Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!
This week, Rayna Neises, your host, speaks with Marie Vaudry. Marie is a wife, mother, and daughter to France who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2012. France loved to spend hours doing crossword puzzles and reading books however as her illness progressed, these tasks became more difficult. It became challenging for the family to find stimulating activities adapted to her changing cognitive abilities.
As a result, Marie researched and created Spark Your Mind, a book of activities adapted for patients at a moderate stage of the disease. But, she didn’t stop there. In 2021, Marie set out to create a more comprehensive experience that includes logical activities while also addressing the sensory and physical needs of the patient. She founded Gleam in Your Eye offering a monthly subscription box filled with fun and stimulating activities that make life easier for caregivers. Marie shares the following insights:
- (4:00) The more you do with your loved ones, the more you maintain their abilities.
- (5:00) When you engage in activities your loved one is interested in, you have fun and create memories.
- (7:30) Our loved ones need us to be there with them, to make sure they are comfortable and secure, and to have fun.
- (14:43) Try different kinds of activities and maybe they will have fun and they will succeed.
- (15:30) As a caregiver, if you can bring joy for 30 minutes or one hour into your house, you will see it makes a big difference.
- (18:43) For more information or to order, visit gleaminyoureye.com or connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram @gleaminyoureye.
*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
There is different categories of games inside there is art, logic, sensory, physical, word. We choose those categories because they are entertaining the brain differently. And we wanted a varity of games, not only word, not only art. We want them to continue to do logic games. We know it’s good for them, and we want that caregivers try different things.
That’s our guest today, Marie Vaudry, founder of Gleam in Your Eye activity boxes for those journey with Alzheimer’s. Welcome to A Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living loving and caring with no regrets. This is Rayna Neises, your host. And today I have special guest Marie Vaudry. Marie is from Quebec, Canada, but currently lives in San Diego, California. She’s married and the mom of two and the daughter of France, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at 59 in 2012. France used to spend hours doing crossword puzzles and reading books. But as her illness progressed, her family faced the all too common challenge of finding stimulating activities, adapted to her changing cognitive abilities. As a result, Marie took matters into her own hands and spent the next few years working with experts in neurology, neuropsychology, geriatrics, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, and optometry to acquire a strong knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and of patient’s needs. In 2015, Marie created Spark Your Mind, a book of activities adapted for patients at a moderate stage of the disease. In 2021, she set out to create a more comprehensive experience that includes logical activities while also addressing the sensory and physical needs of patients. Surrounded by a passionate team. She founded Gleam in Your Eye and developed an innovative product. Offering a monthly subscription box filled with fun and stimulating activities. The boxes are delivered directly to the homes of patient. Making life easier for caregivers. Each box includes five different games designed to engage senses, provoke logical thinking, invite play with words, stimulate artistic expression and encourage light physical movements. You can learn more and order your subscription @agleaminyoureye.com. Marie. I’m so glad to have you here today. Thank you for joining me.
Thank you for this, uh, excellent introduction.
Well, we share that journey of having our moms go through this disease that is inexplicable, I think is there really aren’t words to share what the journey is like, but I love that you have taken this thing in your life and really done so much to learn about what’s happening in her brain and helping to provide those activities and stimulations for her. So I’m really excited to be able to share with my audience more about what’s going on with A Gleam in Your Eye and tell us a little bit about your story of how you got here.
Yes, as you said, everything started in 2012. Uh, we were looking for activities to do with my mom. She was very active then, uh, I started to talk with health professional, and they were telling me that there was a need of created new materials for families who wanted to continue to engage and just. Make a better day to day life and remove the anxiety of their loved one and have fun and be more positive. Then I said, okay, let’s create something together with the help of professional. Then I created first activity books called Spark Your Mind. And, now I created Lumin your rights, a box, uh, that you can buy. You can subscribe and you receive every month, a box with a new team that, and we make sure that there is a variety of gains that your loved one will help. And what is important for us it’s that you continue to stimulate your loved one, because there is many research now, and I’m very happy about it. Who showed the efficiency activity therapy, we call it or cognitive activity. Um, that show that more, you do that with your loved one more. You maintain their abilities. The goal is not to develop something new or. Or try to bring back some, some, uh, abilities they had before it’s to maintain what they have right now live in the moment. Uh, then it’s why I really believe in that I saw the difference with my mom. I saw the difference with many family when they start to engage with activities. They know that that will interest their loved one. It change everything. You see smiles, you see fun. You it’s still possible to create memorable moments with your loved one. It’s not the end. When you learn about the diagnose, the life is not stopping at this moment. It’s still possible to have memorable moment, have fun. Enjoy good moment. It’s what we believe at Gleam in Your Eye.
It’s so important because I think it is easy todistance ourselves, or to just allow the person as they progress to just sit in their own world because their world can be different. It is different than what it was before. And it might be different than what we’re experiencing, but that shared moment brings you that opportunity to be there together. And I think as I talk with people, one of the things that they find is, you have a tendency to ask questions or to bring up things from the past because you’re looking at this person that you shared the past with. And so that’s what you think of is, do you remember when we did this? That’s kind of how our mind works, we have all these memories that get tied to a new experience, but they don’t necessarily, and so it’s not a good way to interact with them. So I love that. Providing this activity that you’re both doing right here in this moment provides something for you to talk about so that you can share right now and what’s happening right now. That laughter or whatever it is that it sparks in their mind, then you can join them there. Instead of trying to take them somewhere, they can’t go.
