Let me introduce myself

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Improving

Quality of Life

for patients and their families

Dementia is a tough disease… There is so much we can do to improve the life of our loved ones, as well as our own. 

"Ask the Doc"• Live Online Q&A

Join me every Friday for a free zoom session.

Improving

Quality of Life

for patients and their families

Dementia is a tough disease… There is so much we can do to improve the life of our loved ones, as well as our own. 

Let me introduce myself

Play Video

"Ask the Doc"• Live Online Q&A

Join me every Friday for a free zoom session.

New video every week

About Me

I believe that every form of healing has its place, and proper medication management is one of the essential parts of my practice. Medications can be lifesaving, however, research shows that 50% of those diagnosed with dementia are taking at least one medication that is making them worse.

This is why I encourage the use of holistic alternatives in the care of dementia related symptoms like depression and agitation. Modalities like music, massage, sunlight, laughter, calming rooms and bathrooms, aromatherapy, gardening, etc., can be powerful tools in minimizing the use of potentially dangerous medications.

After graduating from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia, I completed Psychiatry Residency Training at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and for the last 18 years my practice has been dedicated to the care of patients with dementia, both living at home, or in facilities.

Working with the elderly is one of my passions, and every day I try to improve the quality of life of my patients, helping them remain as independent and functional as possible, for as long as possible.

I strongly believe in the influence of our lifestyle choices, such as diet, exercise, meditation, and yoga in the prevention of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and different types of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

My Dad

In July 2018 I lost my dad to Lewy Body dementia, he was 86 years old. My experience as a dementia doctor did not quite prepare me for the difficult experience of being a dementia caregiver. 
 
My dad’s decline began years earlier with balance problems. Looking back, I recall he was having problems keeping his balance when we played golf, but it was so subtle, we thought he was just swinging too hard. Little by little his balance worsened, and he began to fall. He developed mild tremors, and became more rigid. 
 
Within a year or so, he had to stop playing golf, and needed a walker to ambulate. In what seemed only months, he was wheelchair bound. During this period, he also began to hallucinate, especially at night. The shadows in the room would become frightening figures, and he began sleeping with the light on. He also started to get agitated with my mom, and became more depressed. Soon he needed more and more assistance, we wondered how much longer we would be able to care for him at home. My parents refused to get help, they did not want “strangers” in their home. For the next two years, I would be with them frequently to relieve my mom for the weekend. We even visited a few facilities… my mom would just cry unconsolably – “I can’t do it, I can’t place him”. 
 
And so we struggled. As the disease progressed, he developed aspiration pneumonia, several bouts of it, requiring hospitalization and heroic measures to keep him alive. After a 7 day hospitalization, my mom, my sister and I decided it was time for hospice. He passed away at hospice house a few short months later.
 
This was, without a doubt, one of the most difficult experiences of my life. We are all together in this!
What I Do

Clinical

I visit patients via telemedicine, at home, in the facility or in my office.

consults

I help families with care, planning, placement and stress management

Legal

Work with lawyers on legal issues, including capacity evaluations.

Speaking

Lifestyle is the key in maintaining our cognition through all life stages

Join every Friday

I meet you live online to answer your questions and share my latest thoughts. Join our email list to get the invitation link.

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We were incredibly fortunate to have Dr Rivera work with our dad as dementia overtook him. As a highly perceptive physician with the warmest of hearts, he treated my dad with kindness, compassion and friendship. As family members, we, too, were beneficiaries of the depth of his medical knowledge and positive outlook.

I just wanted to personally thank you for all the care you gave Dad, especially these past few months when he needed so much compassion. It meant a lot to us that you took the time to call me, so that we as a family could provide as much support as we could from afar.

It seems there are no words to express the depth of our gratitude for supporting our dad with the gentlest of hands. You’ve given him back to us in his true essence, one that spreads joy to all.

My husband has dementia and back in May of this year was in a very bad state - very agitated and aggressive, especially at night. With a history of bad reactions to medications, I did not know what to do. I received two recommendations to call you. They both said you were very very good with medication problems as well as being the best psychiatrist they knew. They spoke the truth. I am very grateful that you agreed to see my husband. I believe that it was the best thing that I could have ever done for him. He no longer show signs of aggression and is very seldom agitated. Truly he is a changed and much improved person. Not only were you such a great help to my husband, but you also took into account my feelings and have therefore been a great help to me personally. Thank you once again.

I have a patient, early onset Alzheimer’s, escalating pretty fast. His wife tells me he is more depressed, lethargic, mood swings, restless, wandering at night. She is only 47 years old with a 15 yr. old daughter. Her husband is only 54!! She came to the support group and fell apart every time she opened her mouth. The rest of the group all yelled out your name to her. "If anyone can help your husband it’s Dr. Rivera"…..I hear those kinds of remarks all the time. Thanks for what you do.

Dr. Rivera, It has been beyond a pleasure working with you. Every client of ours has made substantial progress once under your care. It has been amazing to watch their transformation and the joy you bring to their once time of difficulty. Not only are your medication changes life changing, your bedside manner surpasses anything I have ever witnessed. We are so lucky to have you in our clients lives. Thank you for all you do!

