Dementia is a disease someone is living with but does not define who the person is. It is basically an umbrella term for brain failure. While there are many forms of dementia; Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Lewy Body and Frontotemporal Dementias are the most common forms. We believe through understanding the disease, care partners can gain the knowledge and skill needed to continue engaging in their loved ones life. Learn how to support with individualized care.
Imagine you are in pain, not feeling well or just plain bored. You are able to explain how you are feeling or are able to do something about it. With Dementia, a person is not always able to express how they are feeling or what they need. Each individual is different and should be supported as such. We can help you to support a person living with dementia while maintaining their dignity and well-being during this very vulnerable stage of their life with this disease.
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Becoming a nurse was not a thought that crossed my mind. Becoming an advocate for those living with dementia was an even further thought. However, life throws you curve balls. My curve ball was thrown on August 16, 2002 (2 days before my 30th birthday.) My third child, my son Chase William was diagnosed with a brain tumor. After Chase’s discharge from the hospital and years of therapy to regain everyday skills, I decided I needed to follow my favorite saying by Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I went to nursing school and that’s where my journey began.
Erin has been a nurse since 2005. Her certifications held are Licensed Registered Nurse, CDP (Certified Dementia Practitioner), PAC Certified Independent Trainer through Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach, Dementia Care Specialist Certified, Certified Eden Associate, Certified Virtual Dementia Tour Trainer and Trainer of STAR-VA. Graduating from Holy Name School of Nursing in Teaneck, NJ as an LPN she immediately began working in long term care at her local hospital. Erin soon enrolled in Brookdale Community College’s Nursing program where she graduated with her Associates of Science in Nursing and took the state boards receiving her RN License. Erin entered nursing believing she would work in pediatrics. After all, that’s what started her on this journey. But that was not so. Working with elders made Erin feel grounded. It reminded her of simpler times in her childhood. Erin volunteered through her church in the adopt a grandparent program. With both sets of grandparents living in different countries she was able to connect with not only those in the nursing homes she visited but in her neighborhood as well. She assisted her neighbors with laundry, food shopping, sharing stories and even baking cakes.
Once she got her drivers license at 18 years old she drove her neighbors to Bingo at the local church and together enjoyed a few county fairs. Erin became a Girl Scout leader for her daughter‘s troop where she found herself passing the baton. However, that wasn’t so. Working in long term care was where she wanted to be. Erin especially enjoyed working with those who had Dementia. There was something that connected her. Perhaps it was the similarity of being misunderstood or the need for advocacy. Either way, she was determined to move forward with learning as much as possible and helping others understand the journey as best she could. Erin continues to study through Thomas Edison State University for her degree in Psychology and is looking forward to getting certified in future Dementia programs like validation therapy.