The hard part is over.
I'm matching you with one of our specialists who will be calling you in the next few minutes.
For instance, he looked me square in the face and said “That Pittsburgh you bought was really delicious”. I had zero idea what he was talking about so I just said, “Oh good, I’m so glad you liked it.” He walked away happy and I was left to wonder what he could possibly mean. With some thinking I think he was talking about the honey baked ham I served him on Christmas Eve, even though he said it about a week after Christmas. But standing there grilling him on what he meant would have done nothing for him or me.
When he is looking for something and can’t find the right word for the object I just pretend to look with him and then say “Well, I’m sure it’s here somewhere. It will turn up when I’m cleaning.” And then divert to something else.
Sometimes he will have his phone in his hand and be yelling he can’t find his phone. He thinks it’s the TV remote, or is looking for something else entirely but calling it a phone. I will call his phone from my phone and if it is his phone he is looking for that will solve it. Otherwise I just say, “ I can’t find stuff all the time. It will turn up.”
BUT I put my foot down at yelling and screaming. I know his brain is broken but I will not be yelled at. Especially when I am just trying to help him gently through whatever the episode of the hour is. So I say calmly, “I’m not sure if you can hear how loud you are getting, but you must stop yelling at me.” If he doesn’t, I walk away and tell him I won’t help him further until he stops yelling, that I will NOT be yelled at. Sometimes he stops, sometimes he keeps yelling and I walk away and he just sits on the couch in an huff until it passes.
It’s a tough journey. I find the path of least resistance better for me and him.
I suggest you read this 33 page booklet which has the best information ever about managing dementia and what to expect with an elder who's been diagnosed with it.
Understanding the Dementia Experience, by Jennifer Ghent-Fuller
Jennifer is a nurse who worked for many years as an educator and counsellor for people with dementia and their families, as well as others in caring roles. She addresses the emotional and grief issues in the contexts in which they arise for families living with dementia. The reviews for her books are phenomenal b/c they are written in plain English & very easy to read/understand. Her writings have been VERY helpful for me.
The full copy of her book is available here:
Here is a list of useful tips from her e-book I found to be excellent:
· Do not reason and argue
· Do not demand that they reason or problem-solve
· Do not demand that they remember
· Do not demand that they get their facts straight
· Do not correct their ideas or scold them
· Do not reorient them
· Do not think that they are being uncooperative on purpose
· Do not think that they really do remember, but are pretending not to
· Do not use a “bossy” dictatorial attitude in care
· Do not act with impatience
· Enter into their frame of reality, or their 'world'
· Be aware of their mood or state of mind
· Use few words and simple phrases
· OR use no words, just friendly gestures and simple motions
· Do everything slowly
· Approach from the front
· Wait for a slow response
· Constantly reassure them that everything is 'OK'
· Keep people with dementia comfortable 'in the moment' - every moment
· Maximize use of remaining abilities
· Limit TV or radio programs which they may feel are frighteningly real
· Maintain privacy
· Provide a safe physical environment
· Use short words
· Use clear and simple sentences
· Speak slowly and calmly
· Questions should ask for a “yes” or “no” answer
· Talk about one thing at a time
· Talk about concrete things; not abstract ideas
· Use common phrases
· Always say what you are doing
· If they repeat their question, repeat your answer as you did the first time · Give them a longer time to process information
· Wait patiently for a response
· Be accepting of inappropriate answers and nonsense words
· Speak softly, soothingly and gently
Hire in home help to give YOU a break from all the aggravation. Think about placement for your wife where you can go see her daily & then come home to rest & relax w/o the burden of caregiving all on your shoulders alone.
Wishing you the best of luck with a tough situation.
Tell her you love het and keep her safe. Our best to you.
Has the world gone crazy? If somebody in their 90s starts telling others that the man next door sends them codes by turning on the car lights (when it is dark out), time to be a critical thinker.
Even, EVEN the neurologist we went to for her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s believed many of the things she said and was shocked when I had to correct the wild stories.
I fear for the world.
And you should never argue with a person with dementia as you will NEVER win, as I'm sure you already know. All it will do is make her mad and you mad too. If she says the sky is green, you just say "and it's such a pretty green isn't it?"
So just go along with whatever she says and you will be surprised just how much more peace there will be between the 2 of you.
And educate yourself more about the disease of dementia. Teepa Snow(a dementia expert)has a lot of great videos on YouTube along with several books she's written. The book The 36 Hour Day is also a great resource.
I believe it all boils down to the Golden Rule. Do unto other as you would have them to unto you. So think about how you would want someone to treat you if you had Alzheimer's and it may just give you a whole new perspective.
Humoring them and indulging in harmless delusions are fine. As long as they are harmless.
Going along with a demented person's delusion about there being prowlers in the bushes when there aren't or agreeing with them when they accuse others of abuse because they have villified these people in their minds, is not okay. Supporting them in these kinds of delusions and going along with it, validates the nonsense and can make them even more paranoid and increase their anxiety. Don't humor on everything.
Just go with the flow in other words. She maybe wrong with things but you don't correct them.
Caregiving for dementia patients is learning how to bite your tongue, and hide your feelings. That’s why supports groups are invaluable.
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