The Best Approach When Caring for a Person with Dementia

The DAWN theory by Judy Cornish is very valuable for anyone caring for a person with dementia. I love this thought process it is very similar to my own and it is why I am driven in this journey to bring peace and joy to all those around me.  On a selfish side, it will bring joy and contentment to me.

Sometimes while we care for others, without thinking about what our actions are doing, we bring stress and anxiety to all parties involved. We tend to focus, naturally, on how things are going downhill and what the one we love is losing and what we personally are losing. We try to jog their memory or get them to do the “rational thing” and get things back to normal.   If we change our thought process and focus on dementia more as a human process instead of a medical process, we can take away the stress and bring more joy into our journey.

Remember to focus on the strengths that they do have.  We have 6 cognitive processes listed below.

Rational Thought Intuitive Thought
Remembering Self

(term used by Daniel Kahneman)

Experiential Self
Mindfulness Mindlessness

When dementia sets in we lose the three skill sets on the left, rational thought, remembering self and mindfulness.  If we focus on the right side and be aware of the 3 cognitive processes they do have, we can enhance their strengths and increase joy.

The intuitive thought-the way we enjoy beauty, experiential self- how we utilize our 5 senses, and mindlessness- skills that use muscle memory if we keep them in the same place. For example, make coffee or take a bath or go to the bathroom. When we focus on the can do’s then stress is reduced, and happiness takes its place. As we become more confident and secure in what we do, the one you care for will feel more confident and secure as well. If you want more information and the breakdown of these cognitive processes, this ted talk by Judy is great

Here is to continue with joy!