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The Birches Assisted Living

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Birches Assisted Living’s Free Program Offers Practical Tips for More Meaningful Dementia Communication

On Wednesday, October 11, The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills will host a presentation titled “Creating Meaningful Moments for Someone with Dementia" led by certified recreational therapist and certified dementia practitioner Rachelle Blough.

Clarendon Hills, IL, October 11, 2017 --( On Wednesday, October 11, The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills will host the second presentation in its three-part fall dementia education series. The presentation is titled “Creating Meaningful Moments for Someone with Dementia” and will be led by certified recreational therapist and certified dementia practitioner Rachelle Blough. It will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at The Birches, located at 215 55th St. Clarendon Hills.

Blough, who has over 20 years of experience in dementia education and training, says she devoted her career to teaching more meaningful approaches for dementia communication so she could improve the lives of those living with the disease.

“I did an internship at an adult daycare specializing in people with dementia, and I fell in love,” said Blough. “I love providing practical ways to improve the lives of seniors living with dementia.”

Since dementia severely impacts thinking and communication skills, connecting with people who have the disease can get increasingly difficult as the disease progresses. But Blough encourages the caregivers and family members who attend her presentations to close the communication gap by implementing several specific, practical approaches for more meaningful communication. She starts with sensitivity exercises that help others understand what it’s like to live with the disease.

“This helps people gain the compassion and information they need to improve the quality of life of their loved one,” said Blough.

Blough also helps participants create individualized plans for communicating with their loved one based on their preferences, personal history and past jobs. These plans involve engaging people with dementia in tasks that give them a sense of purpose and make them feel useful. This can even include simple activities like folding clothes, sorting through a junk drawer or making a gift for someone.

Another helpful communication tool Blough uses is a concept known as intuitive communication support. People with dementia often become fixated on certain thoughts that cause them worry or stress. But intuitive communication support includes a simple technique that can ease their worry and discomfort. When away from a loved one with dementia, Blough encourages family members and caregivers to pre-record reassuring messages related to their loved one’s persistent concerns or fixations. That way, whoever is caring for them at the time can play those messages and make them feel more comfortable and relaxed.

For those in the later stages of dementia who are no longer able to communicate verbally, Blough will offer tips for connecting in nonverbal ways too. This includes tapping into a person with dementia’s favorite sensory experiences, including their favorite sights, sounds and smells.

In the end, Blough hopes these tips will make life more meaningful and enjoyable not only for those living with dementia but for those caring for them as well.

“I hope that people will gain a nugget of wisdom or two that will impact the quality of life for both the person living with the disease and the caregiver,” said Blough.

If you’d like to learn more tips for communicating meaningfully with someone who has dementia, consider attending “Creating Meaningful Moments for Someone with Dementia” with Rachelle Blough. The presentation is free and open to the public, but registration is required. To register, contact Katie Schaff Fagan at or 630-581-7350.

The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill. offers professional services to support the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual growth of the older adults who make it their home. The Birches offers purposeful programming and activities designed to promote a healthy aging lifestyle and a strong sense of community. For more information about The Birches, call 630-789-1135 or visit:
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The Birches Assisted Living
Jenny Smiechowski

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