The AgeSong Guru Week Video: AgeSong Interns Discussion shares a discussion between AgeSong Interns and Guru Project doctors Dr Richard Taylor, Dr Allen Power and Dr Nader Shabahangi. This group session of AgeSong’s Guru Week includes discussion about how to look at Forgetfulness (Dementia/Alzheimer’s) from different perspectives, how to have a different viewpoint about the behaviors associated with Forgetfulness, how to continue to evolve therapies and treatments for Forgetfulness and how to reduce stigma associated with Forgetfulness.
From an AgeSong Guru Project perspective Dr Taylor, Dr Power and Dr Nader Shabahangi talk with the AgeSong Gero-Wellness Interns on how “Forgetfulness” affects the patient and how to interpret the behaviors.
Dr Richard Taylor talks about being a person who has been diagnosed with “forgetfulness,” dementia of the Alzheimer’s variety. The AgeSong interns ask him questions regarding what he experiences. He talks about how the changes in his brain and learning to live with them. His insightful talk covers his experiences of the fear and frustration that accompanies the changes that happen in a persons brain. He gives these as examples of the types of things that can be behind what are called the “acting out behaviors.”
Dr Allen Power adds to the discussion by suggesting a talk about “terminology.” The APA in recognizing the stigma attached to the term has dropped “Dementia” from DSM-5 and is now using “Major and Minor Cognitive Disorders.” At AgeSong they use the term “forgetfulness.” In writing his first book, “Dementia Beyond Drugs” he rewrote the definition of ‘Dementia” because he acknowledges the stigmas around the words we use “behavior problems,” “acting out” are so powerful he believes that the make it difficult to see new solutions. In his book he re-defined it as a “shift in the way a person experiences the world around her or him.” Because this discussion is with the Gero-Wellness interns Dr Power jumps ahead into the more person-center approaches. He discusses the “Needs Based Dementia Compromised Behavior Model.” That basically says when people have expressions or actions it is often the result of unmet needs. Dr Power suggests that might not cover it completely…what about aesthetic enjoyment? If you just use this model and you have Alzheimer’s then everything you do gets pathologized as unmet needs. Dr Power suggests a model he has been working with which is a modified version of Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs. He goes through the pyramid diagram and describes his thoughts on the “needs.”
Nader talks about taking cues from the Existential Humanistic Psychotherapy model and not do psychotherapy as cognition but as emotion. Dr Shabahangi suggests that one of the gift sthat people with forgetfulness can bring in our lives is to give us the opportunity to be able to live more emotionally in the moment and not so much in our cognitive mind.
The AgeSong Interns and Guru Project doctors continue the topical discussions touching on more subjects including dealing with our aging society, the changes that have occurred within the last 30 years in psychology, the challenges inherent in Existential Humanistic based eldercare.
The last 25 minutes of the video is a fantastic back and forth between the AgeSong Interns and doctors.
See the other Guru Week videos here on the AgeSong Video Library page.
The AgeSong Guru Project
The AgeSong Guru Project is a year-long initiative which focuses on comprehensive care partnerships with elders to understand need-driven behaviors and minimize risky use of psychotropic medication.
To complete this project AgeSong has engaged in a partnership with Psychiatrist and Pacific Institute board member Dr. Richard Patel; Geriatrician, Dr. Allen Power; and Psychologist, Dr. Richard Taylor.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to partner with three of the industry’s leading experts in the area of mental health to thoroughly explore the approach of care for those who are in various stages of forgetfulness, what is commonly diagnosed as Alzheimer’s and/or Dementia, with reduced use of medications,” AgeSong CEO and founder, Dr. Nader Shabahangi said. “The AgeSong Guru Project will focus on learning directly from elders who are living with the changes brought on by forgetfulness (Alzheimer’s/Dementia). Much of the industry resources focus on “instant gratification” medications that often restrict the life of the person, whose lifestyle is shifting due to mental and physical changes. This project is solely based on what elders verbal and non-verbal communication is trying to tell us. We will look at any behavior as an expression of need we, the observers and care partners, must explore and understand more deeply.”
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