All About Memory: A WoodPark Wisdom Keepers Educational Series Presentation

Join us at WoodPark for “All about Memory:”  a discussion with a tour of the brain and how we make memory, what we remember, how we remember (through our senses) the miracle of memory & music, and what affects memory loss.

The WoodPark Wisdom Keepers Educational Series is a monthly educational series for elders, eldercare professionals, families, staff and interns on a variety of subjects including eldercare, aging, forgetfulness and memory loss that is held every third Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
For more information contact Jan Shé at 510-780-6393.
“All About Memory” is co-hosted by Vitas Healthcare.

image of woodpark wisdom keepers education series all about memory

AgeSong Case Study on Forgetfulness

The AgeSong Case Study on Forgetfulness video is a short testament exploring the challenges of forgetfulness and the approach that AgeSong takes to these challenges.

The video starts from the viewpoint of a person with forgetfulness who has experienced the alternative to dementia care that AgeSong offers. The thoughts shared by dementia-diagnosed Ed Voris are positive and uplifting without the fear and stigma often associated with stories told about dealing with dementia. At AgeSong the staff, teams and care partners work to hold the family and elder who is experiencing forgetfulness and cherish, nurture and assist with the transition to this new state of forgetfulness. Included in the video is a testimonial from an AgeSong resident’s daughter on her mom’s first day at AgeSong.

Find out More!

Read more about Forgetfulness and AgeSong Forgetfulness Care on the AgeSongToday blog.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

Conversations with Ed, Part 2: Joy in Aging Series Video

Sharon of KRON Channel 4 continues the conversation with author, licensed psychotherapist, and AgeSong co-founder, Dr Nader Shabahangi, and Ed Voris. Today they are continuing the conversation about Ed’s diagnosis and his work with Nader. They also discuss more about the book Ed and Nader coauthored with Dr Fox called Conversations with Ed, about forgetfulness and alternatives to dementia care.

Sharon mentions what caught her eye in the introduction is this concept of “the ability to forget.” Nader mentions that during their meeting they agreed that there was something good about forgetting. Ed says “You know, when you have a problem you don’t hang onto the problem, you let go and move onto where, to the direction that that problem brings. I never gave up.”

Nader says that he thinks that that attitude of never giving up is what brought Ed together with AgeSong, himself and Professor Fox of SFSU. Nader explains that the three of them would meet every month and talk about life, living and what is good about forgetting.

Sharon mentions that the chapter headings in the book are kind of like suggestions on how to look at Alzheimer’s and forgetting. How to let go of the inner critic. How to accept the fact that you are not going to remember things.

Sharon especially like what Ed said about not being able to drive, because he wouldn’t have to remember where his car is in the parking lot.

As Ed says “It’s just deciding are you going to quit now?” Sharon continues that thought saying that “you do not have to quit” is what the book(Conversations with Ed) is about. There are options out there for people dealing with changing cognition, you just need to embrace the options.

Find out more!

Learn more about the book Conversations with Ed: Waiting for Forgetfulness- Why are we so afraid of Alzheimer’s disease?

View more of the Joy in Aging Series videos.

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library.

Understanding Forgetfulness – Reducing the Use of Psychotropic Drugs

At AgeSong, memory loss is not a reason for pity or despair.  Care Partners undergo rigorous training to perceive forgetfulness from a holistic, non-patholigizing viewpoint.  So-called “challenging behaviors” are approached from a place of curiosity and are considered to be full of meaning. There is a huge difference between attempting to change or control a behavior and attempting to understand its meaning. For example, someone may ask, repeatedly and in a loud, impatient voice, for a tunafish sandwich on white toast and be quite satisfied with a turkey sandwich on wheat bread. What the person really wanted was company, someone to talk with, because she became quite happy when a care partner sat and talked with her while she ate the turkey sandwich on wheat bread.

