trees by a country road

Don’t Move Them—Let Them Use Mindlessness

Ellen Langer has been writing about the value of mindfulness for over 35 years. I read her book Mindfulness in the early 1990s. I still have my copy. In it, she points out the tremendous influence context has on our perception of something’s value. She gives the example of heroin, something we consider intrinsically bad, … Read more

Pink Blossoms in the Rain | the DAWN Method

Dementia Behaviors Aren’t the Problem—It’s the Emotions That Cause Them

The stress caused by dementia-related behaviors Anyone who has spent time with someone experiencing dementia knows that dealing with dementia behaviors (or Alzheimer’s behaviors) causes tremendous stress. For families caring for someone with dementia at home, caregiving is in itself debilitating because of round-the-clock demands and the difficulty of finding someone who can step in … Read more

purple iris flowers | the DAWN Method

Anosognosia—When People Don’t Realize They’re Impaired

What to do when a parent with dementia refuses help People who have dementia often refuse care. We misjudge the situation if we assume that they are being difficult or are in denial. Often it is because they simply have become unable to be aware of their impairments—in part due to their loss of rational … Read more

fence and trees with snow | the DAWN Method

How to Enable Choice, Not Restrict it.

People experiencing dementia are losing the ability to use recall, which, when combined with rational thought loss, makes decision-making increasingly difficult. To make a choice, we must first bring to mind the available options. Next, we grade the options for such things as preference, availability, maybe easiness or cost—all while still retaining each possibility in … Read more

Pond and bench at park with fog

The Experiential Self and the Remembering Self

In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman explains the existence of our experiential and remembering selves. Although Kahneman is not thought of as an expert on dementia care, grasping this concept will greatly enhance your success in caring for your loved one or client as they experience dementia. The concept of our experiential and … Read more

dawn with clouds over cut wheat field | the DAWN Method

Dementia and the Calendar—How to Help Your Loved One Feel on Top of Things

One of the most disconcerting losses when dementia strikes is becoming unable to track time, understand the calendar, or keep appointments. Can you remember an occasion when you were struggling to understand something and suddenly comprehension dawned? That welcome rush of understanding—of mastery of an idea or the way to do something—is one we all … Read more