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A Caregiver for Seniors Asks about Imagery for Her Client with Dementia

21 Mar
A caregiver for seniors asks: My alert, very pleasant and remarkable 95-year-old client has been diagnosed with dementia and just had hip surgery. What guided imagery would you recommend I share with her?
your sixth senseQuestion:

Dear Belleruth,
I enjoy your CD''s immensely!!! A friend shared one of them with me and I am purchasing the book, Your Sixth Sense. You have a wonderful voice!! I am a care giver for seniors. I would like to have your suggestion of which one to share with my 95 yr old client. She has been diagnosed with Dementia and has had hip surgery. She is alert and very pleasant to be with, and likes going out on a daily basis.....She is REMARKABLE!!


Dear Bonita,

And she is lucky to have someone like you appreciative, respectful and caring - looking after her!

One of the truly great things about guided imagery is that much of it is received through the more primitive avenues in the brain, circuits unaffected by dementia. The survival structures in the mid brain and brain stem that react to stress and alarm can be profoundly impacted by a calming voice tone and soothing music, whether there is a cognitive understanding of the words and ideas or not (or an in-and-out understanding). This is also why guided imagery can be so useful to listeners who are developmentally disabled or who have other kinds of cognitive impairments and limitations.

So, basically, what I''m suggesting is that she''s a great candidate for guided imagery, regardless of the topic, because she’ll be reacting more to the nonverbal aspects over the actual content. But probably some of the more suitable ones would be Relaxation and Wellness, Healthful Sleep and General Wellness.

Relaxation and WellnessHealthful SleepGeneral Wellness

I''d try one first and see how she responds before springing for a whole batch. (There''s always a chance she could find the whole experience annoying - you just never know!)

I hope this helps.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award