AgeSong’s Central Vision

by Nader Shabahangi, AgeSong Founder and CEO

AgeSong and Pacific Institute are vision-driven organizations. This means that people who belong to these organizations understand their work as contributing to a larger vision of a more loving and aware world that makes room for the many diverse expressions of all there exists. At its core, AgeSong is grounded on the belief that we live in an interdependent world where all is related with and to each other. As such, AgeSong emphasizes a relational model of working together as opposed to a model that believes in absolutes, that is in one right way of being and doing.

At AgeSong’s elder communities, we strive to create, both in theory and practice, a place where we can allow people to be who they are, a place where the intention of those with whom they interact, such as carepartners (commonly termed caregivers) staff, interns, family, and volunteers) is to understand more deeply about the Other facing them. As such, AgeSong desires to create learning organizations where we ask such basic questions as the following: Who are we? What helps? How do we help? What does it mean to live, to age? How do we age? At AgeSong, our intentions are to take a stance of curiosity rather than knowing, to understand how we best care for the other and to appreciate difference as much as homogeneity.

At AgeSong’s elder communities, AgeSong and Pacific Institute implement the foundational belief that all phenomena we humans experience are meaningful and important for a deepening of human awareness and for the enjoyment of life. This belief understands phenomena normative society designates as undesirable, even deviant – through labels such as disturbance, disorder, illness or disease – as essential for understanding and living human life. Among the phenomena mainstream regards as unwelcome belong also aging and old age and often any behavior different from what we consider normal, ‘appropriate’, or ‘well adjusted’. AgeSong elder communities share in the belief of the meaningfulness of all phenomena through by creating therapeutic environments at its elder communities. In this spirit, AgeSong works together with Pacific Institute to combine resources, apply internship training, and implement AgeSong’s varied and diverse specialized programs. These specialized programs are modeled on an existential, processwork philosophy and psychology that are non-comparative and do not pathologize. Such a philosophy and way of life do not separate the world into good or bad, right or wrong, better or worse. As such, this philosophy and practice stands in contrast to present-day mainstream perspectives with their emphasis on dividing the world into things that are more desirable and less desirable.

At this time, the following programs are being implemented at AgeSong senior communities:

• Community Living (Assisted Living Care)
• Forgetfulness (‘Dementia’) Care
• Engagement and Outings
• Expressive Arts Therapies
• Gero-Psychological Care
• Spiritual Care (Interfaith)
• Palliative (Hospice) Care

The intent of these seven programs is to address the many different facets and dimensions of aging, old age and of being human in as comprehensive a way as possible. The central concern of all of these programs is to educate and train carepartners, staff and interns in a basic attitudinal shift. At the heart of this shift is learning to perceive life as meaningful. Though seeing something better than something else, such differentiation and judgment are necessary in some parts of life, applying this attitude without discrimination to the care of the human being marginalizes and perpetuates suffering.

Towards an Attitude of Curiosity and Acceptance

An existential, processwork-oriented attitude that lies at the foundation of an AgeSong therapeutic environment approaches human beings and the world we inhabit with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance. It is this attitude of curiosity and acceptance in which both AgeSong and Pacific Institute would like to train carepartners, staff, volunteers, and interns. Such an attitude welcomes and enjoys difference. It understands perceived difference as an opportunity for growth, and thus wants to learn from it.

Stated personally:

“From each difference I perceive in the other allows me to see a part within myself that may as yet be unfamiliar to me. That which I perceive as different is different because I do not identify with it or know yet. What I know already I do not regard as different or ‘other’. It is my attitude towards difference that is essential here.”

I have a choice to reject or accept difference. In rejecting difference I state that the ‘other’ is not part of me, is not worthy of being understood further. But would I not want to understand what I don’t know if it could help me understand myself better? In accepting difference I state that there is something I can learn from the other, something that deepens my awareness of myself, hence the world within which I live.

