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Trauma Informed Care
Friday, August 16, 2013
I teach a course with the objective of understanding how trauma affects behavior, cognition, development, thinking, and brain function. It is usually geared for mental health workers but I believe it has as much value for everyday living at home and working with families in the community. Trauma changes brain function, so people may not be able to think through what they are feeling and act to reduce or eliminate a feeling they are not safe.
I have given a lot of thought to this for the population of dementia. Most of us have at one time or another experienced trauma; an accident, a death, a betrayal, loss of a loved job, function, etc. The person with a diagnosis of dementia and his family are experiencing trauma. Life is changed forever. Relationships have to be reworked to fit the abilities of the person with dementia. It is a hard time. Then if the caregiver is a person with a trauma history it becomes even more complicated a picture. As a coach and former family therapist I am aware of the complexity of coaching families in crisis. The only solution to this crisis is education and emotional and practical support through the experience. In addition, every family is different, unique, and needs to be taken individually. One can read everything on dementia care and still be unable to solve the problems of everyday life with a family member with dementia. I've been through it twice in my own family and saw the angst of family members expressed. Each person responded differently, making relationships confusing. Coaching can help. A support group can help. Find one.
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