About Tamara

Hi, welcome to My Dementia Digest!

A Bit About Me…

I’ve always been drawn to older adults–I love hearing their life stories and learning from their experience and wisdom. It’s easy for me to just walk up to a senior stranger and start a conversation.

My career with older adults began in 1978 as a nurse’s aide. Through the years, I’ve worked in skilled and assisted living, hospital, private, retirement, adult day care, home health, and hospice settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I earned my Master of Science degree in Human Services Gerontology. Currently, I serve as a memory care director in an assisted living facility.

My dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008; he lived until 2013. My mom took care of him at home. As the oldest child in a large family, responsibilities to lead and cope were made easier for me as a result of a career I absolutely love and my advanced education.

Why Create My Dementia Digest…

The sad fact is that, dementia affects people everywhere. The numbers of cases are rising at a fast rate due to Baby Boomers aging.

I use the term “dementia” because it is the umbrella term for different types of cognitive impairment:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Frontotemporal
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff
  • Mixed dementia
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Other (people with multiple sclerosis can develop dementia, as can those with HIV and  Down’s syndrome).

Dealing with dementia can be stressful and overwhelming at times. Informal (family/friend) caregivers provide 24/7 services, often at the expense of their own health. Formal caregivers also work long hours and care for multiple residents. I understand the frustrations of both informal and formal caregiving, and for the need of good advice and supports.

Caring for someone with dementia can also be rewarding–a majority of my experiences are very positive. And I can’t see myself working anywhere else.

There are various hats I wear each day and I love them all. My duties depend on the time of day, situation, specific resident, family member, and or need. I serve as staff recruiter, trainer and mentor, manager, teacher, activity coordinator, bus driver, housekeeper, server, advocate, resource specialist, caregiver, and friend.

I believe that the personal experiences and lessons I’ve learned from working in these roles will help others to:

  • Redirect
  • Communicate
  • Engage in interesting and worthwhile activities
  • Reminisce
  • Understand common dementia behaviors
  • Use music, pet, doll therapies
  • Maintain rights, dignity and privacy
  • Care for self (stress relief, respite) to reduce burnout/health issues
  • Find appropriate incontinent supplies and medical equipment
  • Prepare good and nutritious meals and snacks
  • Assist with good hygiene habits
  • Plan for holidays, traveling, family traditions
  • Safe-proof living environment
  • Understand medication and treatment options
  • Get legal documents in order

Why Create a Store…

I want to provide pictures, info and links to many of the items I’ve found useful in my dementia journey.  You’ll find caregiver resources, books, puzzles, games, music, stuffed animals, dolls, aromatherapy, clothing, incontinence supplies, equipment, and more!

The purpose of this website…

My goal is to enhance the quality of life for all those dealing with dementia–the individual with dementia as well as caregivers, family members, friends, and communities–by creating a safe and honest place to share information, opinions, solutions, questions, and comments with each other.

So, how is quality of life defined? There are many definitions. This one works nicely:

Quality of life is the general well-being of individuals and societies, outlining negative and positive features of life. It observes life satisfaction, including everything from physical health, family, education, employment, wealth, safety, security to freedom, religious beliefs, and the environment.

My passion for creating and sustaining a positive life experience for individuals with dementia, along with their caregiver(s) and family members, has been a life-long quest. I truly love what I do and want to help others in any way that I can.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All My Very Best,

Tamara

 

 

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