A dementia diagnosis can be life-changing, but thriving with dementia is possible with the right support and accurate information. 

In our webinar on November 30, Susan Robbins, Regional Director of Dementia Training for The Arbor Company,  will explain how thriving with various forms of dementia is possible, and answer your questions live. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with a form of dementia or have been living with a dementia diagnosis, you don't want to miss this webinar!

Watch the video for a preview of the webinar and then visit ArborCompany.com/Thriving to register!


Video Transcript

- Hello, everyone, and welcome into Senior Living Live. My name is Melissa. We thank you for watching, and for those of you joining us via podcast, we thank you for finding us. Today, we are previewing our upcoming webinar called "Thriving with Dementia." Susan Robbins will be our guest presenter for this topic. And Susan, you will be a familiar face to many of our viewers who have joined us for past webinars about dementia. How are you today?

- Going really good, and I'm excited to be able to share this new part of dementia in a different perspective. You know, I've been with Arbor for almost 12 years now, and I've had the opportunity to share this information with families, help support staff, and also other professionals so that we can make sure that the loved ones we have are able to thrive living with dementia, and it's a different perspective on it.

- Yeah, you've helped so many people, as you mentioned. And I know that in our past webinars, we've had a lot of questions. People get a lot out of these, and that's the beauty of these webinars, having the ability to really chat with you and engage you in a Q&A session. Now, as we talk about dementia, that is sort of an umbrella term for conditions that affect memory and judgment. What are the different types of dementia, Susan, and what can one expect with each?

- Well, dementia is a big umbrella, and there are over 70 different types of dementia. And Alzheimer's is the most common, and that's the one that we hear the most about. But there's also Lewy Bodies dementia, where people may have a tendency to have more hallucinations. All dementias are gonna have some hallucinations, so that's one of those signals that's a little different. You have those usually a little earlier on. Vascular dementia, and then of course we're seeing a lot of younger people with frontotemporal lobe dementias. So it's vast age groups that we don't even realize. And sometimes those earliest warning signs, you don't look at them that way when younger people are having it and experiencing dementia symptoms.

- Yeah, and all the times that I have talked with you or have been a part of these webinars, I think that's the first time I've heard that we're seeing younger age brackets affected by this, so I will be very interested to hear that part of it, for sure. So when you talk about that and things that are telltale signs that would lead us to maybe go to the doctor, to prompt us to see a physician, what are those signs? What should we be looking for to go determine a possible diagnosis?

- Well, actually the frontotemporal lobe, the front part of the brain, is actually what's affected first. And this is why so often people don't get diagnosed until later on in their dementia, the later stages, because judgment and reasoning is actually the first thing that goes with almost all types of dementia. So it's all of the sudden, your loved one seems really short-tempered and very emotional over things that used to not be that way. Now, if they've always been emotional, they may be that much more emotional, but you see a difference in their response to you in those situations. It does affect your memory and your motor skills, but judgment and reasoning. And when you try to have a meaningful conversation to reach a compromise on something, people in the early stages of dementia have a really tough time reaching a compromise. And if they do, it more likely ends up with whatever you wanna do.

- Interesting.

- They can't comprehend and understand the needs.

- Yeah, very interesting, interesting. And those are tips we can, you know, look at right now when it comes to a loved one. Is this something that's going on right now to maybe lead us to a position? Now, if a loved one does get diagnosed with dementia, Susan, after that initial shock and concern, what is the first thing that they should know?

- Well, life is not over. Especially in the early to mid stages, you can still enjoy things. But it's a gift to know that those things on your bucket list, let's go ahead and get those done while I'm aware and can make those decisions. But you have to be their friend in finding those things. And they may pop up with things that you never knew. "Well, I never knew you wanted to do that," 'cause just my judgment and my reasonings, I share things I didn't share before. But become my friend, not my boss. And remember, you're still functioning. If you have a loved one with dementia, you still have a fully functioning brain. You have your set of fears of what the future is gonna look like and how you're gonna care for that person. They have much smaller-picture fears of how am I gonna survive this, what am I gonna do? I don't want anybody to know I have this, that stigma that's so attached to it. But opening and embracing it can make life much easier for the person living with dementia.

- Very good, very, very good. Now on the heels of that, what are some things one can implement in the day-to-day living of somebody with dementia that can really make a difference in that person's quality of life?

- Well, biggest thing is become their friend, not their boss. Don't try to reason things out, don't try to do things. Have routines as much as possible, and also being aware of the environment. This is something people don't think about, but if you put me in big crowds, and I have dementia, I can become very overwhelmed, very easily. People lots of times go out to, if you enjoy going out to dinner, go out earlier when the restaurants aren't full and aren't loud, that's something you can do. Have small groups, and you have to be able to shift gears immediately to meet them where they are, even in the early stages. It takes a lot of work to do that. But remember, if they had cancer or some disease that you could treat, you would do everything to make sure they took their medicine, they got to their appointments on time. Well, this is dealing with not upsetting their brain. That's the medicine you can give them.

- I love it, that is so well said. Yes, and I remember when you discuss not maybe going out in larger crowds, and you can kind of control that with a restaurant, but there are some grocery stores that sort of allow that kind of quiet time when there's less people out to sort of help you. So you can still continue those day-to-day routines, Susan, as you mentioned, but just a little bit differently, approach it a little bit differently. And that may make all the difference in the world. So I'm glad you mentioned that, and that will be something we'll touch on more during your webinar. Finally, what are some resources you can recommend to someone watching as you just wait for your webinar November 30th?

- Well, there's a wonderful organization called DAA, and they have a website. And this organization is actually run by people in the early stages of dementia. And then they develop through, and it changes through. So this is an organization that provides support for both the loved one, the person living with dementia, and their family members. So it's dual purpose in one location. The other thing, too, is reach out to an Arbor community in your neighborhood. All the Arbor team is trained with dementia and have the skills to help you start making those decisions that you may or may not need to make. But the resources to understand how somebody's dementia is gonna progress is out there, as well.

- Excellent, well, Susan, awesome information already for this quick preview. We hope people, when they have the time off, maybe this week upcoming for the Thanksgiving holiday, that they watch it and they start to sign up and RSVP for this webinar. It is all about Thriving with Dementia, the date, November 30th, it will be at noon Eastern Time. Susan, we look forward to seeing you again then.

- Thank you, I look forward to it.

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