.  Pause and breathe through this step along with me.  Most likely, the first thing that is going to come into your mind is emptiness, that place where you think something should be, but isn’t.  That’s okay.  I get that.  Now allow that to pass, and let’s think instead of all the truly wonderful things that you DO have.  There are so many tiny, simple things that we all take for granted every single day.  Do you have clean water?  That's a reason for gratitude!  Approximately 1.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water.  Beyond such minutiae, though, are the big things that we all have.  Add them up.  I bet you have many more than you initially thought.





3.       Treat yourself to something special.  Do you have a passion for painting?  An inkling for ice cream?  A desire to dance or sing?  Then, by all means, treat yourself to something that makes you feel special, that makes you feel alive, that brings out the passion that is unique to you.  Sign up through the local library for the watercolor classes you always wanted to try; head down to the local ice cream parlor and order a banana split; or crank up the radio and cut the rug right in your own living room. 



4.       Find a greater purpose beyond yourself.  Now that you have treated yourself (see tip number 3), it is time to look outward beyond your own wants and feelings.  How to do this?  Volunteering is a great place to start.  There are opportunities all around you, and in every community.  Look to your local pet shelter, senior citizen home, or school for ideas.



5.       Reach out, get out, speak out.  No one is an island.  The more you seclude yourself or the more you avoid people, the lonelier you will feel.  If you are physically able, make it a point to leave your house on a regular basis.  Even something as simple as going to the grocery store or walking the mall can connect you with other people.  Once you are out, smile, make small talk, and give compliments as appropriate.  Make it your goal to say, “Hello,” to at least three people.  Not only will you begin to feel better, just imagine the joy you can bring to another person!  If you are homebound, then use your phone or computer to reach out.  The point is, don’t wait for others to come to you.  Make it your job to make an effort!



6.       Be true to YOU – don’t try to be anyone else.  We all do it:  we log onto Facebook, or Twitter, or we see the neighbors pull into the drive with a new car.  We compare ourselves and value our self-worth based upon a perception of what others are accomplishing or feeling.  You may see that your cousin went on a trip to an exotic locale, and all you see are happy, smiling people.  Well, of course you do!  No one ever posts the pictures of the kids having a meltdown in the airport, or the afternoon they were stuck inside the hotel room watching TV because the weather turned sour.  People like to present their best selves – not necessarily their true selves.  You are unique, with a unique and valuable story.  Don’t judge it against anyone else’s. 



7.       Work to strengthen relationships.  Relationships take time, encouragement, and investment.  Relationships are not built overnight; nor are they maintained through inattention.  When was the last time you heard from a special person?  Do you miss them?  Get in touch with them, let them know you are thinking of them.  More than likely, that person you are thinking of is missing you, too!  You wouldn’t work two days out of five and expect to be successful in your job.  The same is true of people.  You get out what you put in. 



8.       Do not keep toxic relationships in your life.  There are times, unfortunately, when tip number 7 is no longer viable.  You must recognize the people and habits that are not healthy to your personal identity, your mental health, or sometimes even your physical being.  There cannot be any place for such people in your life.  This toxicity will not only impact your self-worth, but it also negatively affects your ability to go out and meet new people who will lift you up with their encouragement, empowering you to be your best self. 



9.       Give hugs – to close friends or even to pets.  It has been shown that newborns who are not cuddled and held can develop a syndrome called Failure to Thrive.  Touch is extremely beneficial in making us feel connected, helping to release pain (both physical and emotional), and alleviating loneliness. Did you know that even petting an animal has many of these same health benefits? 



10.   Laugh!  Watch a funny movie, television show, YouTube or Vimeo video.  A good belly laugh releases feel good chemicals, and can even increase immunity and your body’s ability to fight infections.  Hormones known as endorphins can generate an overall feeling of well-being. 



11.   Get out – exercise.  I bet you have heard this one over and over.  There’s a good reason for that!  Time and again, exercise has been shown to be great for your body – and for your mind, too!  Not only will exercise make you feel better in the moment, it is also shown to improve your ability to age healthfully.  And we’re not talking running marathons, but rather,  easy walking,  or a bike ride after dinner.  If you are new to exercising, start slowly with five minutes at a time.  Try to work up to 30 minutes per day, five days per week.  Even if you need to break it up into two fifteen-minute walks, you will reap the benefits.  Take in your surroundings, fill your lungs with fresh air, listen for birdsong.



