When we think about dementia, the immediate picture is often one of complexity and confusion. But what if we could simplify it? This podcast episode takes an intriguing approach, comparing dementia to the engines of an airplane, propelling us forward into a clearer understanding.

Is Dementia Really as Complex as It Seems?

0:00:00 Thriving, Not Just Surviving the Dementia Journey
0:02:38 Introduction to the Engines of Dementia
0:03:08 Explaining Dementia using the Analogy of Engines
0:04:22 The Right and Left Engines: Physical and Cognitive Development
0:06:29 Importance of Normal Cognitive Development and Executive Functions
0:07:12 The Seven Executive Functions for Normal Adults
0:08:09 Understanding the Relationship Between Dementia and Cognitive Development
0:09:29 Introduction and Personal Experience

The Engines of Dementia

Just like an airplane relies on its engines for movement, navigating the journey of dementia involves understanding two critical aspects: physical and cognitive development. These are the engines that power our journey through life, and they play a pivotal role in understanding dementia.

Physical Development: The Right Engine

Physical development serves as the right engine in our analogy. From birth, reaching milestones like rolling, crawling, and walking are signs of normal physical growth. Surprisingly, these stages are deeply connected to the dementia journey, offering insights into how the disease progresses.

Cognitive Development: The Left Engine

Cognitive development, or the left engine, encompasses our mental growth and abilities. It's fascinating to explore how our cognitive functions, particularly executive functions, shape our lives. These include skills like short-term memory, planning, and emotional regulation. As dementia progresses, it's often these executive functions that we see changing first.

Bridging Physical and Cognitive Worlds

The episode beautifully illustrates how our physical and cognitive developments are intertwined, each playing a crucial role in our overall journey. As dementia affects these areas, understanding their normal progression provides a framework for understanding the changes brought about by the condition.

Executive Functions: The Core of Cognitive Development

Focusing on executive functions offers a lens to view dementia's impact. These functions are crucial for daily living, decision-making, and emotional well-being. The episode delves into how changes in these areas can signal shifts in cognitive health, emphasizing the importance of recognizing and addressing these changes early.

Simplifying the Complex

By comparing dementia care to piloting an airplane, with physical and cognitive development as its engines, the podcast demystifies the condition. It encourages us to see dementia not as a bewildering maze but as a journey that, with understanding and the right tools, can be navigated more smoothly.

Conclusion: Empowerment Through Understanding

Understanding dementia through the analogy of airplane engines brings a fresh perspective to a challenging subject. It's a reminder that, just like pilots need to understand their aircraft to navigate the skies successfully, caregivers and loved ones can learn about dementia's nuances to provide compassionate, effective care.

Final Thoughts

This episode invites us to reconsider how we view dementia, emphasizing education, understanding, and compassion. By breaking down complex ideas into more understandable analogies, we're reminded that at the heart of dementia care is a journey of love, patience, and resilience.


Introduction to Baffled Brain, Demystifying Dementia Podcast

[0:06] Welcome to the Baffled Brain, Demystifying Dementia, your daily podcast that will teach you everything you need to know about dementia.

At Think Different Dementia, we know that dementia seems complex and challenging to manage, but we also know with the right tools at the right time, dementia is made simple.

I am your host, Lizette Cloete from Think Different Dementia, where we believe you're only one technique, the right technique away from thriving and not just surviving your dementia journey.

Thriving, Not Just Surviving the Dementia Journey

[0:39] So please like this video, please subscribe to the podcast, and please share these videos with your friends and families so that we together can thrive and not just survive your dementia journey.

So welcome to today's program.

[1:01] To today's program, which has to do with continuing in our journey for our dementia flight, where we are looking at the next section of the airplane, which includes the engines of the plane.

What moves the plane forward?

How does moving an airplane forward actually relate to dementia?

Inches. So let's talk about that for a bit.

This is episode 48, which I now am hopefully on track.

So episode 48 and welcome to the baffled brain.

Thank you for joining me. Like usual, if you like these videos, please like.

[1:44] Share and subscribe. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel called Think Different Dementia.

You can subscribe to the podcast on Podbean and a couple of other platforms at the Baffled Brain Demystifying Dementia.

And as always, you can join my Facebook group called Think Different Dementia Education Group, where the purpose of the group is education.

I hope you can tell I'm I'm truly an educator at heart. I love teaching.

I love explaining things and my framework I have called Dementia Made Simple because I hope to make it simple for people to understand.

[2:21] Dementia is complex and it can be very confusing and there's a lot of information out there.

So this is my small space to try to help make it a little easier for everybody to understand the complex nature of dementia.

