Using life long habits, routine, and muscle memory to provide her direction rather than instructing her on tasks. Is there any real research about this approach?

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I have NO training as a Caregiver and only a popular works education on Alzheimers and how the brain functions. But it seems to me that habit and muscle memory are the last things affected by Alzheimer and I have made that a core principle of caring for my mother. Using life long habits, routine, and muscle memory to provide her direction rather than instructing her on tasks.IS there any real research about this approach? I'd be interested also in hearing from others Who do this..

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Muscle memory is related to such terms as motor learning, body memory and cellular memory, though each means something slightly different. The basic hypothesis for all of them is that the physical body retains a memory of what the mind experiences and the mind, or brain and nervous system, retain a memory of what the body experiences.

Most people have heard that once you learn to ride a bicycle you never forget, even if you haven’t ridden one in years. You may have a bit of a shaky start, but within a few minutes, those once idle neurons will reconnect and start firing. Once again, rider and bicycle will become as one and go merrily on their way.

If muscle memory did not exist, we would probably have to relearn our basic experiences every day.

Muscle memory and the mind/body connection is realized when a person no longer has to think about what is being done, the body and mind go on a kind of automatic drive. The physical aspects are the easiest to understand. They are experienced on a daily basis.
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LRH I understand and agree, it's very hard to strike that balance between not barking orders and/but making sure things get done properly. I'm not sure quoting learned journals at them will help, though; but what definitely should help is if you can say "this way works for Mom." Any caregiver worth her/his salt will be happy to go with the flow.

I always add a pretty please with sugar on it, especially in medical settings. I also try to remember that an experienced, good caregiver may well have tips of the trade I haven't seen before…!

I think you should be insistent. Don't get stroppy, always smile and "pat the goldfish," but in the end what choice do we have? - when it comes to choosing between being Little Miss Nice or having a comfortable parent. No option, really, is there?
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My mother loved to take a ride and restaurants too.
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To MrIrHawkin, I know it can be very difficult to get a parent in and out of a car. If you or you daughter had a SUV it would be so much easier on you you just slide them in and out. I think your mother is playing you. If she can stand. She should be able to pivot around into the wheelchair. Not unless her feet neurological disease like Parkinson's disease. I know my mother got deconditioned shortly after being diagnosis with dementia. I would take her to work with me and she had PT 3x/week for 2 months. She didn't like. But, I Knew for sure she would break her hip. After 8 weeks she was wonderful. This was twelve years before she died in 2011. She walked better than I did until 3 month before she died. She was a true Vascular Dementia. All cause by uncontrolled Hypertension and probably moderate no quite high cholesterol. I have Hypertension. I told my Neurologist. I was afraid of getting Dementia like my mother. He told me keep taking you blood pressure medicine and my cholesterol med and baby aspirin and I would be fine. I also learned heart and blood pressure medicine the pill take once a day. Does not cover you for 24 hrs. You need two doses a day. Most people are having strokes and heart attacks happen between 4am to 7am. I worked in a long term facility for 32 years. 15 years in Nursing and 17 years in Geriatric Research. I worked on a Vitamin D study for 10 year. It was proven the elderly who took higher doses of Vitamin D had less fractures. All the bone gurus where taking high doses of Vitamin D. I gave 2000mg to my mother and I took the same dose. My mother had Osteoporosis and 5 of her sisters. I took the Vitamin D to prevent Osteoporosis, so far I am fine. My mother as I have already mentioned fell 3 months before she died. She never walked again because of a bad muscle injury. But, she couldn't remember if she hit her head. So she had a full body scan. The doctor told me I was right about the Vascular Dementia. He could see where she took many hits to her brain. To my big surprise. 90% of her osteoporosis had reversed it self. Vitamin D is water soluble so I didn't worry about the large doses. I just heard they are recommending Vitamin E for memory. I don't know the recommend dose. But, I would only take what they recommend because Vitamin is fat soluble. When it came to showers. My mother refused her 3 daughters. A stranger she would do anything. But, I remember patients who where very tough to get into the shower. Nursing would give them Ativan 0.5mg to 1mg and 1 hour later they would take there shower. When it comes to Vascular Dementia vs Alzheimer's. I was taught it it was more a mixed Dementia 85% of the time. I don't believe it, my mother lived a long time. Before it is actually diagnosed they already had it for 5 years. I know people with Alzheimer's have a hard time with ambulation tend to get more stiff and need more PT. My understanding with Vascular Dementia they plateau and slide plateau and can plateau for along time. Alzheimer's it is a chronic slide and they really can't say Alzheimer's until they long at the brain. There are families involved who loved one has true Alzheimer's looking for the gene the cause Alzheimer's. I don't know if I would want to know that diagnosis. But, we all are or taken care of elder parents. I know with my mother. I had no regrets and would do it again if I had too. Both of my parents are gone and that is a funny feeling too.
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A Side point- Yes I am longwinded -I am a daughter and as far as my mother is Concerned she tells ME what to do NOT the other way.People make Comments that when parents get older the children have to be the parent. That will NEVER happen between my mother and I. My father Can Instruct her . NOT me. I finally found that moving with her through an established routine based on her life and habits while always using A tone of voice that was reminding her of Something SHE had decided to do was the wayto peace- and poop- and pee- and showers -and etc. But only in The role of daughter Who Stopped by to visit. Using muscle memory Cues is partly for her- but also a coping strategy for me.
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JessieBelle -you may not have an overall regular life routine but I bet your mother Still has the little Mini routines that create muscle memory. And you Can use those to maintain her ability to function
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Oops- Continuing that thought. and think they are. It is awkward to tell them no and make her do it herself when it is obviously difficult for her
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norestforweary/ Thank you for your Comment and encouragement. Talking and noise definitely Can be problematic . Our shower routine is very exact and a phone call during it Can be devastating. Standing is REAL ordeal. Mom's brain has difficulty telling her legs to push up. She just Keeps Scooting the dining room chair forward. My nearly always taken Mom out for lunch and dinner. Invariably just as her legs are FINALLY pushing up -someone says , "Well Hello SUE.'" Ugh another 5 minutes . Unfortunately, at one restaurant the owner decided to be helpful and get under her shoulder to help her. Now She positively will not Stand there and has to be lifted from the chair every time • Sometimes at other restaurants also. But my Dad has Caught on that lifting is a bad idea because it quickly becomes THE habit. When he is with a group , though, he is self Conscious about how long it takes her to Stand. and lifts her. People also genuinely want to help and think
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Kathleen2251932 This Information is very enlightening! A doctor told my Dad That Mom has Alzheimers Which made me dubious because I've always heard a REAL diagnosis can only be made with an autopsy also. And this doctor Was DEFINITE! Mom's Alzheimers has never been anything like my grandmother's though. Mom can definitely still learn a routine. She had quit peeling her own banana in the mornings and I worked with her and she gained that
back. She still needs prompts but she peels it and slices it into her cereal bowl. Also She was in the hospital for a few days then a rehab center for a month and she learned her birthday. When she first went in and they asked She just
turned and looked at my Dad. By day 3 she was Saying March and after a week she rattled it off easily. I love your story of the teacup! Also even though I'd say she Is late stages she certainly Still knows us and will eyen Sometimes call us by name. Knowing about Vascular dementia gives me another Way to explain Using muscle cues to caregivers rather than directions.
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MikeB26 I love this Story. Thank you for Sharing.
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