This attitude of acceptance and curiosity translates into the way each of the specialized programs is carried out. For example, in assisted living care the special needs of the elderly residents are met with an attitude that understands each need as a way the elderly communicate their unique difference to us. All kinds of possibilities can lay behind a community member’s tentative or slow walk, need to be fed, or desire to be quiet for a long time. Rather than ‘seeing’ these ways of being as aberrant, we might understand them as ways of expression in their own right. This holds true as well for those elderly who seem to forget what they once knew, appear confused to us in the way they go about their daily lives. If we do not judge forgetfulness or confusion as abnormal, but rather as the way this particular individual now lives his or her life, then we could see the wisdom behind this change and difference. As importantly, we can enrich our own lives with another way of being we did not imagine or ‘see’ before.

Educating and Training a New Generation of Carepartners and Interns

The central task in teaching and educating a new generation of managers, administrators, supervisors, coordinators, interns, carepartners and volunteers is to start with showing how each of us holds certain beliefs, values, ways of seeing people and the world. The purpose here is to have us become clearer about how our beliefs shape our perception and thus determine how we see our world. It is important to show how, for example, what we judge to be undesirable or aberrant can also be seen as something valuable, even enjoyable. Working primarily experientially, we are invited to probe in ourselves for character and behavior traits with which we would normally not identify. In this way we may begin to first notice and then counter the tendency to judge whatever may be in front of us.

Another training consists of learning to make contact with one’s own ‘inner elder’. This training conveys a connectedness to the wise part in oneself. This part allows us to learn to look at life and living from the ‘long view’. In such a perspective all phases of life are seen as important for the creation of a full life.

Central to the attitude of acceptance and curiosity is learning to be cognizant about our expectations. Noticing our expectations, becoming explicit of them, helps us be in and with the moment. We develop a ‘beginner’s mind’ attitude where we feel more and more comfortable with not knowing what will be, what should happen. This attitude allows us to enjoy what is. Enjoying the beauty of the moment means enjoying life, enjoying all that happens. This enjoyment is based on us being present with the unexpected events that often go unnoticed: the graceful movement of an elder, the faint smile, the warm hand I touch, the green plant I see, the food I taste, the raindrops I hear.

Important in this shift to an attitude of acceptance and curiosity is learning the art of listening. This involves as much noticing our desire to speak as our tendency to assume what the other is saying. Language, however, both verbal and non-verbal, is very complex and difficult to understand fully. Every word, movement and expression contains multiple meanings, often unknown even to the person communicating. Here trainees will learn ways to listen and understand, to take time paraphrasing and helping the other search for understanding.

Warriorship of the Heart

What we want to communicate to the world ought to be congruent with our message itself. At AgeSong we desire to communicate to others that we would like to re-define aging as an important phase of life. This phase of life is given special importance through re-establishing the role of eldership in our culture and society. To be truthful with others we need to model the ways of elders ourselves: being attentive listeners who continually practice being aware of what occurs in the moment, within and without.

The Seven Specialized Programs

All seven programs are based on the same attitudinal shift towards a loving curiosity and acceptance of the other. The only difference is the form this loving attitude takes. In assisted living care, carepartners practice their loving attitude of acceptance and curiosity when they bathe, groom, feed, walk, and otherwise help, support and sit with our residents. In forgetfulness care, carepartners and interns practice an attitude of curiosity and acceptance when they work with elders’ attempt to remember, find their room, walk the hallway, search for contact, do activities or engage in the many different forms of communication and relating. In expressive arts therapies, interns, staff lovingly follow community members’ many diverse attempts in being creative and expressive. In our spiritual care program residents encounter a safe place where they can express their struggle for meaning and their search for the transpersonal aspects of life. In our memory improvement, interns in training work patiently and lovingly with elders’ desire to remember and to stay cognitively active. In hospice care, elders find acceptance in the way they are and need to be as they move through their process of dying.

Once the attitudinal shift to a loving curiosity and acceptance of the other – whether the other be community members, family members, or carepartners, staff, and interns – has been made, the above programs meld into one. This means that whether we do expressive arts, memory training or assisted living care, the basic attitude with which we undertake each program always follows the process of the elder moment to moment.