12.   Let go of past hurts that might be holding you back or fear that is preventing you from forming new relationships.  Remember, being human means that just like loneliness, we will be hurt – and also that we will hurt others.  Forgiveness is critical to healing, and to moving forward.  These things lead to growth and the development of empathy, an emotion that will also assist you in times of loneliness. 



13.   Reinvest in your faith.  What are your core beliefs?  What lead you to believe these things?  If you are unsure, take this time to reexamine what you believe and why.  In addition, proactively seeking out a place of worship that is in tune with your inner self can be immensely rewarding.  Quite often, not only are regular worship times and services offered, but also a whole host of activities that will help you to reengage with your faith – and with other people.  The more you get out, the less lonely you will feel. 



14.   Connect with your past.  Where you come from, the life experiences that you have had, the people who have shaped you all have made you who you are today.  At times it can be fun, and at times it can be cathartic, to revisit these memories.  Sharing your story with others helps you to encourage people, and it can help you to frame it so that you are able to understand the events of your life – both the good and the bad.  It is actually quite easy to write your story.  Many online tools exist for this very purpose.



Hopefully, these tips will encourage you and remind you that no matter how you feel in the moment, you are not alone.  Please feel free to reach out to us here at LifeBio, and leave your comments below.


Friday, December 29, 2017

5 Tips for Interviewing Grandma and Grandpa

1. Don't delay and don't talk yourself out of it. It's time to capture grandma and grandpa in print, on video, via audio, or writing via the web. Grandma's life story or grandpa's life story is far more interesting than you can ever imagine. Really and truly, your own grandparents can tell you things that no one else can share. 


2. Find the story behind their pictures. A great place to start is to review an old photo album together. Record what they say about a few of their favorite pictures. You aren't going to have time to get the story behind every picture, but you can get a few of grandma's favorite memories or grandpa's favorite memories through pictures. Pick the ones that are really funny or the ones where their eyes light up as they tell the tale. A picture is worth 1,000 words.

3. Structure is good. You will probably be glad you did your homework and you know what you want to ask when you meet with your grandma or grandpa. You can always ask questions over the phone or email that tech-savvy grandparent with your questions. LifeBio's structure for example would have you ask about people in their lives, childhood memories and historical events, the real world of adulthood, and end with values, beliefs, life lessons, and more.

4. Pick a quiet place for an interview. If your planning to use a video camera, you'll want to pick a quiet spot free of distractions for interviewing grandma. If you are interviewing grandpa and the phone rings or someone walks in the room, it just takes away from the video. LifeBio's online system or iOS app are great options -- either type the bio online or video record inside the app! 

5. Smile a lot and speak up. Grandpa and grandma want to know that you are glad to be recording their stories. Also, be sure you are speaking loudly and clearly so you don't have to repeat questions. Mumbling is not a good idea when you are the interviewer. Have confidence in yourself and make sure they know how much you want these life stories told. You can help them do something important by capturing grandma's life stories or grandpa's life stories for all time. This is a priceless gift to both of you--and it just might change your life!

For more assistance with capturing life stories for yourself or your loved ones, please contact LifeBio at info@lifebio.com or call 937-303-4576.  We can help people learn how to write an autobiography! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Personal Biography Services


YOU Are Special!


Each one of us is a wonderful, unique individual.  The way in which the people, places, and events of our lives have influenced us has made us who we are today.  How we interpret these events creates our world view.  Even so, there are many experiences that are universal, and remarkable historical events that we have all shared.  You are special - and people want to know your story!

Have You Considered Writing Your Life Story?


Many people think about writing their life story - but they don't.  The reasons are many: 

-I don't know where to start
-It's too time consuming
-There's no one to assist me
-It's expensive
-I don't write well
-Only "select" people get to write their life story




This list could go on and on... and it could not be more wrong!


Let's Dispel These MYTHS!


