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Tue, Nov 26 1:56pm · Involving Caregivers in the Dementia Healthcare Team in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Family Caregiver PictureAn excellent article was recently released by USAgainstAlzheimer’s and Mayo Clinic that highlights the vital role our caregivers play in dementia care. We know how important caregivers are, and we are excited to see them getting the attention they deserve in articles like this.

They proposed seven “best practices” for engaging caregivers in treating those with dementia:

  1. Build rapport with the caregiver as well as the patient
  2. Acknowledge the caregiver’s role, and assess their capacity to be the caregiver
  3. Talk directly to the person with dementia, but also allow the caregiver separate time to share concerns
  4. Improve provider knowledge and ability to communicate their knowledge to caregivers
  5. Assess caregiver needs and provide resources for support
  6. Coordinate care between members of the healthcare team
  7. Train providers in how to resolve conflicts between caregivers and the person with dementia.

Some of these best practices seem readily achievable:  building rapport, acknowledging and giving the caregiver space to talk freely, making sure the provider is well trained and can coordinate care with a healthcare team. These are skills that most healthcare providers have, or can readily achieve.

The other best practices are important, but, in my opinion, most primary providers will likely need help from a support team to do them justice: assessing the caregiver’s capacity to care and caregiver needs and helping resolve conflicts between the caregiver and the person with dementia. Don’t get me wrong, those are IMPORTANT goals, but these goals also take more time or require a set of skills of the provider that not all primary doctors will have.  This is where nursing staff, social workers, psychologists, and neuropsychologists can come in.  This is also an important part of our work with our new caregivers in the HABIT Program.  (Don’t know about HABIT?  Click here to find out).

The input we get from our caregivers when a person with dementia is no longer able to communicate all of their needs is essential.  We also have to realize as providers that our patients don’t exist in some blackhole or isolation:  there are very often people going through this disease with them.  We need to take care of those caregivers as well so that they can help us care for their loved one with dementia.

Connect with other caregivers caring for people living with dementia in the Caregivers: Dementia group on Mayo Clinic Connect.

See the Mayo link to the article summary here:

The need for healthcare providers to engage Alzheimer’s caregivers

If you want to look up the full article, this is the reference:

Griffin JM, Riffin C, Havyer RD, Biggar VS, Comer M, Frangiosa TL, BangerterLR. Integrating Family Caregivers of People With Alzheimer’s Disease andDementias into Clinical Appointments: Identifying Potential Best Practices. JAppl Gerontol. 2019 Oct 11:733464819880449. doi: 10.1177/0733464819880449.


Tue, Nov 12 9:37am · Repost: To Medicate or Not to Medicate for MCI: That is the Question in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Man Getting Medications

As this is always a popular topic of discussion during HABIT, I thought I would re-post the link to this excellent piece Dr. Locke wrote for us earlier in the year in case you missed it:


Fri, Oct 25 3:59pm · Appreciation from (and to) A Recent Graduate in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Hi @barbb – We definitely love to work with widows and widowers! The rehab approach we use in HABIT needs the support of a partner after HABIT is done to really stick. @debbraw is right, we encourage folks to think of other family and friends who may be (or share the job) of being the partner. We've even had paid caregivers attend with patients. We do wish we had something to offer those who truly have no one to ask.

Tue, Oct 22 2:47pm · Appreciation from (and to) A Recent Graduate in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Fishing Lures

We just finished HABIT in Jacksonville, and a participant allowed me to post a wonderful message he and his wife wrote to us in a thank you card.

Dear Drs. Chandler, Oskarsson, Tran, and Michelle, Miranda, and Carolyne:

Imagine an entire team of compassionate professionals focused on helping our loved ones live their best lives. Over the last 10 days, these dedicated super stars taught us “how to fish” so we could actually take the steps, make the commitment and start down the path to live our best lives. 

Thank you for all you have taught us and for showing us this path.

We admire you and will always appreciate how you have made a differences in our lives.

With much gratitude,

Linda & Marc

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”  Dalai Lama

“It is a huge edge, sometimes life-saving, to adopt a good idea early and put it into practice.” Brandon Webb

And from Us:

Linda & Marc –

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your lives and journey! Facilitating HABIT truly allows us to get a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives. For that, we thank you, and all our HABIT Alumni.  


The Florida HABIT Team



Tue, Oct 15 2:59pm · We're All in HABIT! in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Hunter Moon

A rare event, like Halley’s Comet or an orange Hunter’s moon rising over the ocean (which we had here in Jacksonville by the way over the weekend!), all three of our Mayo HABIT sites are currently in session!  Which means, this will be only a brief hello to all our visitors and followers and to wish you all well.

We are busy helping more folks who can then hopefully join us here and add to the conversation!

Check back next week for another story!

Tue, Sep 24 12:15pm · Way To Go Arizona! in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Arizona HABIT Team

I want to congratulate Arizona on completing today 5 out of 7 HABIT sessions so far this year!  Arizona has done such a wonderful job of getting the message of HABIT out in the Phoenix area that it has resulted in amazing demand for the program.  Such a demand, in fact, that they have almost doubled the number of sessions offered there! (Most HABIT sites offer the program 4 times a year.)

We understand how much work goes into making that happen, so hats off to you, Dr. Locke, and the whole Arizona team.  Way to set the bar!!!

Wed, Sep 18 2:56pm · Repost: What's a Driving Evaluation and Why Should I Take One? in Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

Driving Eval OK

Happy almost Fall!  Here in Jacksonville it doesn’t feel like fall at all, but I can look forward to cooler temperatures soon, right?

Well, that aside, I had a conversation about driving with a patient and his wife just today, and it is a common point of discussion. So, I thought it would be a good time to revisit this on the blog as well. Enjoy!

What’s a Driving Evaluation and Why Should I Take One?