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The members of the Healing Moments’ Team have studied about and lived with Alzheimer's disease. Through our experiences and witness we have learned that when we look beneath memory loss and the inability to reason, persons with Alzheimer's and dementia can reveal to us the true value of Life: theirs AND ours.
From the perspective of love and respect for persons with Alzheimer's and their families, our workshops and support groups invite caregivers to say "Yes" to Life with Alzheimer's. Our programs include conversations about Healing vs. Cure, about Hope for Healing and Transformation, about our capacity to make a difference in the lives of persons with Alzheimer's, and about their capacity to make a difference in our lives.
The value we have discovered and witnessed in the lives of persons with Alzheimer's and dementia is the foundation of our programs.
As the number of persons with Alzheimer's and other diseases of dementia increase, the stress experienced by their caregivers is becoming overwhelming to individuals and more evident to society. Under the burden of this stress, both caregivers and persons with dementia suffer. According to the Alzheimer's Association, one way to reduce caregiver stress is to "accept changes as they occur." Accordingly, research indicates that the most effective coping technique for reducing caregiver stress is acceptance.
The primary goal of the Healing Moments for Alzheimer's workshops and programs for families is to encourage this group of caregivers to adopt an attitude of "Yes," which we interpret as an attitude of Acceptance and Affirmation. Combining the gentle spiritual practice of accepting reality (versus denial or resistance) and the energizing improvisational practice of saying "Yes!" to what is, caregivers discover creative ways to reduce conflict and enjoy more peaceful and meaningful relationships with their loved ones.
Using techniques drawn from improvisational theatre that are grounded in Validation Therapy, Habilitation Therapy, and Act and Commitment Therapy, Healing Moments’ training is described as enlightening, inspiring, life-changing, awesome, and Great Fun!
These compassionate programs teach caregivers how to implement the recommended interventions for addressing the challenges and stressors experienced by Alzheimer's caregivers by:
Caregivers who attend Meeting Alzheimer's will develop a deeper understanding of their loved ones with Alzheimer's; and they will learn and practice skills for:
Leonora, the primary caregiver for her father, Leo, attended a Healing Moments program for family caregivers. Prior to the workshop, when we spoke on the phone, she wept. During participant introductions at the workshop, she wept. Her stress and her distress were painfully obvious. By the end of the workshop, Leonora radiated joy and empowerment.
One week after attending the Healing Moments workshop, Leonora wrote:
"I'm still feeling great - very optimistic and upbeat regarding the challenges I am facing with my father. I also have been giving my brother some pointers on how to address questions my father asks and the way he acts/reacts, so I'm able to help my father, my brother, and me all at the same time!" . . .
reminds participants that in the midst of Alzheimer's disease there are DEEP MOMENTS.
~~Stephen Post, Ph.D., Author, The Moral Challenge of Alzheimer's Disease
Celebrating the Beauty of living in the moment
Healing Moments is part of a scientific study on caregiving. In 2014, researchers at the University of Iowa department of neurology – Edmarie Guzman-Velez, Ph.D. and Kelsey Spalding, Ph.D. Candidate, launched a caregiver intervention study using the Healing Moments for Alzheimer’s Family Caregiving Workshop. Data was collected measuring the efficacy of the workshop on reducing caregiver stress as well as improving quality of life for both person with dementia and their caregivers. The results will be published in early 2018.
"The emotion behind the failing words is far more important than the words themselves, and needs to be validated. Assume the patient can still register feelings that matter."
~Joanne Koenig Coste, Author, Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s
Leonora and her father, Leo
© Healing Moments (TM)