Megan Carnarius, a local author and expert in the field of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, presented highlights from her book, “A Deeper Perspective on Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: Practical Tools and Spiritual Insights,” to a group of about 30 people who gathered at Congregation Har HaShem on Wednesday, March 30.
“Thirty years ago people didn’t want to talk about Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Megan explained. But now Megan is playing a role in changing the conversation. “People are very afraid. The diagnosis can feel like too much. But there’s a lot of preparation time if you are paying attention.”
Megan has worked in the memory care field for more than 30 years and managed the first memory care nursing setting in Boulder County. During her presentation, she addressed every stage—from early to terminal—of dementia, and provided insights to assist the person with diagnosis as well as their caregivers. Megan’s perspective on people with dementia is that “the whole spirit is in there and functioning.” Her work is “to help caregivers figure out the person with dementia’s essence even though he or she is having this experience of memory loss.”
She encourages caregivers to assess whether or not they are the right person to be shouldering the bulk of care for the person diagnosed with dementia. Megan is also a firm believer in self-care for caregivers. “Ask yourself what creates effervescence in you so you can connect to your humor,” she advises.
Finding humor in difficult situations, not taking things personally, and being present with your loved ones were the lessons Megan learned over the course of working with more than 350 people diagnosed with a form of dementia.
The evening event was sponsored by Boulder Jewish Family Service, Congregation Har HaShem and Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education. To find out more about Megan Carnarius, please visit www.megancarnarius.com
-Emily Andrews, Boulder JFS development associate