Dementia – A Different Approach

I probably should have made this the very first blog I ever wrote.  I checked on the internet as I cared for my brother with Dementia, for the farm in the middle of Montana or elsewhere, to place him when the time was right.  What farm you say – the farm I envisioned in my head.  The farm where there were caregivers, no drugs, places to roam, animals to pet, places for Dementia patients to live with dignity.  I never gave my brother drugs, I did not want those drugs to change his mind in any way.  In the Netherlands they have towns built just for Dementia patients.  Somewhat costly, but a dream like place where your loved ones with Dementia can live drug free.  Why they cannot have these towns in other countries, especially the United States, is a mystery to me.

I have come across two fantastic doctors, who are establishing places for Dementia patients to live in dignity.  Look into the websites of  William H. Thomas, M.D., who is founder of “The Eden Alternative.”  Nursing homes without drugs.  Doctor Thomas is in his 50’s and is in the early stages of Dementia himself.  Read the books written by G. Allen Power, M.D., FACP.  I have read one of his books, “Dementia Beyond Drugs.”  Doctor Power serves as an Eden Mentor at St. John’s Home in Rochester, New York, where he has worked since 2000.  He has practiced medicine for over 25 years, the last 19 or so years in long-term care and rehabilitation.  They have over 400 residents in St. John’s Home in New York and they use very little drugs to control those residents.

Doctor Power is a very busy man, he travels the world trying to get people to open their minds to changing the care of patients with Dementia.  I have emailed Doctor Power once and he returned my email in a very short period of time.  He becomes discouraged because of doctors and nursing home staff members will not open their minds to change. God bless Dr. Thomas and Dr. Power for what they are trying to accomplish.  These two wonderful men have inspired me.

I have seen my brother with no drugs and I know how much better he functioned without drugs.  When I finally put him in a nursing home just a short time ago, they drugged him so much, he did not know he was in this world.  I have talked with, argued with, and insisted they lower his drugs.  They have done this somewhat, but not enough.  I contacted an Ombudsman who is suppose to assist the nursing home patient and family with complaints.  The Ombudsman observed my brother at the nursing home once for half an hour, he happened to be alert at the time, so she said all was fine.  I was disappointed with her attitude and her lack of follow-up on my brother’s situation.  I felt the Ombudsman was working for the nursing home, more than for my brother.  People with Dementia are still people, God still loves them, they still understand more than you think.

I have tried to get the nursing home to use music therapy, which I read about on the internet.  This brings Dementia patients alive and makes them happy.  The nursing home staff have not used music therapy.  I played music for my brother constantly when I cared for him.  It is time for those in the medical profession to change.

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