For many years, I kept a sign on my desk that said:
No one in our family ever suffered from insanity. We’ve always enjoyed it.
It was an act of defiance against those who thought caring for my mother with Alzheimer’s disease was a tragedy, and that the rest of her life required those around her to put on a face of solemnity. While today I would hope to find a more sensitively worded sign, the premise – that attitude is nearly everything – still applies.
I say “nearly everything,” because effective caregivers need two things: a positive attitude and the right knowledge.
- A positive attitude doesn’t deny the awfulness of any given disease, but it approaches caregiving with a willingness to go with the flow, and curiosity and amazement for wherever the journey takes us.
- The right knowledge means that as a caregiver, it’s not enough to do your best with a loving heart. You have to know what to do. Learning hasn’t taken root until your behavior changes, your new skills applied.
This is my mantra:
Laughter builds rapport.
Rapport builds trust.
Trust builds relationships.
Building relationships is the purpose of everything I do, and how to build them is the ultimate focus of all the training I offer.
Throughout my life as an instructional technologist, I have been known for my highly practical and invariably upbeat style that provides maximum learning in an enjoyable format. As an active member of the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor, I apply humor’s therapeutic properties every day.
In addition to my books on dementia care and the related training that I offer through on-site workshops and online courses and webinars, I am the author of three other books and more than 1000 trivia quizzes, word games, discussion topics and imaginative exercises.