Merrily Orsini's Thought Leadership

The Alzheimer’s Whisperer in Home Care

Communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s is difficult, at best, but Dr. Verna Benner Carson teaches, experientially, how to do just that. Attendees at the Private Duty HomeCare Association of America conference in Long Beach, CA were visibly  emotionally moved with two clips on working with someone who has Alzheimers.

The first is a song by Brett Ethridge about Raymond, the maintenance man at a memory care facility,  who one of the residents thought was her son. That “getting inside the life” of the Alzheimer’s patient was one theme of Dr. Carson’s talk, and no more powerful way to understand that than to see the interaction of the maintenance man with the patient.  It is copywrited, so cannot show it here, but there is a link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txCUwSKo1kg&ob=av3el

The second example was music, and Naomi Feil, an icon in validation therapy, brings a 3rd stage Alzheimer’s patient into interaction through singing and touch. This powerful and moving video is proof that even at end stages of this degenerative disease, breakthroughs are possible if the caregiver gets inside the lives of the patient. For some reason I cannot embed this video, but here is a link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrZXz10FcVM

Retrogenesis is a controversial topic, but it is just one method of working with Alzheimer’s patients, and those who care for someone with Alzheimer’s should have many tools in their tool boxes, and whatever works best is what should get used. The goal is quality patient care and Dr. Carson certainly can teach how to communicate with those who have Alzheimer’s.