Writing your story is for everyone!  For one thing, reminiscing has been PROVEN to be beneficial to your health!  Remembering the good times - as well as remembering how you overcame hardship - helps you to see the "bigger picture."  It also helps underscore your purpose in life.  The best part is that you DON'T have to go it alone!  LifeBio is here to help you every step of the way!



LIFEBIO Was Created to Help EVERY Person Tell Their Story - Their Way!


LifeBio Senior Story Director, Tricia Cossette, says: 

"It's been my pleasure to work with hundreds of people from every walk of life!  The clients and I work together to come up the right fit for their particular circumstances. 




Some people like to write their stories longhand, and then they send their book to me to type for them.  For others, a personal biographer is the better choice.  That way, we can work together as a team on their story, and over the course of several phone interviews, I then create a beautiful book for them. 

I can't think of a more rewarding job than helping people tell their stories!"


CALL Tricia for Your Personal Solution...
1-866-543-3246

It really is as easy as a phone call!  Just call LifeBio Toll Free at 1-866-543-3246 and ask to speak to Tricia.  She will walk you through the options available and help you choose just the right solution for you.  After all, IT'S TIME TO TELL YOUR STORY!


www.LifeBio.com
1-866-543-3246





Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Writing Your Autobiography is the Beginning - Not the End!


biography, autobiography, share, story

It’s Time to Tell Your Story!

Have you ever considered writing your autobiography?  Or has someone ever said to you, “You know, you should really write a book!”?  Perhaps you are at the opposite end of the spectrum, and the thought has never even crossed your mind before.  Well, no matter who you are, or what walk of life you come from – it’s time to tell your story!

Who?  Me?

Yes!  Everyone has a story to tell. 
autobiography, biography, share, story
The unique people, places, and events of your life have all come together to make you the “one-of-a-kind” individual sitting there in front of that screen today.  Wouldn’t you love to have a document that was written by your parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent?  To be able to walk a mile in their shoes, experience what their daily routine was, and discover how they came to their most important life decisions?  Well, your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren want to know these things about YOU.  You see, your unique perspective on your family, on life, on historical events and how they impacted you is important.  All of us need to share these relevant facts.

Valuable Life Lessons

What is important to you?  REALLY think about this for a moment.  How do you convey these important messages to your family and loved ones?  All too often, we are so mired in the minutiae of daily life that we don’t talk about the BIG STUFF – you know, the really important beliefs and ideals that we want to pass along; the legacy we want to leave behind.  It has nothing to do with who gets the china set or the silverware or the portrait of Uncle George that hangs in the hallway.  These are the things inside your heart that matter the very most, and of which there is no physical remnant – UNLESS YOU PURPOSEFULLY CREATE ONE.

What’s In It For Me?

autobiography, biography, share, story
For starters, sharing your stories is just plain fun!  Remembering the good times when you were a kid, recollecting your favorite holiday, talking about a beloved pet, or a special teacher… well, the list could just go on and on!  Sure, there are the stories you’ve told your family before.  But as you DIG DEEPER, you soon discover the true treasure trove – a wealth of untold stories!  On the flip side, life ain’t always so great.  There are trials and tribulations in every life.  Sharing how you overcame these life obstacles serves as a wonderful teaching tool.  If you overcame this difficult patch, so too, can others.  This is the hope that you can give to others.  In addition, it helps you to be reminded that through it all, you survived.  You went on to accomplish much in your life – and this is a powerfully healing truth. 

I Don’t Know Where to Start

Truly, taking the first step is the hardest part.  Once you do, however, you will find that the process is truly EASY and enjoyable.  There are several paths to creating your autobiography.  Fortunately, www.LifeBio.com offers these options for your consideration:

1)       Journaling.  Do you enjoy putting pen to paper?  If so, writing your autobiography using one of our journals is the perfect choice for you.  With options ranging from the simple Life Story Guide, to the Life Story Journal, to the comprehensive Memory Journal, you are certain to find one which suits your needs ideally.