For sure it, it could bring memories of before because we know the short term memory is more affected, for Alzheimer patient and the long term memories stay longer. Then it’s why we have a tendency to, engage in an activity will bring back memories, but you’re right. It’s good to share the moment. And the memories will come. If you talk about nature, if you talk about, going on vacation, it will, it will come automatically and it’ll be a good way to connect with them. And. And talk with them and if they are still able to talk, uh, for sure, but even with their eyes, we found the name glim in your eye. First. It was because for me, my mom. Is not able to talk anymore, but I can read in her eyes. I, I can see some gleam, some sparkle in her eyes. And for me, it was really a perfect name for my company because we don’t have to expect so much from our loved one with Alzheimer. We just have to be there with them, make sure they are comfortable in security and they have fun. They with no anxiety and we can see that in their eyes. We can see those feeling.
Definitely. And that anxiety is common for many people that are experiencing Alzheimer’s. There’s so many. Things that are overwhelming to them, that we can see that side of it so it’s nice to see the gleam and to find, have a tool, to be able to bring that out and really be able to experience that. So I would assume from just what you’ve already shared, your mission for your company is just to bring that gleam in people’s eyes. Tell us a little more about.
Yes. Uh, as I said, we develop activities. Then those activities, we create them with the help of health professional. Most of them are in the geriatric Institute of Montreal. And there is speech therapist, neuropsychologists, occupational therapist, audiologist, different, uh, specialists. Who I send my ideas of games and they will tell me, okay, Marie, no pick this image instead of this one, it’s not appropriate or it’s too difficult. We create the games for people with moderate stage dementia. There is a purpose why we choose this stage it’s because there is not so much things on the market for them. And it’s at this stage, they start to be, uh, more able to do their normal pastime. They were used to do as crossword, as reading a book, then it’s where we arrive and say, you can still continue to read, but read with an appropriate book. Appropriate story, short story, or, and you can still do a crossword, but a different kind of a crossword. You can still do do stuff, but we adapted the games for their level, of difficulties. And it’s what we do. Um, uh, in our company. It’s what we, we suggest to customer.
So at this point are the most of the activities within the box. Are they designed to need someone to facilitate that with the person that has dementia or is it something they can pick up and kind of do a little more independently?
All the games are created as someone can do it by themselves, someone with Alzheimer, I make sure all the instruction cards are easy to read. The instruction are very simple, short and simple, but we know that at moderate stage, usually someone will need the help of someone else to, to just start the activity. It’s what I will suggest that you, you open the box with your loved one. You put all the material, but for example, if they have to paint a birdhouse, you put all the material in front of them. You open the paint, you put the brush there, you make it, uh, okay for the table where you paint. You can even start to paint with them, but you can let them continue alone. But for sure you need a little bit to facilitate it. Depends of your loved one with moderate stage. It’s a big stage. It can be at the beginning, then they will not need your help at all. You really need to assess all your loved one is and, and how they feel more comfortable. And to maintain this autonomy, we need to maintain their autonomy you will see how they will react and how you need to engage with them.
A lot of times when people think of Alzheimer’s, they only think of the memory issues, but the problem solving is significantly impact as well, that multiple steps. So I can see we’re getting them started but I also love the thought of being able to have that autonomy, because I think that’s one of the things that they really miss is that if we’re just hovering and we’re trying to control everything when they can do some of it, themselves since, like you said, this is the bridge between, you know, what they were doing independently to now giving them some simplified things that are not childlike, but rather specifically designed for them. I love that. I think that’s a great idea. We spent hours and hours doing puzzles and, you know, when we first started, we could handle those. I think there was even thousand pieces and then, you know, you get down to smaller and smaller pieces and so they get more and more difficult and end up at puzzles that have 36 pieces and so there.
Even, uh, yes, even, uh, moderate stage, we suggest 12 pieces of, uh, to make a puzzle to make sure they will succeed. Not too easy, but. Yeah. It’s what their neuro psychologist, tell me to do. And, I believe it’s, yeah, it’s easier. It depends if it depends for every person, again, if it’s someone who like your mom who was doing always puzzles, maybe she will be able to do it, longer, uh, than another person who was not used or was doing a little bit. It really depends but for sure, they will succeed for, uh, with the 12 pieces of a puzzle.
Hmm. So that’s so important. And I think the success is a big piece of it, too. None of us like to do something that’s hard. And so if they’re struggling, it’s stepping in and helping that. And again, having that shared experience and that memory. So I love that. So you’ve mentioned a couple times the things that come in a box, but maybe just describe one of the boxes. So we have an idea of what all is in there.
