Shining Light on What’s Hidden

Shining Light on what’s Hidden

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Courtesy Jasmine Dinh

Walking into the Shadows:

There is a lot going on in the world today – take a look at our newsfeeds alone. We read, we update and we try to understand, but have you ever tried to put yourself in someone else’s shoes? We are going to shine light on what’s hidden. Reporter for Off The Shelf and Online, Lizzie Jassin, takes us through what it’s like to experience what other minority groups go through on campus or throughout the world. Follow along with Jassin as she walks through The Tunnel of Oppression , which was hosted at The University of Illinois. Reporter, Jasmine Dinh, shows us the other types of discrimination held universally and how other university campuses display their versions of The Tunnel of Oppression. Dinh also shows us what changes one goes through as the progression of Alzheimer’s takes over. But what is there to be said about the in between of living with Alzheimer’s? Reporter, Jazmine Reynolds, introduces us to the techniques involved with caring for one with Dementia and Alzheimer’s and just how the caregivers are the biggest supporters of our loved ones. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can take an emotional and physical toll on someone. But the toll of living with Alzheimer’s can be worse. Reporter, Vennetta Sims, gives us a step by step tutorial on how to deal with the depression associated with Alzheimer’s. When facing issues, it’s easy to feel in the dark and unsure of the outcome, but we’re here to Shine Light on What’s Hidden. We’re facing the unknown and finding the solutions. 

Tunnel of Oppression:

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Courtesy Lizzie Jassin

Have you ever felt oppression? Silenced, alone or discriminated against? Feel this no longer. Educate yourself on the ignorance which does exist on the University of Illinois campus. Hear stories from real students and their experiences. These people may be your friends, the faculty, a classmate. The oppression is real, and knowledge will overcome this universal discrimination. University of Illinois students create The Tunnel of Oppression every year. This tunnel is an interactive social justice experience. Multipurpose rooms at the University of Illinois are transformed. If you missed the tunnel this year, take a sneak peek to what it was like, here also features a photo essay  

Read further and deeper into the reactions regarding the tunnel from The Daily Illini. According to this most recent article, the tunnel caters to our generation in showcasing the importance of minority oppression in short intervals. Similar to how we are so quick to access information in today’s digital age, students are impacted by the presentations given in each room in just 3 minutes. All though 3 minutes does not do the inequality that minorities have felt justice, it does allow students on the other side to truly feel engaged and connected to the injustices that are experienced.

Experience the tunnel for yourself, for the tunnel comes back into action every year. University Housing covered the experience in 2013, and University Housing also covered it in 2012, here. This goes to show how the oppression seen on the campus of UIUC is not new. In fact, it has always existed. Join students and faculty in fighting back, speaking up, and most importantly shining light on the silence.

Oppression is universal. UIUC is not the only University which creates The Tunnel of Oppression. Several Universities create their own tunnel, each educating their students to stand up for what is right and to break the silence that exists. The students differ, and the oppression found on each campus may differ depending on circumstance, however, there is one thing that we all have in common, and that is that we will all find the light at the end of the tunnel. We must, together, survive through the silene.

There were six booths in the tunnel this year at UIUC. Each represented a different minority group RSO on campus. The students are able to represent their minority and the oppression they may feel. There are more than only six minorities in the world, and the oppression that people experience on a day to day basis exists longer than the 3 minutes that students had to showcase their thoughts on them.

Understand and educate yourself further. Dig deeper into the oppression and discrimination that people go through everyday. Take a look at the issues addressed and the history behind them. As you watch, try to answer this question: Have we come to solving these issues or are we repeating history?

Facts on Alzheimer’s: 

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Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and intellectual abilities that interfere with daily activities. The greatest risk factor is increasing age, making it possible for anyone to be diagnosed with the common disease. However, it’s not just a disease of old age. Nearly 5 percent of people with the disease have early onset, meaning the symptoms can appear when he/she is in their 40s or 50s. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, so it gradually worsens over time. It can begin with someone simply forgetting where they are for a moment, but progress to them forgetting how to put on their clothes, ties their shoes, or hold a conversation. It’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but many people can live with the disease for up to 20 years. Though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s today, there are treatments available while research is continued.

Progression of Alzheimer’s:

Photo Essay

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Courtesy Jasmine Dinh: Grandfather

Although Alzheimer’s cannot be diagnosed until death, there are symptoms that family members notice their loved ones undergoing that say otherwise. It’s hard to believe at first and you want to think it’s just old age, but it is much more than that. Throughout all our pieces we explain the hardship related to having a loved one undergo something unexpected, so in my piece I decided to show the progression of those changes through a photo essay. I chose to exhibit the changes through a photo essay, because the symptoms of Alzheimer’s aren’t always visible. 

