Think about your life like a long flight. Our birth and youth are like the take-off, the flight is like our adulthood and the landing is like our final descent. Most of us are in the middle of our flight. We may have some turbulence during our flight and perhaps some ups and down’s, but generally we are all just on our life’s journey. But then you find out that you or your loved one has dementia. Almost immediately, your life changes and you realize that nothing will ever quite be the same again. What do you do now? If you don’t know much about dementia you start to research it but quickly it is very overwhelming and very depressing to learn about. It seems like everyone’s story is different, and it becomes very easy to believe that no one else is going through the same challenges as you. And for some during this journey, it becomes necessary to decide to move their loved one to a care facility. Most care partners and people with dementia struggle to understand the complex nature of dementia. Informal care partners tell us that they feel like they have lost control over their lives. Believing that you are not in control of your life and your life’s journey makes people feel powerless. It is documented that informal care partners, and people with dementia, who feel lonely and isolated become depressed and we know that at least 50% of care partners and people with dementia struggle with depression. This leads to problems in our nearest relationships. On the other hand, formal care partners have their own unique challenges related to managing their residents with dementia. They tell us that their lack of education and no having actionable strategies to manage the often very challenging behaviors of dementia make them feel powerless and unable to take care of their residents well. This results in their frequent job turnover and results in a facility facing loss of the quality of care of these vulnerable residents. Think Different Dementia has created a quality, reliable and accessible dementia education product called Dementia Made Simple. We provide all care partners and people with dementia reliable information and actionable strategies to use during their life journey, putting them back in control. We know that having the right strategies, at the right time, puts you in control. Because having reliable information, actionable strategies and practical pointers gives all care partners and people with dementia their best quality of life, improving their relationships and delaying decline. “Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. She and her husband emigrated to the USA in 1993, and currently reside in South Carolina. They have 2 daughters and one son-in-love, 4 cats, one dog and 10 chickens. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. In her many accomplishments, she served on the South Carolina Occupational Therapy Association’s Board of Directors from 2008-2014, where she held the office of President, Past-President and Treasurer. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Parkinson’s Group of the Ozarks from 2003-2008 in a variety of roles. Her varied work experience included being the allied health educator of a large hospital system, where she was tasked to develop all the educational requirements for the allied health department. This included developing annual competencies, orientation of new staff and frequently developing and presenting seminars on variety of topics. In that role, she was in a leadership position, liaising between multiple department heads of the hospital system with great success. Her other leadership positions included serving as the director of rehabilitation of a CCRC in Greenville, SC before moving due a relocation for her husband’s job. She is the first Occupational Therapist in South Carolina to be certified in Skills2Care, an evidence based and care-partner driven methodology specifically designed to evaluate how a person with dementia, their care-partner and their environment interact. It has been shown to decrease the intensity and frequency of challenging behaviors by using a problem solving based approach and decreases care partner burnout and improves the outcomes of residents with dementia. Lizette is also a frequent guest speaker on dementia related topics at community colleges and universities and has twice presented at the South Carolina Occupational Therapy Association’s annual conference on various dementia topics. The most recent one was February 2021 on the topic “Newer Research into Preventing Dementing”. She has also frequently presented at community events on multiple different topics over the past 30 years. She is also a contributor to the National Parkinson’s Foundations publication titled “Activities of Daily Living: Practical Pointers For Parkinson’s Disease”. Currently, Lizette actively engages people with dementia and their care-partners in multiple online formats including Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. She has a weekly program called “The Baffled Brain: Demystifying Dementia” where she answers dementia related questions in a live-stream format on a large online dementia support group of over 30K members. Her private Facebook Group called Think Different Dementia has over 300 members, where she does another weekly program called “Dementia Made Simple” to further nurture and educate her followers regarding dementia. She helps people all over the world with the management of challenging behaviors common to dementia, including South Africa, Kenya, Australia, The United Kingdom and even as far as Singapore and The Philippines. She posts all her videos related to dementia education on her YouTube channel called “Think Different” Dementia. She is developing an educational training program “Dementia Made Simple” for both formal and informal caregivers. Her long term vision includes developing an app for a smartphone to be able to track dementia related behaviors and an educational program to be housed on an app in order for people in more remote parts of the world to be able to have access reliable information and actionable strategies using their smartphone. She will be starting a podcast titled Dementia Made Simple South Carolina in the immediate future.
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