Yet again, welcome to today's program.

Introduction to the Engines of Dementia

[2:38] So what are we going to talk about today? We're going to talk about the engines.

What are the engines of an airplane?

Well, the engines of an airplane are what make the airplane move forward.

It's what gives us thrust. It's what helps us to go in, you know, it's what moves things, right?

So the engine the engine of a plane moves things.

So what in relation to dementia, what is the engine of dementia?

Explaining Dementia using the Analogy of Engines

[3:08] Or maybe not dementia per se, but what are the engines that help?

[3:16] How can we explain using the analogy of an engine? How can we explain dementia?

So I broke it up into to the right engine and the left engine.

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[4:08] If you'd like to register, message me the word workshop on Instagram or check out the link in the show notes below.

The Right and Left Engines: Physical and Cognitive Development

[4:22] And we're going to talk about those two.

Those will be a little longer programs when we get to them because we're going to break it up into normal physical development as the right engine and cognitive development as the left engine.

So right engine and left engine.

Why do I say that? Because using this analogy of a flight, our dementia flight, our dementia journey, when we are developing.

[4:53] And it makes sense when you think about our whole life as a flight, as a journey from takeoff, which is birth takeoff, and our normal developmental milestones.

We have physical development, which typically is the thing that we think of earlier on as a child developing.

Even though our cognitive abilities and our physical abilities develop at the same time, we notice a child's physical development earlier on and then kind of a little bit later on we notice the cognitive development right so we're gonna break it up into the right engine which is normal physical development going all the way from.

[5:44] Birth to normal developmental milestones of rolling, crawling, sitting, walking, all of those kinds of things.

And we're going to discuss those a little bit more in detail, even though it doesn't sound like it's related to dementia. It absolutely is.

And then we're going to talk about normal cognitive development, right? So what does normal cognitive development look like?

And the reason normal cognitive development is important is because, like I always joke with people under 25, you're not done developing.

And then I joke with people over 40, we're already falling apart, right?

We're going to be starting to show a normal decline in our cognitive abilities.

Importance of Normal Cognitive Development and Executive Functions

[6:29] Forgetful, being forgetful is normal. Having memory deficits is not normal.

So we talk about that a lot in my programs.

So why is normal cognitive development? Why is that important?

Because as our brain develops, we have the latter part of our developmental processes is where our executive functions live.

And executive functions is the normal cognitive development part of it, the left engine.

And so there's seven executive functions that we need in order for us to achieve our flight, our normal developmental flight.

The Seven Executive Functions for Normal Adults

[7:12] For normal adults. All normal adults tend to have mastered these seven executive functions.

So what are the seven executive functions? And every time I try to do this, I forget one.

So I bet you I'm going to forget one, but that's okay because I'm human and I make mistakes and I fly by the seat of my pants.

And so I know them, but I don't always recall them in the moment of a presentation.

So what are there? Short-term memory, reconstitution of information, time management, we're going to talk about planning and organization and anticipating consequences of things and being able to regulate our emotions.

Now as we're talking about dementia later on as we put these pieces together, it becomes clearer why normal cognitive development, especially.

Understanding the Relationship Between Dementia and Cognitive Development

[8:09] Executive functions, are so important because executive functions is the first stuff that we see starting to fall apart.

Now, if you remember to yesterday's program where we were talking about the part of the cargo, the cargo hold and the baggage, we talked about retrogenesis.

Well, retrogenesis is important because as we're progressing through dementia, if we follow the functional assessment staging tool, the normal cognitive development and the normal physical development start to come in when we put retrogenesis together with this.

And when I start to explain it to people in that way, they're like, oh, that makes so much sense.

So I invite you to keep watching these little programs, these podcasts.

15 to 20 minute programs so that you can learn more about dementia because the purpose of this is to keep dementia as simple to understand as possible.

So to recap today's program, we talked about engines driving a vehicle forward, an airplane, and we have a right engine, which we're going to call our normal physical development.

And we're going to discuss that a little bit more.

Introduction and Personal Experience

[9:29] And that can speak to that a little bit better than me. It's been many years since I've done, it's been many, many years since my babies were little,  going and back to occupational therapy school.

And then we're going to talk about normal cognitive development and what that looks like.

And then we're going to put all of these pieces together and how it relates to dementia.

So thank you for joining today's program. This is episode 48 and I bless you.

Thank you so much for joining.

Please like, share and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Please like, share and subscribe to my Facebook group. And please like, share and subscribe to my podcast called The Baffled Brain Demystifying Dementia.

The Lord bless you and keep you and.

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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