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Running time: 27 minutes
About Jolene Brackey
Jolene Brackey explains that the key to any person is figuring out their greatness. "Find out what they are good at, and compliment them," she says. By letting caregivers know a little about the person’s history allows them to help them remember who they are. Gestures as small as allowing a patient to keep their old worn out chair or ‘stinky softball glove’ comforts them. Playing cards with Alzheimer's patients is a way to trigger memories of the past. Even shuffling a deck of cards can bring an unexpected, but delightful smile on their face.
Brackey describes the mind of a person in the later stages of Alzheimer's like that of a child between the ages of 8 to 10 years old, and as the disease progresses, they function as a 4 to 6 year old, until eventually they lose cognitive skills. Though they may initially lose their short-term memory, they continue to remember many of their past experiences.
According to Brackey, many people label what is "appropriate" and "inappropriate" for patients, but those are very powerful words. "We leave them with nothing if we take away their stuff for safety," says Brackey. Give them their greatness back by creating a home away from home. Take pictures of their favorite place to sit and their bedroom, and recreate that atmosphere by bringing personal items to make their new room more familiar. Create "boxes of greatness" which should include things from their past.
Brackey began her career with Alzheimer's patients as an Activity Director. As her work progressed, she began jotting down ideas that offered positive help for patients. She attended conferences and set up three Alzheimer's units, and began presenting educational seminars. Brackey's devotion and passion to help others began empowering families and staff members through training takes her across the country speaking about life for caregivers and people with dementia.
Her talks and videos are a series of enlightening insights into Alzheimer’s disease and how to better communicate, empower and help people with the disease feel and become safer in their environments.