#BellLetsTalk Day

From as far back as I can remember, I can always recall feeling… well, not “right” for lack of a better term. Not sick. Not depressed. Not hurt. Just… something was missing. I didn’t know what it was, I didn’t know how or who to talk to about it & I just assumed that this was a normal part of growing up. I always told myself that when I was older, it would go away. When I was in highschool, things would be better. When I went to college I would be fine. When I graduated and started working I would be normal. Yeah… so much for that plan.

I never felt like I fit in. Not with my friends, and even my own family at some times. It was never a matter of being popular. I never cared if someone had something I didn’t. Money was never a concern to me. It had nothing to do with physical material things that we all sometimes envy of others. I was uncomfortable being me. I wanted to be you. It didn’t matter to me if you were rich, poor, black, white, perfect, odd. It wasn’t me & that’s who I was trying so desperately to get away from. Myself.

Slowly… and I mean painfully slow, this feeling developed into something far more disturbing. I was sad. I was angry. I was scared. And I constantly felt alone… the scariest part was not knowing why. There was no logical reason. I had everything: Loving parents. Friends. School. A job. Clothing. … etc etc etc. Yet these feelings continued to grow and I didn’t know how to stop it. And I was scared to breathe a word of it to anyone.

Food repulsed me. During my lowest times I didn’t want to eat. I stopped seeing my friends. I made excuses to avoid the outside world. To avoid life. Because at this point I didn’t feel like I was living. And to make matters worse I didn’t want to live. I wanted to sleep and every time I woke up I was disappointed that I had. I had suicidal thoughts. My mind played games on me trying to convince me to do it and then guilt tripping me into stopping.

I knew something was wrong. Was I insane? I thought I was. So I went to Google & looked up every symptom I could possibly think of that I was experiencing and all of it led to one word: Depression.

So this was Depression. I finally had a label which alieviated the feelings of insanity but I was still too scared to talk about it. To who? My parents? The people who have given me everything? Why should I be depressed? Would they understand? Would anybody?

8 years later, after being forcibly dragged to the doctors by mother & then telling said doctor off, I finally feel ok. I have bad days here and there. But I can manage them. I’m no longer scared to talk about this. To voice my experience with a terrifying and debilitating illness which would have probably taken my life if something wasn’t done.

It’s serious. It’s scary. And I KNOW there are more of you out there.
You know me as apswlife. As a friend. As a daughter. As a friend. As a girlfriend. As a PSW.
But you’ll also know me as having Depression. It’s not something that just disappears. It’s a part of me. It’s made me stronger. It’s enabled me to help & relate to others going through the same thing.

Today is #BellLetsTalk Day and for every tweet & text with that hashtag, Bell will donate 5 cents toward Mental Health initiatives in Canada. This is my story. I’m not afraid any more & I don’t care if this makes you uncomfortable.

This is what ending the stigma is all about.

The Montessori Way

I am excited. Ha, well, I’m almost ALWAYS excited when I write in here because I LOVE spreading the word of great opportunities in apswlife!
In March I am taking a 6 hour Montessori Approach To Dementia Course in Toronto curtosy of PEAK College. These guys are something else. After meeting with with them several times I have some serious excitement jitters. Their approach to dealing with Dementia is unlike anything I have seen before and as a PSW I am super super hyped to have the opportunity to take this course.
Wanna join me? Seriously. Do you? IF I were you I would. For $150 you get an amazing experience & opportunity. AND if you’re an OPSWA PSW – you get another $25 off!

Here’s the deal:

Course Date: March 1st Time: 2pm-7pm Where: PEAK College, Sheppard Ave. Toronto

Montessori Implementation Workshop Outline
All About Dementia
– Understanding the different types of dementia and their characteristics.
– The effects of dementia
– Risk factors
-Executive Functioning. What it is and understanding its important relevance when caring
for a person with dementia.
– About Alzheimer’s, Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body dementia and Frontal Temporal
Dementia.

