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.

Working With Difficult Colleagues: The 4 R’s And Other Resources – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Last week I had the pleasure of presenting Complicated Colleagues and Maddening Managers: How to Cope and Collaborate with Provocative People at the Virginia Assisted Living Association’s Annual Conference. Working with persons who possess strong personality disorder traits is challenging but there are ways to get along with them while providing great service to your customers. You just have to apply the 4 R’s T that we discussed: Recognize, Restrict, Reduce & Release!

Many attendees from the conference–senior living executive directors and regional/corporate staff from senior living organizations–requested a reading list. All of these books offer insight on how to better collaborate with provocative colleagues in your workplace!

I hope you enjoy these resources. And if you think a presentation on Complicated Colleagues and Maddening Managers: How to Cope and Collaborate with Provocative People would help your workplace, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Jenerations Health Education!

Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified (Friedel)
Borderline Personality Disorder: New Reasons For Hope (Mondimore)
Disarming The Narcissist (Behary)
DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association)
Splitting (Kreger & Eddy)
The Gift of Fear (De Becker)
The Mirror Effect (Pinsky)
The Narcissist Next Door (Kluger)
The No Asshole Rule (Sutton)
The Wisdom of Psychopaths (Dutton)
5 Types of People Who Can Ruin Your Life (Eddy)

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.

What Party Planning Can Teach Us About Caregiving – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Most caregivers are reluctant to ask for help from others.  Many don’t want to burden family or friends.  Others just don’t like asking for help.  Some caregivers even believe that nobody else is qualified to help.  But building a team of caregivers is crucial, not just for avoiding burnout but also to give your loved one the best quality of life possible.  Who are you excluding from the caregiving experience?

Check out Jen’s story about what we can learn about caregiver support from planning a baby shower:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da-mFVZUB9g

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 Reframing The Way You Look At Caregiving Can Reduce Your Stress – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Most people who are caregiving for a loved one feel like they don’t have a choice.  They made a vow when they got married to take care of their spouse in sickness and health.  They say there’s nobody else who would provide care for this person.  They would feel guilty if they didn’t serve as a caregiver.  But what if you looked at caregiving as a choice you are making?

Check out Jen’s latest video on how changing the way you look at caregiving can help you reduce stress:

 

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.

Entrepreneurs Who Are Also Family Caregivers Series – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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This article is the first in a five-part series about successful entrepreneurs who are crushing it in their businesses but also managing the tremendous additional challenge of caring for a loved one.

4 Ways To Balance Business And Caregiving From A Savvy Female Entrepreneur

Leadership and motivational speaker Pegine Echevarria, CSP, MSW (www.pegine.com), an entrepreneur, found herself caregiving for her mother over the last several years. Here’s what working caregivers—particularly business owners—can learn from Pegine’s experience:

  1. Look for windows of “downtime.” Pegine takes advantage of the fact that social media posts can be done anywhere. Pegine’s social media efforts often lead to media interviews. While much of caregiving is hands-on and must be done with your full attention, there are periods of “downtime” as a caregiver. Social media posts can be done while in the waiting room of a doctor’s office or when you are on hold with an insurance company. Consider where your “downtime” as a caregiver is and try to be productive during that window.
  2. Work smarter, not harder. Pegine decided to focus more strategically on working with fewer, better-paying clients. In what way can you as a business owner work smarter instead of harder? Do you need to set better boundaries with your staff or customers? Do you need to charge more so you can work less?
  3. Invest in some quality paid caregiving help. Just as business owners rely on staff and contractors, working caregivers need to outsource too! Pegine recommends communicating regularly and honestly with those paid helpers. Of the assisted living staff who now take care of her mother, she says, “I think of them as part of the team.”
  4. Limit activities not absolutely essential to building your business, providing good care to your loved one, or taking care of yourself. Several years ago, Pegine made the difficult decision to resign from the National Speakers Association (NSA) National Board of Directors. “Hard, really hard decision and the right one,” she says about this choice. Sometimes as successful business owners who are also working caregivers we need to make hard choices to put some activities on hold. What do you need to let go from your schedule?

Check back next week for another article about an inspirational business owner who is also a working caregiver!

 

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.