Seeking Positive Pathways

Carol Waarala, MSW, LMSW, Certified Specialist in Aging & Dementia

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Educational Workshops

Much sought after keynote and featured speaker Carol Waarala is available to bring an enlightening dementia presentation to your organization and/or community in Southeast Michigan.

LIBRARIES, CHURCHES, PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, and MEMORY SUPPORT FACILITIES have been excited to invite Carol to provide much-needed education and information about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

For too long, dementia has had a negative social stigma that results in common feelings of “nothing can be done – there’s no cure; they’re no longer here; why bother to visit they don’t know me.” All these negative and misunderstood feelings lead to isolation, loneliness, neglect and unmet needs.

Perhaps the isolation that happens to the person with dementia and their loved ones takes as much from them as the disease. As we reduce the stigma of this disease, fear and misunderstanding will lose their power of casting a shadow of helplessness, devaluation, embarrassment, and disempowerment.

STIGMA leads to SHAME leads to SILENCE leads to SECRECY
True… we can’t cure dementia yet,

There are new models of care that recognize while we cannot restore what is damaged for those living with dementia, we can learn to focus on the “PERSON with dementia” and not the “person with DEMENTIA” – see the person, not the disease.

We can focus on what still works and the positive pathways that lead to maximizing abilities, independence, personhood and dignity. HOW? It’s not rocket science; it begins with education and recognizing the changes that are caused by the disease process and how that damage impacts cognition, communication, behavior and much more. Then through more education and information, discovering positive interventions that stimulate and connect with neural pathways that still function may allow us to reach the person still there.

Together, let’s begin to break down the myths and stigma of dementia by focusing on understanding cognitive changes that are occurring. Focusing on seeing the person first instead of the disease, emphasizing what is still there instead of what’s gone. Focusing on promoting strengths and what a person living with dementia can still do! Focusing on what we can all do working together!

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” ~ Nelson Mandela