Thank you for giving her 6 more months of quality life. Without you we would likely have played this scenario out the first time she went down. You are truly a miracle worker.

Although you contact with my Uncle was brief, your care and concern for his well being was quite amply demonstrated. I sincerely appreciate your efforts in trying to improve the quality of life of my Uncle’s final days. You were a great comfort to him, and especially to me.

I will never forget you and your remarkable compassion as you deliver your medical expertise. You made such a difference in my mother's life and gave her as much quality of life as possible. You stood by us until the end.  Your thoughtfulness meant so much to us... With a grateful heart.

Thank you so very much for the care you gave my father. Your expertise in medication usage for mental illness and dementia is amazing. You gave my father two and a half years that I could not have given him by living with me, of clearer thinking, and finally accepting when it was time to go. It was wonderful that you used music to help him, and I will always remember the video of him conducting that you showed me. Thank you for taking the time to come in on the day that dad passed, and helping me deal with his passing. I was feeling very alone until you came. Thank you for listening to me.

My wife and I wanted again to thank you for all you did for my mother. She was on the verge of her demise when you first met her. Through your understanding and intellect, you gave her 8 more months of quality of life. I understand that in the end, there was nothing more that could be done for her and that the disease had overtaken any medications to control it. As you put it, "Your mom has completed her journey here on earth". It was a Godsend that she had caring and concerned people like you to help her through the end of that journey. I also wanted to personally thank you for your candor and straight forward communication with me on her condition and the disposition of her final moments. You were a great help in making the tough decisions that were necessary to fulfill her wishes. I would sincerely recommend you to those patients and families that were in similar situations. If you ever have a reluctant client, please feel free to use me as a reference either via a phone call, email or even in person. Even though your practice is private pay, I honestly believe that potential patients cannot afford to be without your service. I know that was the case for us.

Dr. Rivera is a deeply caring, loving, and super attentive human being. With his skillful navigation we weathered a months-long psychiatric crisis with our dear mom who is 93. We deeply appreciate having constant access to his extensive knowledge and expertise, but we appreciate even more how open-minded and flexible he has been with us all as we experiment with one treatment after another. We’ve had excellent results with mom, and just wish that everyone in our situation could work with Dr. Rivera. He has been a healing balm for our whole family.

For anyone who is in need of Dr. Rivera’s services - you could not find a more compassionate, caring, and extremely knowledgeable individual. As the owner of a private Home Healthcare agency I have found it necessary to reach out to Dr. Rivera to help us with some of our more challenging cases / clients and the results have been “miraculous”. Not only is he extremely knowledgeable and gets great results, but he is very unique in how he always assures that all parties are involved in his client’s care. Whether it be the client, a family member, or anyone else involved, Dr. Rivera is easily accessible and available (for which we are so grateful). The results we have seen time and again are amazing. He is capable of reversing symptoms, conditions, behaviors, etc. that other medical professionals deemed “irreversible”. He is, as we call him, the miracle worker!

Speaking Engagements

I love sharing my knowledge and experience with others. I have presented on the topics of Dementia management, caregiving, prevention, as well as on the yoga lifestyle that I practice. I had the fortune to present at conferences in the US and internationally (Europe, China, Japan, India, Taiwan).

“I’m the Sarasota County Alzheimer’s Association Program Specialist and thought I’d drop you an email since my favorite Doc, Miguel Rivera, will be in your neck of the woods over the next few days. I believe you have already had the pleasure of meeting him at the Harvard conference last year. He is my magic medicine man for all of my difficult patients and has been instrumental in implementing calming rooms in many of my facilities. He presents at the local and national forums. His perspective and philosophy on dementia care, medication management, and caregiver rescue hold any audience spellbound.” Program Specialist from the Alzheimer’s

This is the best lecture series I’ve ever attended. Just superb practical information that everyone can incorporate in their lives. I could listen to you forever!

It has been such a pleasure and privilege to host the last two events featuring "The One and Only Dr. Miguel Rivera" here at Reflections!! The response to both of these events has been so positive. You have such a beautiful way of communicating with people and making a real "connection". I look forward to working with you in the future as we strive to make a difference in the lives of loved ones who are coping with dementia as well as our own life choices. Thank you sincerely for all that you do.

Thank you for a very interesting, engaging talk; the best I’ve heard in years. It was a revelation for me about how bad some of the OTC drugs can be for our memory. Thank you for all your research, your “discoveries” are fascinating! Keep spreading the word!

Your presentation was so informative on so many levels. I feel inspired to change my own lifestyle, and to use many of your recommendations for my husband who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease. Not only was your information excellent, you were so helpful with individual questions. Thank you!

Your lecture was just wonderful! It was interesting and enlightening, and we learned a lot. We particularly enjoyed the breathing lesson, we felt much calmer and peaceful afterwards. You are so inspiring and give lots of food for thought. I could listed and learn all day!

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