Mom Serves Dementia Residents
Last week, I introduced you to Tish and Joe Griffin, mother and son, of Destin, Florida. (They first read this column in the Walton (FL) Sun.) If you remember, Joe in 1998 at age 2 accidentally tumbled off a bed while watching TV and became paralyzed from the shoulders down, with the exception of some leg and torso movement. Tish over the next 15 or so years was his around-the-clock caregiver. Today, 21-year-old Joe lives on campus and attends the University of West Florida, all while having a tracheotomy, ventilator, and power wheelchair.
Tish said over the telephone, "When caring for Joe, I felt like I was always running a marathon. I tried staying on an even keel, but my senses became magnified. I remember after his injury, when they put in his tracheotomy, you could see his facial expressions, but you couldn't hear him cry. There wasn't any sound. So I had to become very observant of his body, his coloring, and of what was going on with him. I became part of Joe's body."
Those skills she learned over many years of caregiving eventually would help others. Tish now is resident program coordinator for an assisted living facility for people with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. As the "director of fun" for 30 people, she keeps people engaged in life and pointed towards a purpose, which, in part, helps slow down the dementia process.
Her work with Joe has helped her become more sensitive to the body language of residents, the needs of their family members, and the value of their lives.
As for the latter, she said, "For example, when Joe and I would be out in public, some people might speak to him slowly as if he were mentally impaired. Then they would have a conversation and realize that he was (bright). Joe has achieved many things in life, and the residents I've been honored to be with also have achieved many things. We are all people and we all have wonderful life stories."
She said Joe was an optimist because she had raised him as one, and that same trait in her also has brought optimism to her dementia residents. She said showing joy often can bring "healing." Finally, she added, "I've always been a very patient person, but after being Joe's caregiver, I've (mastered) the art of being very skilled at being very patient, which helps me at my job."
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesBottleRock Napa Valley Lineup of Restaurants, Wineries, and Artisanal Craft Breweries & DistilleriesNAPA, CA, - Situated in the heart of America's wine and food playground, BottleRock Napa Valley, presented by JaM Cellars, has once again tapped into the region's renowned culinary talent
Thunder Valley Casino Hiring for Janitorial and HousekeepingLincoln, CA,- Thunder Valley Casino Resort is hiring for Janitorial and Housekeeping positions at a Job Fair on Wednesday,
School Strategies for Children with ADHD and ASD(Sacramento, Calif.) - On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the UC Davis MIND Institute and its Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities will host "School strategies for children with ADHD and ASD
916 Dialing Changes are Coming SoonOn February 09, 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved an overlay that will add the new area code 279 to the 916 area code region
Tree Harvest Festival billed as Northern California's first Cannabis Harvest FestivalWoodland, CA- We are proud to present Northern California's first Cannabis Harvest Festival. We will celebrate the 420 holiday with Music, Art, and Education
Mitsubishi Outlander remains affordable SUVRoseville, CA,- Cost-conscious car shoppers should give the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander a look because it can be driven off the dealer lot for a very reasonable price.
Free Tax Assistance for Eligible ResidentsRocklin, CA- For the third year Placer County Health and Human Services will provide free tax assistance to low-income individuals and families, in cooperation with the IRS and United Way
New Year Marks New Era for Middle Fork ProjectAubrun, Calif.- As the clock struck midnight on January 1, Placer County Water Agency's (PCWA) Middle Fork Project (MFP) marked a momentous occasion 55 years in the making
Flu Season Tips and When to Seek Medical AttentionAuburn-This flu season, there are more ways than ever to access health care-including walk-in care, your primary care physician and the hospital emergency department
WJU Second Half Comeback Defeats OaksATHERTON, Calif. - Jessup men's basketball took their shortest road trip of conference play to Norcal opponent Menlo College, still looking to clinch their first GSAC victory
Jim Holmes selected Placer County Board of Supervisors chairAuburn, CA,- District 3 Supervisor Jim Holmes was chosen to serve as chair of the Placer County Board of Supervisors for 2018 by his fellow board members
Loomis Soroptimist Hosts Designer Purse Fundraiser on January 24(LOOMIS, CA) - The Fifth annual "It's in the Bag" designer purse event benefiting Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin will be held on Wednesday, January 24, 2017