A Different Model of Doing Business

At AgeSong we try to walk the talk. The way we care for our organization, for people and things ought to reflect the way we would like to care for community members. This is what we mean by staying aware of the Circle of Care – as I do to do, you will do to others, to yourself. This circle of care extends not only to the people who work with AgeSong, but includes the community and environment, the larger world in which our organization lives. As such, our organization desires to stay aware of this interrelationship by paying attention to how it cares for and relates to this world. Concretely, we try to remember that there are different bottom lines, that return on investment does not only refer to a monetary return but also to what we return to our workers and our community, near and far.
For additional reading and study, please view:

Process Work on the Arni and Amy Mindell website.

From Mindell:
What is Processwork?
“Processwork is the art, science, and the psychology of following the nature of individuals, communities, and eco-systems.
What is this nature exactly? It appears in the descriptions or self- descriptions of nature and people, as well as the subtler often missed signals and deep experiences of everyone and everything involved. Following this nature is often a great help for everyone involved. Following nature often gives meaning and necessary change.
Processwork, also called process-oriented psychology, is a multicultural, multi-leveled awareness practice including people and their natural environment. It is an evolving, trans-disciplinary approach supporting individuals, relationships and organizations to discover themselves.
Processwork uses awareness to track psychological and physical processes that illuminate and possibly resolve inner, relationship, organizational, and world issues. Processwork theories and methods, skills and metaskills are available for anyone to experience and can be tested.
Processwork Applications:
Processwork can be used to help people in all states of consciousness, that is in so called normal awareness states, or in altered states such as psychotic or extreme states, comatose and near-death states. It can be applied to psychological problems, body symptoms, groups, organizations, governments, and has been used for very young and very old people.”

More Info on Processwork

Read more about What is Process Work?

Books by Arnold Mindell:

City Shadows: Psychological Interventions in Psychiatry 

The Quantum Mind and Healing: How to Listen and Respond to Your Body’s Symptoms

The Shaman’s Body: A New Shamanism for Transforming Health, Relationships, and the Community

Dance of the Ancient One

The Deep Democracy of Open Forums: Practical Steps to Conflict Prevention and Resolution for the Family, Workplace, and World

 

 

AgeSong Guru Week Video: Conversation on Forgetfulness Care vs Dementia/Alzheimer’s

The Guru Project brings together Dr. Allen Power, Dr. Richard Taylor, Stephanie Rothhman and Dr. Nader Shabahangi for a Guru Project Discussion About Forgetfulness. This recording, AgeSong Guru Week Video: Conversation on Forgetfulness Care vs Dementia/Alzheimer’s, shows the recent AgeSong Guru Project round table conversation on forgetfulness care vs. dementia/Alzheimer’s that took place on February 20th, 2015. The talk covers forgetfulness, stigma and how to humanize care for people with changing cognition.

A Conversation on Forgetfulness Care vs Dementia/Alzheimer’s

Some Highlights from this Guru Week conversation: In this talk and in the Guru Project as a whole we are looking at this phenomena called dementia and how it is becoming more medicalized and more stigmatized. We are also looking at how we can humanize the phenomena, reduce stigma and create better care environments. At AgeSong the emphasis is less on the biomedical diagnosis and more on recognizing human differences and individual needs when it comes to caring for those with “forgetfulness.”

The thesis of the Guru Project is to challenge current narratives regarding changing cognition. Contrary to popular belief, people who are living with changing congnition are not gone or fading away. They are actually the key to teaching the rest of us how to support people who’s cognition is changing. This is counter to the current narrative in our society where people with changing cognition are shut up in what are called “Alzheimer’s Units” of assisted living residences.

Dr Taylor expresses concern with the closing up of people with these conditions, with reducing stimuli and reducing their opportunity to enjoy their elder years.

Dr Power speaks to the stigma and suggests how offensive is it to generalize that all people with this label need to be keep all together and be treated the same way. The labels also predetermine a bias that can interfere with caring for the person as an individual. Diagnosis does not create a common denominator. From a care perspective this does not tell us about the individual and what their support needs are.

The systems that we have created to deal with individuals that are different are fundamentally “anti-humanity.” Dr Power suggests that perhaps the bigger upcoming problem is not that there will be more people dealing with changing cognition but the way we deal with them is the problem. The crisis is not that we will have “x” many people dealing with changing cognition in the next 20 years…the crisis is that we have such a dysfunctional way of seeing them and supporting them.

The idea that someone with dementia cannot have a life that is not full of tragedy and suffering sets us up for views and practices that actually make the suffering much worse than it needs to be.

This video of the Guru Project includes discussions on stigmatizing and integration vs segregation. Dr Power, Dr Taylor, Stephanie Rothman and Dr Shabahangi talk about how creating an environment that fosters relationship, encourages diversity of the individual, a tolerance for differences and promotes “Aging in Place” can reduce stigma and create better cultures of care for people with Forgetfulness.

Find out More!

Read more stories about the AgeSong Guru Project

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

AgeSong Guru Week Video: AgeSong Interns Discussion with Guru Project Doctors

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.”

Find out More!

Read more stories about the AgeSong Guru Project

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

 

AgeSong Guru Week Community Discussion on Forgetfulness Care video

AgeSong Guru Project partners, Dr.’s Richard Taylor and Allen Power, engage in a roof-top AgeSong Guru Week Community Discussion on Forgetfulness Care (Dementia/Alzheimer’s) at AgeSong’s Laguna Park residence. The open group forum includes AgeSong Community Residents, CarePartners and Interns from the AgeSong GeroWellness program.

 

AgeSong Guru Week Community Discussion on Forgetfulness Care

The video opens on a frank discussion starting with Dr. Richard Taylor. Included in this group discussion are AgeSong Residents, AgeSong CarePartners and AgeSong GeroWellness Interns. The participants share views both from the caregiver’s perspective and from the perspective of those with varying levels of forgetfulness (dementia/Alzheimer’s). Topics include the types of things we can do in a community like this that will give resident’s the fullest life possible, regardless of their mortality or abilities. The residents, interns and doctors discuss truth-telling in care, white lies, communication, being “present” with patient, labels and stigma associated with forgetfulness, dementia and aging.
What are the types of things we can do in a community like this that will give resident’s the fullest life possible, regardless of their mortality or abilities?

 

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 Alzheimers 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 (Alzheimers/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.”

Dr. Richard Taylor

Dr. Richard Taylor is a retired psychologist and author of “Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out.” As a doctor with dementia himself he has experienced not only the change of state that happens internally but that which happens in external relationships also. He has experienced the change that occurs within the circle of family, friends as community. Dr. Taylor eloquently discusses his experience of living well with dementia.

Dr. Allen Power

Dr. Allen Power, is a board certified internist and geriatrician, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester. Dr Power is the author of paradigm shifting books including “Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care” and the latest, “Dementia Beyond Disease.” As a practicing internist he discovered he was questioning the paradigm and efficacy of just using medication to treat dementia;that perhaps the “deficit-based view that focuses on neuropathology and tends to blame brain disease for distress” is not the best care paradigm for these patients. Instead he suggests: “the experiential approach holds that the best way to care for a person living with dementia is to understand them as a person and their individual experience; so I use the very holistic definition that “Dementia is a shift in the way a person experiences the world around her/him.” This idea of changing perspective is something to which we all can relate, and this commonality helps us build a bridge to better understand the person’s needs.”

Find out More!

Read more stories about the AgeSong Guru Project

Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

AgeSong Guru Week Biomedical Convention video

AgeSong invites Dr Richard Patel, Dr Allen Power and Dr Richard Taylor with Dr Nader Shabahangi to present at The AgeSong Guru Week Biomedical Convention to discuss insights into different perspectives on forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s and dementia care. The Biomedical Convention of the partners in the Guru project explores different viewpoints of Forgetfulness, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care with a focus on well-being and enablement.

The AgeSong Guru Project sponsors AgeSong Guru Week Biomedical Convention Presentation with Dr Richard Patel, Dr Allen Power, Dr Richard Taylor and Dr Nader Shabahangi.