Yes there is different categories of games inside there is art, logic, sensory, physical, word. We did research about how occupational therapists were and recreational therapists and activity director. They were building their schedule of activities for, their patient. And we, it’s why we choose those categories. And also because they are entertaining the brain differently. And we wanted a varity of games, not only word, not only art. We want them to continue to do logic games. We know it’s good for them, and we want that caregivers try different things. What, we, we had a very good feedback at the beginning when we launched a company. A woman said that her husband, she didn’t know, he was still able to write. She didn’t know it was still able to read. And it’s because she tried our games and see that, oh, because we had different kind of activities inside the box. It can show that, oh, they are still able to do that. And I really encourage people to try and not to only take activities that they know they will for sure, be able to do, but let’s see, let’s try other things and if they are not able, okay. Stop for sure. But maybe they will have fun and they will succeed. You don’t, we don’t know. And I really encourage caregiver to try and try new things. And there is bad day. There is good days. You will see that one day they will succeed in your activity. And the day after no way, they will say no, I don’t want to do that. Just start another time. Or maybe the time in your day that your schedule was not at the good moment we know in the morning, the concentration it’s easier, but maybe for you, it’s at 4:00 PM for your loved one. It’s the best time. You adjust also, it’s difficult to be a caregiver. It’s a lot of things to, to see and to adjust, but it will be so helpful. If you can bring joy for 30 minutes or one hour in your house, you will see it’s a big difference.
Definitely for both of you, that joy just multiplies and makes your day better in all the ways. Great suggestion to realize that trying it at different times during the day, we found that for my dad, during that typical sundowners time, keeping him engaged and busy, helped to avoid the wandering and the wanting to go home. And so being able to have activities that are ready and they’re that they enjoy can be really helpful. You always have the things from the box from the months before. So there’s lots of variety that, that will build up in your library of activities. So I love that such a great suggestion. And what would you say the best, the most significant benefit of a claim in your eye is for families?
It’s a good question. I think it’s bring joy in your house and also still be able to connect with your loved one. I think it’s so difficult to, sometimes I know with my mom, sometimes they ask you the same question, the same question, the same question, and you don’t know anymore how to distract them. Our activities is just a good way to distract them, to change their mind to. Okay. We, we talk about that. You think they lost something or? No, I lost my wallet. I oh, then let’s let’s okay. But let’s paint this bird out together. Let’s redirect in an activity. It can really change your day to day it’s I think it’s one of the most benefit there is other one, but I think yeah, to create good moments together. It’s yeah, it’s what we want.
Definitely. And. every person who’s caring for their loved one in their home that person’s their priority. That’s why they’re there. That’s why they’re doing what they’re doing. But sometimes we can get so focused on all the things that we need to do that we forget to build those moments of connection. So I love that this is something that will arrive at the doorstep and we’ll give you that opportunity to be excited about opening it together and jumping in and finding all the different variety of things. I love too, that there’s all the different kinds of stimulation, cuz like you said, that it’s so important. We can fall into a rut, even as a caregiver saying here’s the coffee table book or here’s the puzzle but really giving them that stimulation in all different areas can be so helpful. Thank you so much, Marie, for doing what you’re doing and offering this hoping to fill in. Gap of there’s so little resources out there. I love that I ran across your company and what you’re doing is filling that gap and it’s such an important need. And I really appreciate you coming today and sharing, let my audience know how they can connect with you and order their own.
Yes, you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.gleaminyoureye.com. We have also a Facebook group. Linkedin, the Instagram, just write Gleam in Your Eye and you will find us.
Perfect. Listeners thank you for joining us today. A Season of Caring Podcast has been created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have financial, legal or medical questions, be sure to consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring. This episode of A Season of Caring Podcast has been brought to you by Dementia Education with Rayna. As an Independent Certified Positive Approach to Care Trainer through the Teepa Snow method. I love to offer trainings online each month for families to better understand what is happening in the brains of their loved ones who are suffering from Alzheimer’s. Or two be able to answer the questions about what stage they’re in. Feel free to check out the workshops available at www.dementiaeducationwithrayna.com.
This Episode was Sponsored by:
Founder of Gleam in Your Eye
Marie Vaudry is from Quebec, Canada but currently lives in San Diego, CA. She is married and the mom of 2 and the daughter of France, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s at 59 years old in 2012. France used to spend hours doing crossword puzzles and reading books, but as her illness progressed, her family faced the all-too-common challenge of finding stimulating activities adapted to her changing cognitive abilities.
As a result, Marie took matters into my own hands and spent the next few years working with experts in neurology, neuropsychology, geriatrics, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology & optometry to acquire a strong knowledge of Alzheimer’s disease and of patients’ needs.
In 2015, Marie created Spark your mind, a book of activities adapted for patients at a moderate stage of the disease. In 2021, I set out to create a more comprehensive experience that includes logical activities, while also addressing the sensory and physical needs of patients.
Surrounded by a passionate team, she founded Gleam in Your Eye and developed an innovative product offering a monthly subscription box filled with fun and stimulating activities.
The boxes are delivered directly to the homes of patients, making life easier for caregivers. Each box includes five different games, designed to engage the senses, provoke logical thinking, invite play with words, stimulate artistic expression and encourage light physical moves. You can learn more or order your subscription at gleaminyoureye.com
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