Vicky Pitner is a CTRS, Certified Dementia Practitioner, and Memory Care Consultant and Trainer and has been a champion for supporting people living with dementia and their families for over 40 years in both clinical and community settings. Recognizing that early intervention is key to maintaining a life of quality and that the stigma of dementia, for the individual and the family, is the most significant barrier for families to not seek help prior or after a dementia diagnoses, she developed "Friends and Family Approach to Living with Neurocognive Disorders: Providing Support with L.O.V.E.”
Vicky believes that by shifting the paradigm from “suffering with dementia” to “living with dementia”, family members can stop identifying as a “caregiver”and maintain relationships as a spouse, daughter, son, or friend. Providing choices, encouraging autonomy, showing respect, recognizing their strengths and modifying tasks to ensure success is key while in the moment to create joyful shared experiences.
By exploring the differences in the Medical Model and the Social Model to treating memory loss and the other challenges in a dementia diagnosis, you and your loved one can decide which approach is best for your family. Maintaining physical functioning can lead to the ability to care for yourself longer, and studies show that attributes to quality of life for both the individual and the family.
People living with memory loss can lead a life of quality, but it requires a commitment from friends and families to learn and practice new skills. It is our job to speak so they understand, listen so they feel understood, and maintain healthy relationships so they want to share, and engage and stay connected.