Soul-searing, life-testing situations have what some call "fall-out
blessings." The book is about understanding some of the deeper
lessons we are exposed to through caring for individuals with
Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. We all want a cure. But in
the meantime, while this illness is still with us, how can we
create a quality of life for each person in each stage of the
disease? How can we look deeper into situations that, at first
glance, look hopeless and destructive in order to find
opportunities for insight, inspiration, and great understanding of
ourselves and those we love? How can we allow the full measure of
the experience to unfold and be felt with as much of ourselves as
we can bring to bear? This book will help people caring for those
going through the difficult dementia journey find a way, through
the tumultuous waves, to remain awake and open to the blessing of a
journey that opens the heart, nurtures compassion, and ultimately
enables each of us to be better human beings. It is also for those
brave individuals living with memory loss illnesses, so that they
be supported and allowed to live their experience fully in their
own unique way, to express themselves, to love and be loved, and to
be sheltered from harm-that with each stage of the progression,
those around the person with dementia find ways to emphasize the
loved one's remaining strengths rather than spotlight their
weaknesses. A person with dementia has a whole and well spirit and,
in the broadest sense, their brain is a vehicle of self-expression;
it does not define their essence. Finally, this book addresses head
on the final stage of the disease, when the brain has exhausted all
its compensatory ability and the individual is no longer able to
take part in regular day-to-day life. At this advanced stage of the
disease process, people with dementia are in a deep, internal state
that caregivers generally cannot access and share. It can be a very
disheartening time. This internal state separates the person with
dementia from those around them; however, rather than thinking of
it as a prison wall separating the person with dementia from the
caregiver, it may be more helpful to think of the person having
retreated into a cloistered existence for a while, affording them
the time needed by the soul to attend to deeper aspect of the self
on a spiritual level. This phase also allows those around the
person to honor the vessel, or body, that has housed the loved in
in this life and prepare to let them go. When ready the individual
will know the time to leave, and if allowed, will let go. Coming
from a rich professional background in caring, Megan Carnarius
clearly outlines the different stages of dementia and highlights
many practical aspects of dementia care, suggesting accessible
tools for family and professionals alike. She also addresses the
more subtle, spiritual dimensions of this illness with much
compassion and understanding, offering new insights into areas that
have not been explored in other books on the disease.
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