2)      Online.  You don’t have to be tech-savvy to use our simple online platform!  Just create a user name and password, and you are ready to see your story unfold.  Inside our website, you have many options – you may create a daily journal, choose from a wide variety of specifically guided story outlines, or complete a FULL biography.  Each section prompts you with a question, which you may answer in as much detail as you choose.  You can even upload favorite photos, share recipes or family trees – and so much more!  Plus, our staff is always available to assist you – we are only a phone call away!

3)      Personal Biographer.  This service is priced to be budget friendly!  LifeBio is on a mission to make story telling as easy – and affordable – as we possibly can.  Therefore, we offer a very basic per hour pricing structure that allows you to control how much (or how little) you want to spend.  Our personal biographers are gentle, kind, and professional – not to mention excellent listeners!  If you choose this option, you may tell your story over the phone, and your personal biographer will then type it up FOR YOU!

In addition to all of the above, personalized leather-bound books may be ordered to further compliment and preserve your story!

Let’s Get Started!

1-937-303-4576


Friday, July 21, 2017

"We Need to Talk" - All About Reminiscence Therapy

Reminiscence Therapy?  What the Heck Is That?
Reminiscence Therapy

For thousands of years, people have shared stories around the campfire, the hearth, and the kitchen table.  We human beings are practically pre-programmed to enjoy telling and sharing our stories.   Taken in its simplest form, Reminiscence Therapy (or RT) is recalling and discussing the people, places, and events that shaped us.  More than merely retelling the same old story, however, Reminiscence Therapy delves deeper and is used as a therapeutic tool that improves mood, reduces the use of pharmacological interventions, and improves quality of life.  Plus, it’s fun!

But… Is Reminiscence Therapy a Good Fit for ME?

The answer is a resounding YES!  Reminiscence Therapy is good for EVERYONE and can be used with anyone!  After all, everyone has a story – even if you don’t think so.  Your life is like a book with many chapters, and your life experiences are worth sharing.  No one on this planet is exactly like you – no one has lived the life you have lived.  As you share and recall your stories, many wonderful memories will come flooding back.  Conversely, there are times when memories can be difficult or even painful.  The key is to share these moments with an engaged and attentive listener, someone who can help you frame these events as one part of the larger picture of your life. 

How Does It Work?

It all starts with a question… but often not the question you would normally think to ask!  Reminiscence Therapy goes far beyond the weather, your local sports team, or what you’d like for dinner.  Engagement is key when it comes to RT.  When you are discussing the important details of your life, the listener needs to maintain a positive attitude and exhibit a genuine interest in hearing more about this amazing person in front of them.  Asking open-ended questions and utilizing personal mementos (photographs, keepsakes, etc.) makes the conversation more productive.   Reminiscence Therapy may be conducted in one-on-one sessions or in a group setting.  It is most important to discover what is most comfortable for the person sharing.  Feeling completely free to be open and honest – and even somewhat vulnerable – is key to a successful session.

I Want to Connect on a Deeper Level

If you are seeking to assist a patient or resident, or if you simply want to get to know a loved one on a deeper level, Reminiscence Therapy is the perfect tool.  You may think that you know all there is to know about this person – but do you really?  Reminiscence Therapy is learning the difference between:

I grew up during the Depression.

Versus:

I was born in 1934.  As a child, I never knew that we were poor.  We had everything we needed – we grew our own vegetables and chickens, and we had bees, too.  There was a grape arbor in the lot next door.  My family was so loving, plus the whole neighborhood was in the same boat we were!  Everyone looked out for one another, and because of that, I felt rich!

Digging deeper provides a more poignant, complex version of the same story, and these specific and unique details bring back the memories in technicolor detail to the storyteller.  Feeling acknowledged in this manner leads to greater cooperation, and a deeper bond.

Utilizing Reminiscence Therapy in Special Circumstances

Reminiscence Therapy is an especially potent tool when assisting persons with memory loss or dementia.  This population may have a difficult time recalling a conversation they had just this morning, but ask about a specific event from their past, and you will likely hear a very vivid tale recalled with loving precision.  Knowing this information assists you in knowing what is important to this person – or conversely what might be a “hot button” topic to be avoided.  In this type of care setting, you want to provide your loved one or resident with the best possible quality of life.  Understanding them and how they became the person they are can assist you in creating a person-centered care plan based on what matters most to them.