A person can look completely okay, but it’s when you start talking to them that you start see the changes. As a person continues to live with the disease it takes an emotional and physical toll on them and those are the symptoms that show. Being tired and weary, unable to identify your own family or even remember what you were doing five minutes ago. A person’s body sometimes forgets to remember simple tasks such as using the bathroom or how to shave.

My great great grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but since he was from Vietnam they didn’t have the ability to identify the symptoms nor did they have the knowledge of the extent of the disease, so it wasn’t until later on when my grandma visited was she able to help my great great grandfather’s wife understand Alzheimer’s.

I gathered a series of photos of my great great grandfather from the youngest photo they had in existence in 1953 til when he passed in 2005 and put them together so that the progression of Alzheimer’s could be better seen. To see the beautiful lives of additional people who live with Alzheimer’s and the beauty of their expressions check out photographer Alex Napel’s series of portraits. 

How to Care for Someone with Alzheimer’s:

Audio Package

Alzheimer’s is a disease that doesn’t affect only the diagnosed, but the family and friends of the ill as well. It’s hard to watch a loved one transition from the person you’ve always known to a loved one with shattered memories. 

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Courtesy Google Images

Often times, the experiences of loved ones caring for someone with Alzheimer’s go unnoticed. Most people focus more on how the patient is affected but pay little attention to time and patience that caregivers give to support and care for the diagnosed. Remember, the diagnosed is facing a battle that we cannot truly understand. They may feel as if they’re being put under a veil where their view on life simply becomes blurry. They may feel heart-broken or lost like they’re trying to put the pieces of a puzzle together, but just can’t seem to find a match. Each and every person diagnosed with Alzheimer’s experiences an uncontrollable phenomenon, and the caregivers take on the strong role of leading them through their journey every step of the way. So, it’s important to shed light on the very influential role of a caregiver when leading someone, sometimes a friend or family member, down a scary path.

One of the best and most important steps to care for someone with Alzheimer’s is understanding exactly what the disease is. While many have a vague understanding of what it entails, very few people understand how the mental state of a patient is changed. Most people know about the traumatic memory loss, and as we shine light on these hidden issues, it’s important to remember that it could happen to any of us.

When caring for someone that is living with Alzheimer’s, it’s best to create an experience where he/she can still live a happy lifestyle. Kathy Rhoads of Circle of Friends said, “It’s important to make sure that you still provide them with activities and opportunities to do things so they can sustain as much of their mind as possible.” In other words, it’s important to give them daily tasks that keep them peddling on their bicycle of life; it’s important to let them know that, no matter what, they must keep going. And, it’s crucial to help them see that no matter how much they forget, there is still a meaningful, beautiful purpose to life.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at what Alzheimer’s is, how the diagnosed is affected, and how to support, care, and positively impact the life of someone living with the disease. Just click here. Enjoy.

Knowledge is vital to developing an open mind. For more information on how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s after they’ve been diagnosed, click here. To develop clarity on just what Alzheimer’s is, click here.

How to Cope with the Depression of Living with Alzheimer’s:

How To

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Courtesy Jasmine Dinh

Dealing with Alzheimer’s can be difficult to live with not only for the patient, but also their family and friends. For this segment of the project I thought it would be important to discuss the implications of coping with depression in relation to living with alzheimer’s. Patients with this illness often time advance in different stages and it can become stressful upon the parent to watch themselves become someone they no longer knows. In the series of a “How-to video” I’ve composed a bunch of information that gives a lists of strategies that can help alleviate some feels of depression and emotional withdrawal caused by severe memory loss.

Not only is depression a symptom of having alzheimer’s but according to an article found online depression can worsen memory loss due to the patient giving up on themselves. For that reason as stated through the audio package, patients have a full time caregiver because often times the caregiver can make them patient feel comfortable, by remembering important tasks such as doctors appointments, medication times, support group meetings and most importantly making them feel as though they are still loved, but not pushing them off to a nursing home. This how to should give everyone a better understanding how to deal with living with depression, not only for alzheimer’s, but any other illness that may have it as a system. It’s important that we shed light on a sensitive topic such as alzheimer’s which many people don’t like to even admit but as the old saying goes admitting is the first step to recovery.

As you begin to watch the video you would quickly notice it’s basically told from the perspective of a woman who has been diagnosed with early onset alzheimer’s. She takes the audience on a journey of how she copes with the adjusting changes that are robbing her of her memory. Her experiences without her illness gives some insight of the pain she endures quite often. Cate Lau’s case is a prime example of being ill and not appearing physically to be a result of your illness. 

Bringing it all Together:

Conclusion

As students at the University of Illinois, we wanted to leave our comfort zone and inspire others to leave theirs as well. There is a lot of darkness in our world, but we wanted to shine light on the things that are not talked about, on what is sometimes hidden from our everyday vocabulary as students. It is never too late to change.

Together we can shine light and break the silence while starting the next conversation. As Gandhi would say, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Together we will see the light and we will continue to find the light of what is and has been hidden.