Connection Comes In All Colors

After multiple layovers and a long travel day from the corporate office, Lily was looking forward to getting home in her warm bed and soft pajamas.  The work to revamp the new hire orientation packet had been grueling.  Many of the staff had argued about a potential dress code provision about “natural colored hair”.  Lily had recently dyed her own hair in solidarity and support of a sick family member, and this had spurred some controversial conversation on the appropriateness of hair color.

She looked up from washing her hands in the airport sink. In her reflection she tucked a strand of green hair behind her ear and turned her head in admiration of the emerald color. When she straightened her head back, she noticed a woman smiling.

Lily couldn’t help but notice the woman’s turquoise hair and bright pink lipstick. The woman had to be at least 70, but her shimmery silver shirt and dangling earrings brought a youthful look to her appearance.

“I love your hair color,” Lily remarked as she turned to dry her hands.

“I like yours too,” the woman responded. “What made you chose green?”

Lily relished in the opportunity to talk about her “why” behind the choice.  “My niece has cancer. Our entire family is shaving their heads at the end of the month as part of a fund raiser for her.  Some of us dyed our hair to bring awareness to her illness before the shave.”

The woman smiled in understanding, “I have a similar story” she began.“ My husband was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  I have been working as his caregiver and his advocate.  The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has been a great resource of information and support.  This is their color. I feel like, if I can get people to notice me, then I can get them to notice how difficult this disease is.”

Just then another woman emerged from a bathroom stall and interjected into the conversation, “I couldn’t help but overhear your discussion,” she started.  “My grandmother dyed her hair purple just this last year.  She has always loved purple but never had the guts to do it. She loves how it makes her feel.  She gets so many compliments and it’s  a great conversation starter.”

Lily smiled at both woman, “I never thought of hair color as being the genesis of connection, but look at us here.  Three unlikely strangers bonding over hair color.  I think that is pretty cool.”

The turquoise-hair colored woman added, “We all have our own “why” don’t we.  I think connection comes in all colors.”

Minutes later Lily found herself at the terminal coffee shop. She pulled out her laptop and sent a quick email to her co-workers. The subject line in the message was: Connection comes in all colors.  In the email, Lily described her interactions with the woman at the airport.

She voiced her opinion that hair color does not define a person’s ability to give good care or be supportive of those being cared for. Quite the opposite, each person has a “why” for their personal self expression and often it can be a wonderful place to create connection.  She added that the new hire policy on “natural hair color” needs to be explored further before it becomes a policy.

Satisfied, Lily closed her laptop and took a sip of her latte.  She sat back in her chair and did some people watching.  She saw a young man with tattoo’s and piercings pushing an older man in a wheelchair.  He stopped, kneeled down and showed such great compassion to the man, it brought tear to her eyes.

Lily knew she would push the issue on the dress code.  It was apparent that forms of self expression should not be used to define a caregiver’s ability.  Great caregivers and connection comes in all shapes, sizes, styles and colors.

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17- Jul2016
Posted By: Tony Fischer
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Dementia Memory Care Can Save On Long Term Care Costs

Alzheimer’s Dementia is one of the biggest healthcare concerns facing our seniors today. Consequently, families are faced with the choice of taking care of a senior at home or placing them into a nursing home. Facing the challenge of this progressive disease at home is difficult but achievable with the senior care options available in today’s healthcare market. Memory care is an example of one such service.

Also Read: How To Pay For Long Term Care Costs

Memory Care is a Special Care Unit

This is a great solution for the senior who needs more care than can be provided at home.  Also known as a Special Care Unit or SCU, memory care features staff with special training in dealing with people with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

Memory Care Units are constructed with the Dementia disease process in mind. Units have enclosed walking paths and disguised exits to keep those with wandering behaviors from getting lost. Pictures instead of words are often used to labels doors leading to key areas like the bathroom. Meal and recreation programs are designed to accommodate for the Alzheimer’s Dementia symptoms.

Memory Care Units are Cost Effective

Although seniors suffering from Dementia do require a lot of care, they do not require 24-hour monitoring by a registered nurse. In a Memory Care unit, a nursing director supervises nursing assistants who provide care to the residents. That allows this setting to provide care at a reduced cost offering a great solution to those residents who need a level of care that doesn’t rise to the level of nursing home.

Memory Care is just one of multiple levels of the senior care continuum. Online resources like Nursing Home Compare and Home Care Compare can provide a general list of providers in your area. However determining which level an elder needs can be confusing because of all of the options available. There are professionals that can help those in need navigate the many senior care options.

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If you think your family could use some help figuring out dementia care, please fill out the form below.  Our Senior Care Sherpas serve as guides through the complex terrain of the healthcare system.  They are specially trained in helping seniors evaluate current care needs and develop a plan. Senior Care Sherpas direct families toward reputable and trusted services. That includes finding facilities that can meet the unique care needs of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia patient.