I’m Interested – Where Do I Begin?

Help is available for communities and individuals seeking to learn more and utilize Reminiscence Therapy.  For over 15 years, www.LifeBio.com has been the industry leader in capturing and sharing life stories.  With products ranging from journals, an on-line platform, and interviews with personal biographers, LifeBio has the right tool to assist you in developing your own Reminiscence Therapy program.  LifeBio captures life stories – promoting deep engagement, igniting feelings of purpose, reducing loneliness, and increasing emotional and spiritual wellbeing.  Story is a powerful connector, and EVERYONE benefits when each unique story is known and utilized.  LifeBio has options that are ideal for individuals, CCRCs, assisted living/memory care, long-term care providers, hospice, home care, adult day centers, hospitals, wellness centers, university programs, and more. 

Contact us to learn more:  

1-937-303-4576

Monday, July 10, 2017

Reminiscence Therapy in Action in Senior Living and Nursing Homes

        LIFEBIO           
Reminiscence Therapy in Action

Take Advantage of LifeBio in All Areas of Campus

Reminiscence Therapy increases happiness and satisfaction with life, as evidence from LifeBio's study with Iowa State University proved. LifeBio also increases feelings of purpose and meaning. Interestingly, a recent Harvard study found that increased purpose reduces hospitalizations. Lessening loneliness also has major health benefits.

Here are ways that LifeBio adapts to various areas:  

SKILLED NURSING - Do you wish you had more volunteers engaged with your residents? College students are getting credit at Youngstown State University for working with residents at Park Vista, an Ohio Living community. This next semester over 30 students will be engaged there!    VOLUNTEERS ENGAGED IN REMINISCENCE THERAPY

Person-Centered Care Planning (483.21) – LifeBio’s 1-page profiles (Life Story Summaries) become the first page of the care plan, while increasing respect and dignity (Resident Rights 483.10). The "Story" belongs in the EHR, and LifeBio makes sure this is rich, accurate, and complete. Our Story Team ensures a professional, finished bio for each participant for photos and stories. For memory care, the new behavioral health regulation (483.40) is specific to personalizing care for people with dementia, while reducing drug use.    

MEMORY CARE - LifeBio's Personal Biographers interview family members of your memory care residents by phone (a permission/referral form is signed to initiate this). We spend approximately 45 minutes digging in to learn the deeper information about the person's school, work, family, accomplishments, and more. Personalize care plans by knowing more about the person's past likes and interests, while understanding more to reduce stress and misunderstandings. Nursing staff can SEE and USE the 1-page Life Story Summary in a beautiful and professional way, and the resident receives their own Life Story Book. Deliver on brand promises to deeply know each person's background and unique life story.  MemoryBio is also provided as a photo-based way (200 photos and simple questions) to engage people with dementia. 

ASSISTED LIVING - Whether it is a phone interview with one of LifeBio's Personal Biographers or a small group LifeBio class, assisted living residents love Reminiscence Therapy, telling their amazing life stories, and creating a lasting legacy. This is an excellent time to learn more about neighbors and become closer friends.  Check out the results from St. John's in Rochester, New York! Notice that they open up their LifeBio class to the community at large!  125 PEOPLE HAVE TAKEN THE CLASS SO FAR! READ MORE 

INDEPENDENT LIVING / WELLNESS INITIATIVES - Tech savvy independent living residents are setting up their own LifeBio web/app accounts as a result of the LifeBio program and working independently on their own stories (video recording in the iOS app).  In some communities, 6-12 week LifeBio 101 classes "kickstart" the biography process and build relationships, like a current engaging, fascinating class happening at Moorings Park in Naples, Florida. After the group class, LifeBio's Story Team works with the community and resident to FINISH the person's Life Story Book in a beautiful and professional way.  

Reminiscence Therapy supports ALL dimensions of wellbeing, especially emotional, vocational, intellectual, social, and spiritual wellbeing. 

In campuses with multiple areas of care, it makes sense to have the story FOLLOW the person through the years, making new memories as each day is a new adventure! 

