Holy guac! I can’t believe we’re here already! This week marked my last week of academic classes! No more Adobe connects, no more formal assignments (we still have to journal and do a few things for practicum) and no more quizzes/exams! It’s been a long 9 months but we made it!
I have to admit, the last few classes we did have this semester have been really interesting and have had a lot of information that is useful for practicum. If you get the chance, make sure you read through your Gentlecare textbook (I haven’t quite made it through mine entirely but there’s some good stuff in there!) Learning more about Alzheimer’s and dementias has been super helpful as this is the disorder that we see most while working with older adults. Did you know that there are over 70 types of dementia?! I had no clue! Of course, Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common and familiar to the general public but there are a lot of other reasons that someone might suffer from a dementia. So far in the IPE practicum days, everyone just refers to it as dementia and doesn’t distinguish the type (this might be because doctors can’t say for certain whether you have Alzheimer’s Disease until they autopsy your brain – and they can’t do that while you’re still alive!)
I thought discussing Alzheimer’s and dementias would be difficult for as my grandmother passed away from this disease but it really hasn’t. It actually has made me understand better what happened to her (I was a teenager when she was diagnosed and eventually passed) and why it is important to use recreation to help these people during this difficult time. It’s also made me want to help more in finding a cure or even a progression-stopping solution to this problem. I know that people like us, Therapeutic Recreation professionals, will be part of the solution, as researchers need data from real people with the disease to come up with new ideas to fix it. We can be a part of providing information on changes we see individuals who are engaging, who continue to use their minds, and who are seeing a decrease (or at least plateauing) of their symptoms. We are part of a team now that helps individuals to have the best quality of life they can and I can’t wait to start working in the field!
I’m nervous/excited/anxious to get to work in my placement setting. So far, the 4 IPE days we’ve had have been great! It’s an excellent introduction into what the day-to-day life is like working in a care facility. And I’m glad my classmates and I have been placed at all different facilities because we get to relay back to each other what it’s like at different sites. So now it’s on to the next stage of our career development and the best part: hands on experience! Wish me luck!