Dementia - a Native American approach


Guest

23 Jun 2005, 19:29 #1

This is taken from a (for me) very helpful
article...
Many greetings
from
mari-la* BBW


ETHNOGERIATRIC
CURRICULUM MODULE
Health and Health
Care of
AMERICAN INDIAN AND
ALASKA
NATIVE ELDERS
www.stanford.edu/group/et...ndian.html

EXAMPLES OF AMERICAN
INDIAN/ALASKA NATIVE
EXPLANATORY MODELS FOR
DEMENTIA

Levanne R. Hendrix, MSN, GNP,
PhD

Although dementia is relatively rare in
American Indian elderly, it is anticipated that as
Indians’ life expectancy increases, so will the
incidence of dementia. Explanatory models vary from tribe
to tribe, and individual to individual. These are only
several reported examples:
1. Each
person is put on the earth for a short time for a
purpose. When that purpose is accomplished the person is
ready to leave this world. Death and illness are not
caused by others, and prolonged grieving prevents the
spirit from crossing over to the next world where there
is no pain, but peacefulness . Appropriate medical
treatment and death are discussed openly (Isleta Pueblo,
New Mexico). Dementia is a part of the Creator’s
plan for that person’s ultimate learning and may
not require intervention or help-seeking
(“naturalization” of cognitive impairment and
dementing behavior, with greater “tolerance”
for a wide range of behavior than white communities)
(Cherokee).
2. Dementia and illness
are caused by an imbalance in the patient’s
spiritual, emotional, and social environment. Speaking of
negative consequences (prognosis) to an illness can bring
those events to pass as thought and language have power
to shape reality (Bennahum, 1998). Dementia may be caused
by breaking a cultural taboo (e.g., a male speaking
directly to his mother-in-law, touching a dead person) by
the person with dementia or a family member. Treatment
may require the services of traditional Indian medicine
and not necessarily Western medicine (Navajo).
3. Dementia is a condition in which the
person’s spirit has already crossed over into the
next world, but the body remains behind as it prepares to
leave. The caregiver’s job is to take care of the
body until it is ready to leave, and this is sacred work.
The person is communicating in the spirit world, which is
why language and behavior appear to us as if overhearing
one side of a telephone conversation. In some Indian
communities this is a mark of elevated spiritual status
for the family (Oklahoma Choctaw).

4. Dementia is caused by the stress on Indians of trying
to live in two worlds at one time. Especially, the stress
of a rigid Christian belief system of traditionally
reservation-raised elderly, and the stress, over time, of
urban Indian living and family life. The lack of a
collective consciousness in Indian spiritual belief
dilutes the power of the Indian spiritual community and
allows stress to develop illness, of which dementia is
one form. Evidence is cited that dementia has been very
rare in elderly Indians in the past (Urban Lakota
Sioux).
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Guest

23 Jun 2005, 19:44 #2

Cinn, may I ask you whether you can share more
about dementia here? I remember that you have worked with
people a lot...
As I am working
with people with dementia, too - I am so much thankful
for any information on the spiritual level and how to
work with it, how to offer help... If anyone may share
more, it will be a gift... Thank you...
Greetings from
Mari-la*
BBW
Reply

SE Dream Dancer
Honored Member
Joined: 08 Jan 2005, 00:43

23 Jun 2005, 23:24 #3

I really appreciated reading this. It's something
I've always felt, that they were inbetween worlds - but
have never had verified.
Image
<br>
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Cinnamon Moon 1
Spirit Keeper
Joined: 16 Oct 2003, 23:40

24 Jun 2005, 02:27 #4

My training with dementia is along these lines,
that the spirit of the individual is focused in the
spirit realm and gradually spends more time there than
here in the mundane. It is honored as such and at times
they come back to the physical reality with their stories
to share. I've just always accepted it as such and
honored their *trance state* without disruption to
it....or as little as possible in caring for their
physical needs. I keep that part very simple, Mari-la. If
they become rational (if that's the proper way to put it)
I'll talk with them about their spiritual experiences,
they seem (in most cases) eager to share them, talking
about friends and relatives that they were with who had
crossedover long before them. It's lovely really. I know
it upsets the family but it's nothing to fear.
In many cases this type of thing shows up with
anyone who is about to Drop their Robe as well. Usually
in those cases it's about 3-7 days prior to that. You can
see the person is focused in another dimension, it's as
if they are looking through the walls. Sometimes they
will speak and at other times I see them nodding their
heads in response to conversations I can't here. I can at
times feel the presence of others in the room but they
tend to reveal themselves to the individual more than to
me. Fragrances and energy signatures are very clear
though.
I hope this helps because
it's not always limited to the dementia patients, this
can happen to anyone. In the case of dementia
specifically I'd have to say I agree with what you've
posted completely.Image To
Be A Feather In Spirit's Wing.
Image
~To Be A Feather In Spirit's Wing~

