The below are some of the main tools that Deborah Bier, PhD, uses when helping families and professional caregivers learn to manage Alzheimer’s disease and dementia patients more effectively and compassionately.  In addition to the below, there are (or soon will be) pages devoted to each of these topics. Click on the links here to find out more.

Habilitation Therapy

Habilitation Therpay (HT) was developed at the Massachusetts Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, and is considered by them to be the best standard of care for all types of dementia.

It is a comprehensive behavioral approach to ongoing caring for people with dementia. It focuses not on what the person has lost through their illness, but on their remaining abilities, aiming to create and maintain a positive emotional state through the course of each day. Their capabilities, independence and morale are thoughtfully engaged to produce greater psychological wellbeing. In this way, difficult symptoms can be reduced or eliminated, despite the disease’s progress.

HT helps caregivers have positive and successful interactions with their loved ones by optimizing and maximizing the care recipient’s strongest skills. The goal is not to re-habilitate the client to an earlier state of functioning, but to “meet them where they are” with the remaining skills they possess. Habilitation therapy can be applied in the home or institutional setting, and can be learned by family, friends and professionals alike.  This also benefits caregivers — be they family, friends, or professionals. The ability to enjoy time together and to share a relationship, activities, and feelings with a person with dementia can be uplifting for everyone involved. (See more about Habilitation Therapy in an article Dr. Bier wrote)

Flower Essences

Flower essences are a gentle but effective healing modality that can address stress, trauma and emotional upset in people with chronic illnesses and their families/caregivers.  Usually available in health food stores and by mail order, they can be be a life saver for the emotional and mental strain of living with Alzheimers and dementia. They are not a substitute for proper medical or psychiatric care, but are used in addition to such attention. Dr. Bier is a widely-recognized authority on flower essences, and was the publisher and co-editor of the Vibration Magazine for 15 years, the online journal about flower essences.

Reiki & Jin Shin (Energy Healing Modalities)

(see more here) Energy healing modalities address our non-physical aspects, including our underlying life force, and how they manifest in emotional and mental upset.  They are wonderful for their calming effects, pain management, and overall stress management. They are simple and gentle, performed either for oneself or on another. They are not a substitute for proper medical or psychiatric care, but are used in addition to such attention. These modalities have gained a fairly wide acceptance. For example, Reiki is now taught and used in hospitals all over the world, and has been the subject of many research inquiries. Dr. Bier has been practicing Jin Shin for 25 years, and is a Kundilini Reiki Master Teacher.

See more here about the research on this topic, and how healing touch can be applied to dementia patients and their families. Also find out about Kundalini Reiki and Jin Shin classes and attunements.

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