What Happens When Teepa Goes to Evansville and Carbondale?
People gather, people connect, people learn, and people commit themselves to trying something new or doing something different! In Evansville, over 250, yet again! Five years in a row and they are still coming! Most are there for the first time, and getting energized!
The Southern Illinois Wellness Foundation joins with John A Logan College and so many others to bring family members, professionals, first responders, police officers, and community providers together to address the concerns of rural elders and PLwD!
Over 250 people showed up between the two sessions!
What else happens?
Someone will undoubtedly be shocked at her language at times! In her sessions, Teepa usually swears with intensity and on purpose! Why? Because it is time to stop pretending that dementia doesn’t change well-behaved and well-mannered people in ways that surprise us and that we don’t like. One common change is that language abilities change dramatically over time. While people will almost always rob people of vocabulary words, comprehension skills, and speech production skills, they will frequently sustain their ability to chit-chat, sing, pick-up on tone of voice, and vocalize distress, including forbidden words! Let’s agree to dislike dementia, but accept the need to be curious about what caused the words to come out, rather than automatically try to correct the behavior!
So what else happens when Teepa comes to town?
At least a few people learn new ways of reducing distress and respond to verbal requests with greater skill! The use of reflections, empathy, “Tell me more about it”, “Is it this or something else?” , and “Could yo show me what you do with it?” become shared phrases and familiar words!
What Else Happens?
We all learn together! We laugh, we cry, we greet, and most importantly, we practice treating one another with the care and respect that every single people in the world deserves, whether they live with dementia or are simply trying to live along side it!
Its not rocket science, but there is a science and art behind it all! And when Teepa comes to town, we all get to figure out what we discover, something we might have simply missed or misunderstood!
Mostly, she encourages us to listen with our hearts as well as our ears!