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.
Published author and the owner of Memory Care Consulting, LLC. Megan has over 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" (Findhorn Press). Megan recently launched her consulting practice. She provides building design & program consulting, care management and caregiving consulting to families and facilities, and lectures and training. In 1989, Megan Carnarius managed the first skilled memory care nursing setting in Boulder County. She started consulting in memory care design in 1996 and continues to assist owners with building designs as well as program and operational development. Megan also served on the Alzheimer’s education committee for 15 years. She is a sought-after family consultant, professional trainer, and lecturer.
"A Deeper Perspective on Alzheimer's and other Dementias is unlike most other books on the subject in that it doesn't relate the predictable progression of Alzheimer's or the strain on caregivers, but focuses instead on how to create an improved quality of life for everyone affected, at each stage of the disease. It's highly recommended for caregivers and families dealing with dementia and shows how to cultivate a sense of love, life, and support in the process of caregiving, right up to the final stages of the disease. Megan Carnarius has a professional background in caring (as a registered nurse, licensed nursing home administrator, and massage therapist with some 25 years' experience running memory care facilities) and links the different stages of dementia to different aspects of its care, offering tools that embrace the spiritual implications and challenges of illness as much as the physical and psychological stresses involved. The result is far more wide-ranging than most, and a top recommendation (above most others) for the position of 'most practical, useful' guide, packed with tools caregivers need to know about."
– D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review