Image
Reply

Guest

24 Jun 2005, 02:53 #5

Image Thank you
for your answer, Cinn...
You
wrote:
Quote:
It
is honored as such and at times they come back to the
physical reality with their stories to
share.
Cinn, this is an important
information for me. Yes, I have experienced this, too -
but things becomes more clear now and it is really
helpful.
Quote:
I've
just always accepted it as such and honored their *trance
state* without disruption to it....or as little as
possible in caring for their physical
needs.
A trance state - oh, yes, this
explains a lot, this it is...
Quote:
If
they become rational (if that's the proper way to put it)
I'll talk with them about their spiritual experiences,
they seem (in most cases) eager to share them, talking
about friends and relatives that they were with who had
crossedover long before them. It's lovely really. I know
it upsets the family but it's nothing to
fear.
Cinn, what you write here - it is
what I have experienced, too... I experienced them seeing
people who are dead (or not there) - and the family could
not understand. When they shared what they saw I felt as
if a door to another world was open - I felt blessed and
touched so much. I also felt the presence of the others,
and I felt to take care to say "good
bye" to them before we left the room - and also
not to run over them... *soft smile* It is helpful that
you share, Cinn. Thank you.
What you
shared about the dying:
Quote:
In
many cases this type of thing shows up with anyone who is
about to Drop their Robe as well. Usually in those cases
it's about 3-7 days prior to that.
This opens up new views for me at the
things - and I will work with the aspects of dementia and
the dying process - to "see" and
experience in working with it how and where the signs are
similar/equal...
I will be with it
and sit with it and work with it - and I will be glad to
come back if new questions arise... Often I need a
"link" between aspects/things - and
then things will unfold as far as I can hold it. I feel
that an important link came with your post.

Greetings to you...
Mari-la* BBW
Reply

Cinnamon Moon 1
Spirit Keeper
Joined: 16 Oct 2003, 23:40

24 Jun 2005, 03:27 #6

I work with people on this level in my own ways,
Mari-la, according to the teachings I've received, and
they are collaborated in books or the Old Ways of the NA
people, but come to me from the Elders who teach me to
walk my path first before I find the physical validations
elsewhere. *S*
What I've been
taught and have found to be the case is that whenever
someone is about to cross they are met by those whom they
know. Sometimes they fear that, knowing these are
departed spirits and my job is to bridge the way to
understanding it, helping them make peace with their
process. For others they embrace it and understand and
are almost eager to move on. It ranges widely. But the
fact remains that as they are tended on this side they
are simultaneously greeted and made welcome on the
otherside too.
Their sight and
vision go beyond the veil that marks the dimensional
realms and they walk between the worlds as we do, but for
them it is strange and an unknown place. Because we are
comfortable with that state of being we can explain it to
them. One of my favorite quotes is: "There is no
death, only a change of worlds" by Chief
Seattle. It opens their eyes to the fact that there is
more ahead of them, at least the possibility of the life
after death concept and as these spirits come to greet
them they begin to see it for themselves.
It's not at all complicated and the simpler
you keep it for them the better even when your
understanding exceeds theirs. Sometimes simply telling
them you do understand is enough and they give themselves
permission to accept it. Peace of mind, heart, and spirit
come swiftly to them then.
For
those who have not had such experiences but are
terminally ill and need to prepare for them...those
individuals I take into guided visualization to meet
their Guides. I bridge the way for people one way or
another like this and when they enter into even the
slightest spiritual understanding they begin to see it as
good, some even as an exciting adventure and they embrace
very quickly. It takes patience to get them there
sometimes but once you do it's all good. They look
forward to our conversations then as there is someone who
really understands to share with and that helps them
assimilate...it opens the way for more to be shared so
they understand better too.
If
someone is from a traditional religious background I
present these matters as my own and offer to allow them
to share in an exercise. Once they accept I take them
into it fully. I don't force the issue. If they feel it's
sinful or shameful then I'll talk to them in terms they
can understand. Deceased relatives and friends are then
expressed as part of the angelic realm and that they can
embrace. It has to fit their needs, it's all One anyway,
but bridging the way is what's important and we just need
to do it in ways that make them comfortable. I hope this
helps you some. It's how I work with people and what I've
been guided to do. ImageImage To
Be A Feather In Spirit's Wing.
Image
~To Be A Feather In Spirit's Wing~

