Virtual Book Club For Dementia Caregivers Launches!

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In partnership with Hilarity For Charity and Oasis Senior Advisors, Cruising Through Caregiving’s Virtual Book Club session for dementia caregivers is below.  During this first episode we talk about the Chapter One of Cruising Through Caregiving called “Caregiving 101.”

What’s a primary caregiver and how is that person like the captain of a ship?  How can secondary and tertiary caregivers lighten the load of the primary caregiver?  What do you do when you make a “mistake” as a caregiver?  We cover that and more on this session!  Click here for the replay:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLg3pcgWyEPY9VdBxI16KjcfRw32F0ZfTx

To sign up for the next 14 sessions click here:  www.cruisingthroughcaregiving.com!

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Enjoying Great Food, Endless Waterfront Views & Education On Kent Island! – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, MSW, LCSW-C, CSP

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I love living on Kent Island!  The air just feels lighter on this side of the Bay Bridge!  Since there are rarely conferences and opportunities for continuing education in Queen Anne’s County, Maryland, I decided it would be fun to offer some programs for health, mental health and financial professionals close to home this year.

This week launches Jenerations Health Education’s first full day of 2019 CE education for professionals (Thursday, April 18) at the Holiday Inn Express in Grasonville.  We will follow that up with two more events on Thursday, June 20.  Then this fall we’ll wrap up the series with two more Thursday sessions, on September 19 and October 17.

For those visiting from the Lower Shore, the “other” side of the Bridge or from out of state, here is a list of my favorite restaurants and hangouts for lunchtime on our event days.  There are also suggestions for breakfast, dinner, and live entertainment if you are spending the night!

Walkable From Holiday Inn Express On A Nice Day (Or A Very Quick Drive):

Annie’s https://www.annies.biz/  Our sponsor Compass Regional Hospice has their gala here each year and they do a phenomenal job!  Delicious seafood, steak, sandwiches and huge fresh salads.  My husband Sean and I especially love the French dip (mushrooms instead of onions), burgers and the Cobb Salad.

Red Eye’s Dock Bar  https://redeyedockbar.com/  Great music on the water.  Terrific crab dip!  Please note: they don’t open until May 5.

Fisherman’s https://fishermansinn.com/ Awesome seafood.  Great sandwiches.  My favorite entree: Stuffed rockfish with baked potato.  We’ve never introduced the Gorgonzola Cheese Skins to someone who didn’t love them.

Jetty Dock Bar http://www.jettydockbar.com/  Beautiful water views, live music, good pub food.

Bridge’s https://www.bridgesrestaurant.net/ Spectacular water views and lovely outdoor seating.  Amazing pizzas.  The Seafood Club, The Rachel Sandwich and The Smash Burger rock!

Big Owl Dock Bar  https://thebigowl.com/  Gorgeous sunsets, live music.  Great Boardwalk fries.

Harris Crab House  https://harriscrabhouse.com/  I’m originally from Philly so I never got the hang of picking crabs.  But our friends love this place if that’s what you’re into.  But Sean and I are big fans of their enormous homemade Nutty Buddie icecream cones.

Quick Drive From Holiday Inn Express (in order from closest to hotel to furthest away):

Adam’s Grille http://www.adamsgrillekentisland.com/  Delicious barbeque—my favorite meal is chicken with baked sweet potato.  Sean and I love the brisket nachos too.

Bada Bean http://www.badabeanki.com/  If you want breakfast or a fancy coffee  before the morning events, this is a cozy spot.  Breakfast sandwiches and acai bowls.  They also have amazing lunch sandwiches and salads.

Carmine’s http://www.carminesnypizzakitchen.net/menu.html  Great place to get a quick slice of pizza.

Fields of Heather https://fieldsofheatherbakery.com/ Lovely little bakery where doughnuts, pastries and breakfast sandwiches are homemade.

Pour House Pub http://www.pourhousepubki.com/menu.html  Great staff and pub food.  If you are staying local in town the evening before our events, they have trivia on Wednesday nights.  Caesar salad, Pot Roast sandwich and Chicken & Waffles are our favorite items.

Café Sado  https://www.cafesado.com/ is a favorite of our friends who love sushi.  We aren’t big sushi eaters but the Thai food is quite good too.  The fried icecream is amazing.

Rustico  http://www.rusticoonline.com/  This is in “downtown” Stevensville.  If you go here for lunch, you also can check out a few local shops.  They typically have live music on Wednesday and Thursday evenings if you are staying in town for our events.  My favorite items include the Zuppa di Tortellini, Antipasto Misti and the Gigantic Meatball.

Restaurants at The Inn https://www.baybeachclub.com/the-inn .  A few years ago, a rustic but fancy hotel landed on Kent Island.  Along with it came two good restaurants.  One is Knoxie’s Table (upscale dinner) and the other is The Market (casual breakfast and lunch).  It is a beautiful property with a relaxing outdoor firepit area where you can eat food purchased from The Market.

Luke’s Grille http://www.lukesgrille.com/ Awesome pub food.  Great sandwiches, especially the chicken cordon bleu.

Well, there you have it—some great dining options for you to enjoy while you earn CE credits on Kent Island!  We are grateful to the sponsorship provided by Bright Star Senior Care, Compass Regional Hospice, Hearfields and Somerford Place of Annapolis.  Looking forward to seeing you soon and I hope you enjoy Kent Island as much as I do!