A Challenging Job
– Address the challenges in the PSWs daily job while working with residents that have dementia.
– Looking at long term care and its current approach to dementia
– Paint a better looking picture for PSWs caring for resident’s with dementia

Behaviors
– Discuss the behaviors including aggression that resident’s display
-Explore the reasons for the behaviors
– Become enlightened by the reasons for the behaviors

Long Term Memory System
– Learn how the memory system works in the human brain
-Understand the differences in the brain’s memory system
– Montessori Approach and the connection to the brain’s memory system

Why Montessori?
– Learn how the original methods where developed and why
– The impacts Montessori had had in our world and how it relates to all attending the workshop
– Montessori Benefits
– Humans and the need for a sense of accomplishment and contribution
– Finding the person behind the dementia
– Theory of the Montessori Approach when caring for a person with dementia
– The resident and the 8 Montessori keys
– Explore various activities in all areas of life.
– Understand how Montessori activities engage a person and the importance of these simple
activities.
– See the inspiring Montessori successes in LTC, Retirement Homes and Hospitals
– Using your personal talents in your job
– Improve the quality of resident care using Montessori

The Prepared Environment
– Understand the need for a prepared environment for all human beings. Even more so for a
person with dementia.
– Complete step by step instructions on how to prepare the environment for resident with
dementia in any setting.
– Step by step on how to approach a resident with dementia and the appropriate conduct for such
residents.
How to Become a Facilitator
– Understand the role of a facilitator
– Making your job a lot easier using Montessori
– Facilitating your residents when there are no programs.
– Avoiding behaviors before they happen
– Deescalating behaviors in residents
– A look at roles and routines – easy access
– Engaging multiple residents at one time
– Adult talk, adult activity
– The use of tactile objects to engage a person with dementia and the brilliance behind it.

Physical Resident Care Using Montessori
– A step by step instruction on the various types of care needs for residents with dementia
including bathing, toileting, feeding, dressing and oral hygiene
-The use of visual cues
– Proper respect and conduct when physically caring for a resident with dementia
– Care cards – a successful way to address and engage a resident in physical care
– Recognizable cues for residents. What works and what doesn’t
– Encouraging independence. Learn all the tricks
– The dining room experience

If you’re interested in signing up for this amazing course, email me snucci@opswa.com

I’ll be there & I CANNOT wait to to do this.
Tell your friends.

Walk For Memories

Yesterday was the Alzheimer Society’s Walk For Memories in Cambridge, Ontario & for the first time in my life I took part. I was excited not only because this was for a cause I believe in but because it was my first walk for anything. A lot of people were there for a cold Sunday night – luckily the entire event took place in doors. Our team was OPSWA – obviously – and Miranda & I were there representing our PSWs in stride.

Donations are still being accepted until March 31st so if you have some spare dollars… well, I won’t tell you what to do with it. But here’s the website anyway http://www.walkformemories.ca (Our Team name is OPSWA) 🙂

Old Thoughts.

The smell is different from that of a nursing home. Adherence to extreme sanitation measures is present. Probably covering up the layers of stale urine from days gone by. I’m not comfortable in this type of environment at all. I’m not entirely sure why, but hospitals always seem to be in a hurry. Nurses walk at the speed of light & doctors look pensive with their clipboards.

I’m here as a professional and as a friend who would do anything to help another friend out. The woman I am sitting beside isn’t the woman I once knew. She looks more or less the same,if not a little older. Aging elegantly like a fine wine. Her eyes sparkle when she smiles. She doesn’t remember me at all. I’m used to this at work, not with people I once knew. 

New Year, New PSW!

Man do I ever miss writing in here. I’ve had so many ideas over the last couple of months & sadly I hadn’t the chance to express them. Reason one being because I was & still am extremely busy with work (well, and life) & reason 2 is I spilled soup on my laptop’s keyboard. Duh, right? I’m currently on someone else’s working computer so I thought I would take advantage!

Now, where to start?

apswlife has been getting a lot of recognition & I am so thrilled and excited for the opportunities a head of me! I am in partnership with OPSWA and cannot wait to attend and SPEAK at their annual conference this year! Not only do I love working as a PSW in LTC, but I love talking about it to anyone who will listen. I say it like it is. It’s a tough job for tough people & frankly not everyone is cut out for it. But that goes a long with all sorts of jobs now doesn’t it?

So aside from planning the conference, I’ve been working my little – well, slightly big – bum off in LTC with my beautiful beautiful residents. We’ve had some more passings since last I wrote in here. Some surprising, others not so much. To be honest, I’m surprised at the longevity some of these people have! One of my favourite’s will be turning 100 at the end of this month and I am so super excited to celebrate with her. It’s true what they say, age really IS just a number. She’s so full of spunk and positivity. Sometimes I feel like such a dud at the ripe old age of 29!