Love to connect!  Please call LifeBio at 937-303-4576 or email info@lifebio.com.  Ready to bring LifeBio to your community/organization?          

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Friday, July 07, 2017

Music Therapy and LifeBio Reminiscence Therapy - A Lovely Pairing!




Reminiscence Therapy

Board Certified Music Therapist Natalie Spencer
uses the LifeBio Story Journal in sessions with her students
to connect on a deeper level.

Today’s story comes to us courtesy of Board Certified Music Therapist Natalie Spencer of Moorings Park.  Natalie found that she was having challenges coming up with ideas to stimulate meaningful conversation with some of her participants during their sessions.  She mentioned this to the Director of Wellness, Celeste Lynch, who suggested that Natalie consider using the LifeBio Reminiscence Therapy program with her Music Therapy sessions. 

Natalie shares…  LifeBio and Music Therapy have been a lovely pairing!  Together, LifeBio and Music Therapy are not only providing needed cognitive stimulation and healthy socialization opportunities, but also allowing opportunities for success and pride in accomplishments.  Using the music to validate shared memories and experiences has proven to be really poignant. Sometimes hearing an ‘old song’ will elicit memories that the person hasn’t thought of or had the chance to share for a long time.

The way that the LifeBio booklet is laid out makes life review and reminiscence very straight-forward and simple, which pairs quite well with Music Therapy for cognitive stimulation and maintenance of memory. I have started using the LifeBio booklet with three independent living residents at Moorings Park so far and everyone seems to be enjoying the process! I think it will be an extra special treat once we finish our sessions and they are able to have a finished copy of their life story; it’s a beautiful way to validate experiences, and adding the music for additional stimulation and support has worked beautifully!”

Recently, Natalie worked with resident Rose L.  Here is her story:

“My name is Rose. I am the very loving daughter in a close-knit Italian family from Massachusetts. My father bravely moved to America when he was 17 to seek a better life and eventually became a landlord and a tailor.  After the tragic and unexpected death of my mother while I was a teen, my father and I relied on each other to find comfort, and to learn how to cook and maintain the household for ourselves.  I met my husband (with whom my father was very pleased!), and we are still married to this day.


Rose and her husband on their wedding day.

We are now the proud parents of two sons, and the proud grandparents of two grandsons.  These days my husband and I reside in Naples, Florida, where we are both happily involved in many exercise-based and social eventsincluding the Music Therapy program led by Natalie Spencer!”  -- Rose L.

WOW!  We here at LifeBio are so honored and humbled every day as we help people tell their stories.  It is such a privilege to us to help both individuals and communities SHARE WHAT MATTERS MOST.

Are you ready to tell YOUR story?  Interested in learning more about using LifeBio for your family or in a community setting?  Contact us! 

1-937-303-4576


#LifeBio #MooringsPark #MusicTherapy #RealStoriesofAmerica #sharewithus #lifebiostories #music #story #ShareWhatMatters #ReminiscenceTherapy #RT

Friday, June 23, 2017

Keys to Succesful Communication in Dementia Care


Dementia Changes People

Your loved one or resident is changing.  Your once gregarious, “life of the party” spouse is now reticent and restrained.  Your college educated, thoughtful father is now forgetful and impulsive.  And – perhaps the hardest situation of all – your once gentle and caring mother has begun to angrily lash out at caregivers, friends, and even family.  The manner in which you once communicated with these individuals is no longer effective.  Comprehensive dementia care must consist of a new, inclusive way to share information with those individuals with Alzheimer’s and other memory affective disorders.

It’s Important To Stay Positive

One of the basic tenets of interacting with people with dementia is to stay positive.  This can be hard!  Your resident or loved one may feel anxious or unsure of themselves or their surroundings.  However, it is important that you stay calm and be as reassuring as you can.  One way of doing this is to have a handful of topics at the ready that you know the individual finds to be soothing.  Talking about a favorite vacation, a beloved pet, or a special collection can help keep the conversation low key and pleasant for everyone.  Remember, touchpoints for this person are likely founded on events from their past, so knowing these details can be especially helpful.

KISS = Keep It Simple!

