Karen Stobbe’s dad was diagnosed with dementia more than 25 years ago and since that time, she has dedicated her life and skills as a theater professional into training others. “I went to every workshop, conference, and read every book. I wrote a performance about caregiving, then wrote a book, and then created my first training website. It began to feel like I was slowly crossing a river from theater to health care, putting down another stepping stone as I needed to move forward.”
After her father died, her mother was diagnosed with dementia, and along with her husband Mondy and her daughter Grace, they cared for her mother for 10 years in their home. “Now Mondy’s parents are moving in with us. So here goes our next adventure,” she says.
Can you share a personal experience relating to your methods/training? I use interactive techniques to train. I believe people learn more by doing than by only listening.
I also use improv exercises to train all types of caregivers. With my mom, we really practiced the improv guideline of ‘go with the flow’. Basically, in improv ‘go with the flow’ refers to whatever suggestion is thrown at you — go with it. No saying no. No denying the reality the other person has set up on stage. Go with what is happening. Same thing for being with a person living with dementia. My daughter was listening to music and Mom asked her who was playing. Mom said she knew them. The Beatles. And not just knew them, but dated them. We could have said, “Mom, there is no way you knew the Beatles. And no way you dated any of them.” But why? Who was it hurting that she was saying this? You just go with it and listen to her tell her stories.
Want to hear Karen speak on more personal experiences?
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