“It’s a challenging situation but I also think there are fallout blessings and things that people can harness from that experience.” — Megan Carnarius, Author, Owner, Memory Care Consulting, LLC.
The World Health Organization says that 47.5 million people around the world are living with dementia. Caring for people dealing with memory impairment, Alzheimer’s and other dementias can be challenging for family members due to changes in loved ones’ behavior and personality. Megan Carnarius, who has worked for 30 years in the field of memory care, says that it can also be a time for carers to discover a new relationship with those dealing with dementia.
“I think the challenges of all the changes that go on with somebody that has this process, that has memory loss, causes us as care givers to develop different skills in ourselves as this process is going on. And one of the things that I have noticed when I take care of people in this way is I feel there is a really strong reason why this person has come to me and as a professional I have those kinds of opportunities to meet different people and work with families in different ways. And I think for family caregivers, where are we in the trajectory of our experience together and what are the things that are possible benefits or a bounty of understanding that at first glance you might not be able to see so clearly, but if you think about it in different ways it can actually enrich the experience of care-giving.”
Carnarius says that living in the moment is key for care-givers dealing with people with dementia. “The present moment often holds a lot of richness and people with dementia tend to be moving more into present moment with people and if we can let go of “didn’t recognize me this morning,” but what’s our feeling together, what are we doing together that can be positive? I think people can discover some resilience and some attributes about themselves that they hadn’t really noticed before and that the person is drawing that out of them.”
Megan Carnarius has 22 years in direct management of memory care settings in skilled and assisted living, with 33 years in geriatric nursing. She is a registered nurse (RN), a licensed nursing home administrator (NHA) and licensed massage therapist (LMT). Megan served on the Alzheimer’s Association education committee, designed award-winning memory care facilities, and served as an adjunct faculty member at Naropa University. In 2015, she published “A Deeper Perspective on Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: Practical Tools with Spiritual Insights”. She will speak on the Art and Heart of Dementia Care at the monthly Interface Boulder event that happens at the Naropa North Boulder campus on the 3rd Friday of every month.
Listen to an extended interview with Megan Carnarius: