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Stop #2 on the #BeingBrainHealthy #VirtualBookTour: Conversations in Care

20 Aug

You are more likely to know someone walking through the fog of brain injury than you are to know someone with cancer.

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Really, you are.  Think about this:

  • 1.8 million people each year are diagnosed in the Emergency Room each and every year with brain injury from some kind of blow to the head
  • 700,000 people have strokes that have some thinking deficits as part of the package, each and every year

Add to that the fact that no one really keep stats on those brain injuries related to chemo-therapy, anesthesia, medications, and neurological diseases that pop up each and every year. Now consider unknown number of combat-related brain injuries and all those brain injuries that are still significant but not diagnosed in the ER (like mine).

Trust me. You know someone who has had a brain injury.

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In today’s featured broadcast on the Being Brain Healthy Virtual Book Tour I speak with an amazing woman, Tami Neuman from the Care Radio Network and host of Conversations in Care. Tami has  years of experience caring for dementia patients and she really gets it that “reality” (yes those are air quotes) is not the same for everyone and that support for those with brain challenges is best given with a healthy dose of compassion and joy.

In addition to everyday brain health and turning up the noise on life, Tami and I spoke about promoting dignity, self-respect, and understanding for those we are supporting by treating each as intelligent, vibrant adults. We talked about how I realized one day that we all (yes all of us) speak to people who are struggling to think or understand as if they were children – we speak slowly and clearly using simple, tiny words – and that is just not OK.

Listen in our conversation HERE.  Warning: Listening to Conversations in Care may be habit forming!

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What have you noticed about how people change when they care for others?

Here’s to remembering to put dignity, self-respect, and quality of life at the core of caring for others.

Storytelling & Travel: Getting to the Heart of What Matters

24 Mar

This is the fourth in a series of pieces on how volunteering in Anse la Raye, St. Lucia with Global Volunteers, working toward raising the IQ of a nation, fundamentally changed my husband Dan and me. The two weeks we spent on the island in this village made us reach well beyond where we thought we were capable of going and moved us so far outside our comfort zones that we had to change how we “saw” the world. 

Traveling is not just about going and doing but is also about taking a deeper look at how others live. For us it is also about peeking into another culture, and by doing so, opening our world to alternate ways of thinking, processing information, and looking at the world. Your brain works different each time you change the lens you use to see the world.  And that is huge.

On our trip to Anse la Raye, St. Lucia with Global Volunteers, we were more deeply immersed in the local culture than most travel experiences. We were asked to adapt and accept the local ways of life at face value without questioning so this was not your typical tourist experience.

What we learned from this experience opened up a new slant on life that really was just a shift in perspective based on history as an island deeply rooted in slavery. Anse la Raye’s culture grew out of both pre- and post-independence, and those shared values fuel daily life for all. Those are simply the facts — no judgement, no reinterpretations.

We know that story telling fires up so many areas in the brain. So does looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. Here is a brain exercise that will help you fuel your brain a bit today. Look at the photos below. Try to imagine you are the person in the photo living in the scene. Write a caption for each photo based on what you see and feel.

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Can you imagine yourself in these scenes?

 

What captions did you write? Share a few in the comments!

 

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