Persons with dementia are easily distracted – a blaring television or radio, loud noises from the hallway or another room, even traffic outside can often derail a conversation.  Whenever possible, limit as many of these distractions as you can.  Try to interact in as quiet an environment as possible.  Speak slowly and clearly.  Use your resident or loved one’s name often.  When you talk, keep your voice level and do not yell or shout.  Use specific place and people names to ground the conversation and help keep the focus on the topic at hand.  

The Five Senses Approach

When communicating with a person with dementia, it can help to have non-verbal props to assist you.  Personal items, pictures, or photographs can be shown to the individual to refresh memories.  A special playlist comprised of a favorite musician or a preferred musical genre can help you break through the communication barrier.   The use of a therapy animal (real or mechanical) appeals to the need to touch or stroke an object.  Even the sense of smell can be extremely evocative!  A favorite perfume or aftershave, or even a fragrant bouquet, can revive long-lost stories and act as a great conversation starter.

Building a Dementia Care Tool Kit

An effective dementia care plan should include a wide variety of tools.  Activities can help your resident or loved one to enjoy doing or talking about things from their past that continue to give them joy.  Look for opportunities for the individual to be of assistance – tasks such as sweeping or vacuuming can make them still feel useful and give them purpose.  Tending to a garden can be relaxing and fulfill a desire to be out-of-doors.  Using prompting memory cards or creating an autobiography can create a sense of personal accomplishment, while also crafting a legacy to share with friends, family, and caregivers.  

Success!

Be patient with your resident or loved one, and use your “listening ears.”  Give them time to form an answer.  Accept their responses and do not try to correct them or convince them that they are wrong.  Facts and figures may be confused or jumbled in their mind, and focusing on who is “right” can be upsetting.  To truly be successful when caring for a person with dementia, you must dig in and discover what is most meaningful to the individual.  When you know the person deeply, genuine and meaningful conversation results, supporting the individual’s care and well-being in a nurturing, holistic way.  Remember to relax and enjoy your conversation.  It should be a pleasurable experience for both of you – and that’s a true win-win for everyone involved! 

To learn more about all of the dementia care products 
offered by LifeBio, please visit us online here, email us, or call 1-937-303-4576

Friday, June 16, 2017

Front Porch Leads the Pack in Innovation!

LIFEBIO HELPS PEOPLE... AND SENIOR COMMUNITIES!

For over a decade, www.LifeBio.com has helped tens of thousands of people tell their life stories using our online platform, which guides the user through a series of biographical questions, then allows the individual to create his or her very own book.  In addition to serving the consumer, however, it has been the great privilege of LifeBio to assist senior living communities across the nation capture and preserve the biographical information of their residents, which staff and volunteers can use to focus their person-centered care plans to meet the unique needs of each individual.  

FRONT PORCH KICKS IT UP A NOTCH...

Recently, LifeBio received some feedback from Front Porch (www.frontporch.net) explaining how they used the LifeBio tool kit in an entirely new and innovative way!  Project Specialist Julie Santos from the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing (FPCIW) shared the following:

Today we had our employee appreciation event. As a nice touch, we incorporated LifeBio Story Cards around the table to enable some engaging conversations we normally would not have with our colleagues. At our table, for example, we had conversations about vacations. Following that we had a question about gardening, and we stuck with that topic for a while. 

Then, the conversation turned around when someone talked about how her neighborhood growing up used to be an olive grove. I also heard feedback from another table. They had conversations about their favorite memories of their siblings. There was plenty of chatter in the room!

TAKE A LOOK FOR YOURSELF:

Julie also shared these beautiful photos from the day’s events, and the attention to detail that was put into making the occasion extra special for everyone involved is evident:





WE CALL IT "SHARING DEEPLY"

What a wonderful and creative way to get to know the people you work with!  After all, you SHARE over forty hours per week with these folks.  Shouldn’t you get to know them? 

www.LifeBio.com applauds the network of Front Porch communities for thinking outside the box – and for deeply sharing not just with their residents, but with one another, too! 

LEARN MORE:


For more information about www.LifeBio, our products and services, please contact us at:

Or call 1-866-543-3246
Or visit www.lifebio.com