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Who’s The Captain? Why Reason & Logic Fail With Little Kids…And Dementia Patients – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, MSW, LCSW-C, CSP

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“I’m the Captain,” declared my 3-year old nephew Enzo as soon as he boarded our boat on a warm autumn day last fall.  Wearing the captain’s hat his mother had purchased for him on Amazon.com, he purposefully strode to the captain’s seat.  When he noticed our family’s amusement at his audacity, he looked directly at us and repeated, “I’m the Captain.  I am.” 

Obviously when my husband was ready to launch the boat we needed Enzo to move.  But did we sit him down and logically explain to him that he was not the Captain?  No.  We told Enzo that it was Uncle Sean’s turn to drive the boat and that he could have a turn later.  Enzo considered the statement, resisted briefly and then reluctantly moved to sit with his parents and cousins.

Could we have attempted to reason with Enzo?  Sure.  Would it have done any good?  Probably not.  I can only imagine how explaining to a 3-year old that he did not have the credentials to launch a 34-foot cruiser.  It probably would have gone over as well as trying to reason with someone who has advanced dementia.

People who suffer with advanced dementia are adults.  They are grown-ups who have lived full lives and are most certainly not children.  But as Alzheimer’s disease (or any other dementia) progresses, their ability to reason is comparable to a small child’s.

Nobody tried to reason with Enzo because we understood that he didn’t have the capacity to understand he lacked the skills to captain a boat.  But why is it that the same people who wouldn’t attempt to reason with a child try to do so with someone with dementia?

Countless times I have witnessed well-meaning, intelligent people try to “remind” their loved one with dementia that she is no longer allowed to drive.  Or that he has already eaten dinner.  Or that it is winter when their loved one is convinced that it’s summer.  And I can see why.  Dementia is tricky. 

There might be a moment in the day that Mom will remember that she is not supposed to drive.  But as the disease progresses, no amount of arguing, rationalizing, reasoning or logic will convince Mom that her doctor told her to stop driving.

Tell Mom you feel like driving today rather than reminding her that she is unsafe behind the wheel.   Just as it wouldn’t have been productive to tell Enzo he’s not qualified to be a boat captain, it wouldn’t be productive to tell Mom the whole family is afraid of her driving.

Treat your older loved one who has dementia with dignity because he’s an adult.  But remember that his capacity to understand logic and reason is often child-like.   

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Should You Ever Reason With Someone Who Has Dementia? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Most of us want to reason with someone when they don’t understand us.  We want to present our case.  Explain the facts.  Caregivers do this all the time when someone they love has dementia.  Is it ever ok?

Check out Jen’s video on this topic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlD4SEAbhlA&t=67s

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

How Do You Break Unhealthy Promises? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Most people don’t make promises with the plan to ever break them. But with good intentions, many caregivers often make promises to their older loved ones that are difficult, if not impossible, to keep. Such promises include statements like:

I will never … put you in a nursing home.
I will never … let strangers take care of you.
I will never … move you out of your home.

Caregivers take such promises seriously. But it’s important that caregivers make peace with the fact that they may not be able to keep these promises indefinitely. When promises like these are made, the caregiver typically doesn’t know what he or she is truly agreeing to. The caregiver had every intention to keep this promise but circumstances changed.

Maybe your older loved one’s dementia is so advanced that she is wandering out of the house each day, putting herself at risk. Since you can’t have your eyes on her at all times, 24/7 supervision at a senior living community or nursing home may need to be considered.

Maybe helping your older loved one bathe after his stroke is becoming too physically demanding for you. In this case, perhaps a home care agency can help. You may resist taking these options into account because of the earlier vow you made to your loved one.

So what do you do if keeping that earlier promise is becoming impossible?

If your loved one does not have memory loss, explain why you are changing course: What have the consequences been to your life by keeping this promise? For example, you may explain to your older loved one that because you are spending so much time helping out at his house, you have been late to work five times in the past month. Then you can discuss options such as hiring home care, a housekeeper or arranging to have meals delivered.

Frequently older loved ones will not be happy with changes they did not initiate, but the caregiver must set such boundaries to avoid burnout. In addition, many older adults do not want to impose on their family members so they will try to understand.

If you have already made a promise and your loved one has cognitive impairment, you may not be able to have a conversation where you can reason with him or her and discuss how the circumstances have changed. But it’s still important to let yourself off the hook. Talk to a geriatric care manager, a psychotherapist, your spiritual advisor or a supportive friend to deal with your guilt. Give yourself permission to reframe your earlier pledge.

Most people, especially older adults, want to remain at home without assistance for the rest of their lives. In an effort to make this dream come true, caregivers struggle with negative emotional, spiritual and physical consequences of trying to honor their loved ones’ wishes at any cost.

While it is admirable for caregivers to respect their loved ones’ preferences, it is critical to understand that many promises cannot and should not be upheld in many care situations. In order to be healthy themselves and provide the best care for their loved ones, caregivers must make peace with the fact that keeping earlier promises is often unmanageable.

If you haven’t made such a specific promise to an older loved one you are caring for, resist. Don’t do it. Instead say, “I will make sure you have the best care I can afford.” Or, “I will keep you at home as long as it is safe for everyone involved.”

While it can be very upsetting to both the caregiver and older loved one, often revisiting caregiving promises is essential. Further, sometimes even breaking those promises is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of both the caregiver and the older adult.

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.