Image
Reply

Guest

24 Jun 2005, 13:28 #7

Image Cinn,

thank you so much for your post. As
I am on the way to Bremen right now I will not be here
today - but I will sit with quiet time to be with your
post, then.
This night I was
assimilating in first steps all the aspects that came the
last days/weeks (also in daily life here and from
"Our Life" and dear Owl) - also so much
from Crow´s sharing, the article I found about
dementia and taking care of the Elders (and of young
people), BIM´s sharing about Ground Zero, my work
with the people and and and - all for me walks hand in
hand, and I am sitting and bringing things together
now... I am looking forward to work with your post with
much more quiet time.
Image may spread
the sweetness of life for you...

Mari-la* BBW
Reply

Minna EarthKeeper
Honored Member
Joined: 02 May 2004, 08:55

24 Jun 2005, 22:48 #8

Cinnamon, since you have worked with this i wanted
to ask you. When you have worked with a person who for a
long time has seemed to be 'not here', when you speak
with your ordinary outside voice, do you think the
person's spirit can hear you?
I talk
to my Father and tell him things about Home. When his
brilliant brain was working better he was an agnostic.
But maybe he's forgotten that.
I
know ~ i don't feel like i have to 'save him' any more.
But i wish that i could help ease him if there is
remaining fear.
I give him Reiki
when i visit him.
One time during a
Reiki session, in my mind i saw the two of us dancing to
an old standard tune. In real life this would have been
impossible. He never danced. Then, in my mind, the scene
changed, and he and my mother were dancing. They were
both about 35, and young and happy. It was a good
vision.
I think i've told you this
last part before, but it seemed to fit in with my post
now.
Anyway, do you think that a
demented person's spirit can hear us when we talk to
them, maybe even when their ears or mind can't?
Love, minna ImageImage
Sweet Spirit, 'Let the beauty we
love be what we do' ~~ Rumi
ImageHowya doin?  :)
Reply

Cinnamon Moon 1
Spirit Keeper
Joined: 16 Oct 2003, 23:40

25 Jun 2005, 01:43 #9

Yes, Minna, I do believe their spirit hears us and
understands. The awareness is linking to the collective
at that time and we're a part of that too. *S* Whether
it's dementia, altzheimer's, or coma, speaking with their
Higher Self is always possible IMHO. Even modern medicine
encourages visitors to speak with these patients. Think
about the accounts of near-death-experiences people have
while out under anesthesia in surgery or from accidents
where they recount the details of events and who was
present, who said what. Those examples are quite profuse
in recorded case files too. So yes, by all means, I
believe the spirit hears and responds as it needs
to.
When someone crosses the rites
of funeral release the spirit of the individual. But we
call them back just thinking about them and can hold them
with our grief, with our longing, with our resentment if
there is an issue of forgiveness unresolved. I've had
personal experience with being reminded of the need to
release. It really is all connected through the Oneness,
and in that light there is higher awareness that we as
physical beings may not always be able to witness, yet we
can still be a party to it. So keep talking to your
father, and give thanks for the blessings of the visions
you are given. Perhaps he is sending you his thoughts so
you know that he wants you to have that image to hold
onto now? It wouldn't surprise me at
all.
Image To
Be A Feather In Spirit's Wing.
Image
~To Be A Feather In Spirit's Wing~

Image
Reply

Guest

25 Jun 2005, 04:27 #10

Hello to you all Image
,
having just come back from a
wonderful (sunny sunny) day at Bremen, it was really
helpful to share again with people there about dementia.
It was with people I have worked with together for a
longer time (we took care of others with dementia). I
hope to be back to the topic, soon - and I just wanted to
share that this thread had brought forward helpful
sharing together today, too... Image
Mari-la* BBW
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