Yesterday we gathered at Alzheimer's Association NY Chapter on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan for our graduation ceremony and party! What a journey it's been so far. It may sound strange, but taking this dementia care course and developing my StoriesLoveMusic program feels similar to when i trained to earn my black belt in Hapkido. Going through something very intense and coming out the other side feeling stronger and more clear headed.
I received so much valuable information which i will apply to the music program i am creating AND i met an amazing group of people. Hearing the care givers stories about taking care of people with dementia was very powerful. Their work can be hard and depressing. However, when the focus shifts to giving someone a life of DIGNITY and using truth and humor to do it, it's more inspiring than depressing. The bottom line is, when you are with someone with Dementia, CONNECT with that person, make them feel SEEN AND HEARD. Creativity and Imagination are vital to them, it's a life line to they are.
I remember one of the only times i had a natal chart reading with an astrologer/psychic and she told me my destiny was to always USE MY VOICE TO BE OF SERVICE.
Throughout my life i have created different things with my voice, that have been fulfilling : creating performances for television, radio, films, audio books, music albums etc. After Hurricane Sandy, when James and I visited performed music for a shelter set up for displaced, homeless seniors; i thought, is this how we are treating the elders in our society? Are we valuing them? Are we doing enough to make them feel seen and heard? And i was off to the races, using my voice to be of service. My Call to Action to you? What gifts do you have that you can share with those in need? How can you be of service?
Stay tuned for some blogs on some events i am leading at Alzheimer's Facilities. I will post some triumphs and frustrations so you can learn along with me! Thanks for Reading, ~Ilyana
I just completed my last Dementia Care class at Alzheimer's Association this week and we have graduation next week! I wholeheartedly recommend this association and their classes, they are an AMAZING resource. They have chapters all over the country and educate both families and care givers of people with dementia.
The instructor trainer, Nancy Hendley is amazing and my class mates are a special group of human beings. This last class we talk about the importance of:
Opening your view of dementia with COMPASSION.
Working with someone with dementia keep their ALIVENESS going.
You CONNECT with them by allowing their PASSIONS and interests to be taken seriously. Use your IMAGINATION to spark theirs.
See and relate to them SOUL to SOUL and you will be more in sync with them, as opposed to trying to force them to be where you want them to be.
This month i have several STORIES LOVE MUSIC events and will blog here as I apply what I am learning!
Thanks for Reading and as always love to hear from you,
What i am learning, is that people with Dementia live in that place, the place that is the moment of the HERE AND NOW. And when you are with them, spending time with them, they lead you to this place. They want you to be in the moment of here and now with them. So the biggest piece of knowledge i have received so far is, BE THERE IN THE MOMENT WITH THEM. They demand you live in TRUTH and they can see when you are not. Interestingly the teacher of this course spends alot of time telling the care givers that SELF CARE is the KEY. Incredibly she brings in Massage Therapists, Music Therapists, Yoga and Meditation instructors; all to allow us the care givers, to value SELF CARE, which is vital to release TENSION and EMOTIONAL blocks, to FREE the voice and body, to CENTER the mind. All which bring us to the PRESENT MOMENT we speak of with CALMNESS and GRACE, which allows you to meet the person with Dimentia in the present moment and allows a TRUE CONNECTION with them there. This is a brilliant connection for her to make, as so many of these care givers are so WORN OUT and when their person with Dimentia is agitated and not making sense to them, they have nothing left to bring themselves to where they need to be, in the MOMENT.
"Music is a life line to those with Dementia" , Yup that's why I am doing this.
Thanks for reading and love to hear from you about your experiences,
Executive Director of Stories Love Music, Singer, Story Teller, Coach and Activist.