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I also have a 8 1/2x 11 write-on/wipe-off calender beside my Dad's bed (each month I fill in the month and dates info) so that each morning he can cross off the new day. Since i've been doing this, he can tell me the month, day and date.
Upallnight, I think mail (especially junk mail and so-called charitable solicitations) is another area of obsession. For some reason, it's treated as though it's important and all of it needs to be reviewed. When I get my father's mail I sneak some of the junk mail away and slip it in my car if I know he's not watching.
And now there's an election coming up in August so there will be junk mail in the mailbox and at the door in the form of political solicitors.
become more obsessive about keeping dates, appointments, or something else, etc.
People will learn to compensate in some incredible ways, for abilities they are losing.
Gma picked up smooth beach pebbles, used a pencil to write words and phrases on them, then placed them carefully around the house on any horizontal surface--trying to hold onto at least some thoughts.
That drove my uncle nuts--he kept tossing them outside, as he considered it unorganized--he simply failed to understand it was G'ma's last-ditch effort to hold onto a few thoughts, as Alzheimer's crept in.
Mom's [for over 30 years!] kept writing / re-writing about certain topics--absolutely reams of paper generated, yet, she was unable to keep them in order or saved very well, and, has pretty much stuck to similar topics.
She's believed it's extremely important information for posterity and society.
She's understood, at some deep level of subconscious, that her mental ills somehow invalidate her life, despite having accomplished some extraordinary things despite her issues; she's wanted, deeply, to have her life COUNT for something, and this has been a last-ditch attempt towards that.
She's written various versions of same and hand them to whoever she was talking with, wherever--the Doc, his staff, people in stores, push me to send them to politicians, fold into her collaged birthday cards to family, whoever.
Some of them are shaded with her fears regarding her life, spirituality, and politics.
Another G'ma kept kleenexes--up sleeves, in pockets, in a garter, in the kleenex box, between book pages--aargh! But she could always find one!
She was also obsessive about keeping things in exactly the same spots--2" out of place, she couldn't find 'em. My Parent-unit caregiver didn't understand, got so upset about it---needed it explained to her---that it took even a little bit more energy to find something 2" out of place, than being able to go directly to it--even those tiny bits more energy use, could make-it-or-break-it for finding/taking meds, getting to the potty fast enough, eating, etc. She barely moved during sleep--had trained herself to do that, to avoid too much effort to make the bed in the morning.
One brain-injured sister relies heavily on sticky notes and family members reminding her of things. I've seen the dashboard of her car literally covered in sticky-note reminders--each one w/a separate item on it, or it won't work.
Calendars, datebooks, sticky notes--good stuff.
If they keep reminding you of something, just keep assuring them.
If they must use other tools or useful obsessions, let 'em, as long as it is not harmful or impossible to deal with!
Patience! There, but for the Grace of God, go we.
GA, you're absolutely right about the checking and needing to reassure oneself too - with me it can be getting out of bed twice over to make sure I've turned the heating down (when I have). Oh Lord, are we saying that just because you're demented it doesn't mean you can't have ocd too…?!!!
I am going to learn to meditate properly or I will be taking after my mother before my time.
Thank you for the WalMart idea KDCM - we've got an Asda not far away, which WM owns, so maybe they can help.
Countrymouse, I found a clock for under $20 at WalMart. It has day, date, time, and AM or PM. Do you have anything like a WalMart by you? I bought 5 or 6 of the same type and put them all around the house. This worked well for about a year for my mom. Now she is beyond understanding it and doesn't really understand much of what she reads anymore. Which is why the calendar doesn't work anymore either.
I have seen such a clock, probably in literature I picked up at an AAA Expo, but offhand I don't know where it is. I'll see if I can find it for you. There are companies that specialize in "adaptive" accessories and that was probably one of them.
You know, there is some element of obsessive repetition that may not be associated with dementia. I experience this sometimes when I have a complicated legal or financial project and am stressed out from caregiving - it's hard to really get a good perspective and know that my calculations or conclusions are right, so I go over them more than a few times until I feel I've done as good a job as I can. Sometimes there's still a feeling of being unsettled about the project though.
I there that some behaviors that are primarily attributed to dementia but are also coping and adaptive behaviors that younger people experience, but no one associates them with dementia because of their age. I recall a few occasions when attorneys with whom I worked experienced this on very complex issues.
On the subject of helping them keep track of time and date etc. - I saw the perfect dementia-friendly clock, big bold face, clear day and date, just right; but the price was insane - well over £100, which is… um… anyway, getting on for $200 it must have been. I know that's not a lot for very fancy clocks, but this was just ordinary battery-operated plastic, only thoughtfully designed. Has anyone seen a similar, hyper user-friendly one for a slightly more reasonable amount of money?
We also used a very large calender, with color coding for different events. PT was one color, home nurse another, doctor appointments yet another color. It helps the different types of events stand out and be distinctive.
If you still take him out to lunch or dinner, get some of those little smiley stickers or something like that to highlight exceptionally happy events so he can look forward to them.