The purpose of the AgeSong Guru Project, a year-long initiative, is to look at creating comprehensive care partnerships with elders to understand need-driven behaviors and minimize risky use of psychotropic medication. Not using a text-book to learn about a patient but having the patient be the textbook and teach us what they need. This is contrary to the trend of treating these individuals from a deficit-based perspective. This perspective looks at helping people with changing cognition have more comprehensive care that allows them to be enabled and re-enabled.

Dr Richard Patel

Dr Richard Patel is a professor at USCF in Psychiatry, works at San Francisco General in Psychiatry and Neurology in the ER and is in private practice. His experiences in these areas have lead him to the belief that patient care is about the whole person. And comprehensive care is about the friends, family, community and environment around the person.

Dr Allen Power

Dr Allen Power, is a board certified internist and geriatrician, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester. Dr Power is the author of paradigm shifting books including “Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care” and the latest, “Dementia Beyond Disease.” As an internist he had been prescribing psychotropic medications to his patients. In his practice he discovered that he was questioning the efficacy of a medication-focused perspective. He started to believe well-being is more important than taking a deficit-based approach. He shares insights from his experiences.

Dr Richard Taylor

Dr Richard Taylor is a retired psychologist and author of “Alzheimer’s from the Inside Out.” As a doctor with dementia himself he has experienced and discusses some of the fundamental changes that happen in the process. He talks not only the change of state that happens internally but that which happen in external relationships also. He has experienced the change that occurs within the circle of family, friends as community. Dr Taylor eloquently discusses his experience of living well with dementia.

Dr Nader Shabahangi

Dr Nader Shabahangi, AgeSong CEO and founder, is a licensed psychotherapist. He is founder of Pacific Institute, a non-profit that offers innovative forgetfulness (dementia) and eldercare and has with the Pacific Institute Internship team,  implemented the Gerontological Wellness Program (GeroWellness Program.) Dr Shabahangi in his work with AgeSong advocates for a shift in focus from labels for patients with changing cognition. At AgeSong they refer to patients with changing cognition such as Alzheimer’s and dementia as experiencing “forgetfulness.” This change to a broad non-clinical description is reducing the stress and stigma in the associated care of the individual. The AgeSong vision is one of a humanistic and whole-person approach to the culture of care provided within AgeSong residences and programs.

The speakers at the Biomedical Convention of the AgeSong Guru Project speak about comprehensive care partnerships with people who are experiencing changing cognition. The goal is understanding the need-driven behaviors and minimizing risky use of psychotropic medication. The talk covers forgetfulness, dementia, dementia care and the importance of changing the culture of care. Included are the personal insights offered from Dr Taylor from the perspective of an individual who is working to achieve a state of  “living well” with changing cognition in the world as it exists today.

Find out More!

Read more stories about the AgeSong Guru Project

 
Explore more videos in the AgeSong Video Library

Related Posts:

Dr Allen Power presentation: The Biomedical View vs the Experiential View in Dementia Care video

Dr Allen Power with Nader Shabahangi presentation: Dementia Beyond Disease video

Humanistic Eldercare: Toward a New Conceptual Framework for Aging and Care

As family members, friends, professionals and care-partners, we will need to face our own aging, as well as the aging of those elders for whom we might need to care. These elders can be our own parents, siblings, or other relatives, can be friends or acquaintances. Elders might also be part of our professional clientele, as therapy clients, as people for whom we are responsible as guardians or conservators, as care-partners, staff, managers and directors of eldercare communities throughout the country.  How we face aging and eldercare is largely based on the mindset with which we approach these challenges. This mindset frames how we apply our knowledge, skills, and passion, how we assist and partner with elders in all aspects of their care. The mindset we use also informs our attitude towards how we understand our meaning of life, what we understand to be important and of value.

To honor elders as wisdom keepers and social contributors sets the stage to look at elders from their needs in terms of connecting, feeling valued, that they can give and receive – like all of us.   The question becomes: what can we do to remind ourselves of the fundamental needs they and all of us have? How can we live in a deep relationship with our elders – including our own inner elder – and receive their wisdom so important in terms of us living a meaningful and sustainable life?