“Is That a Horsie in Your Hand?”: Communication and Listening Skills
What My Grandchildren Taught Me about Alzheimer’s Disease - Dana Olivia Dunn Territo
Dana Olivia Dunn Territo [+]
Advocate for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease
Dana Olivia Dunn Territo has always shared a passion and love for the older generation, particularly those affected with Alzheimer’s disease. For over 30 years she has worked and advocated for this population. She was on the committee that started the first Alzheimer’s Walk Fundraiser in Baton Rouge and the original Activity Director in the first Alzheimer’s secured unit in a nursing home in the city. She later served as an advisor to build Louisiana’s first Alzheimer’s Social Model Day Respite Center, a center of which she subsequently worked as director and one that was later nationally recognized. She has served on local, state, and national organizations promoting quality care for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease, and her programs and training curricula she developed for Alzheimer’s care have helped caregivers and healthcare professionals alike to meander the arduous journey of the disease. Since 2013, Dana has voluntarily written a weekly Alzheimer’s Question and Answer column in The Advocate, a Baton Rouge-based newspaper with a circulation of over 98,000.
There are tremendous obstacles in trying to communicate with an individual with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. Stepping into the individual’s reality, overlooking language deficits, learning to listen attentively, and promoting communication in non-threatening and encouraging ways are key components in gaining a reciprocal communicative relationship between the caregiver and the affected individual.