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where to find a paid "friend" or companion for patients

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I visit my wife in a nursing home twice daily. She is alert although not demented in any way.....Many other residents are experiencing dementia, however...One dear lady has Alzheimer's and has not responded to my daily "hi, mommy" to her ever...the other day, however, I smiled, waved and said "hi" as I passed by her sitting in a wheelchair in the hallway and she flashed a beautiful smile. My conclusion is that the answer is not for me to find out. Rather the answer is for me to keep on keeping on with daily greetings to the impaired....That alone gives me satisfaction and now and then I receive a bonus in the form of a smile.

Grace + Peace,

Bob
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We were in the same situation with my mom, when God sent this answer to our prayers:
An aquantance I've know for years(Heather) asked me if i knew anyone needing childcare. She needed the income but did not want to go into a full time job untill her 3 year old started school. I anwered no, but asked how she felt about old people. I explained our situation and told her that bringing her 3 year old along would be a requirement of the job. It seems the only thing that brings my mom pure joy anymore is children. I told her, it would be like getting paid for letting my mom be the granny to her family. We started out with Heather going with me to visit mom 1-2 times a week. It wasn't long before they fell in love with each other! That's been a year ago. My mom is always up and dress, ready to have fun and waiting on Heather to arrive every morning. Heather has had to take one more and more as the year has passed. She now has to do mom's laundry, cleaning and prepare meals but mom doesn't mind since Heather is now just part of the family.
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Sure, depends on their abilities. My mom peeled carrots, did dishes, sorted docks, singing, folded laundry and played cards. Once bedridden and no voice, singing and music took on a whole new life. I held her hand a lot, sang clapping my hands, put on lawrence welk dvd's, etc, told short stories to her not knowing if she understood or not, lots of touch and hugs.
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When my husband first developed Alzheimer's disease that no one would diagnose as such, our friends took him out to lunch one day a week. My husband always enjoyed paying for these lunches. When that no longer worked, I found retired guys at our multigenerational center whom I paid without my husband's knowledge. They picked him up at home, took him to the thrift stores or hardware stores that he liked and kept him entertained. My husband had cash in his pocket to pay for lunch(the guys mostly said it was "Dutch treat.") and for small items he chose to purchase. He had a volunteer come to the house for an hour once a week. This man happened to be a former musician, so he brought his French horn and showed my husband how it worked. Same lesson each week, but he was fascinated each time.
Nothing worked for a long time, but each satisfied a need at the time and I had a few hours to myself. When he was further along, my husband was not happy with anyone and worried about their intentions. Would they want to be my boyfriends, for example. He became interested in finding fault with others, including me and the opportunity to please him or distract him or entertain him dwindled.
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My friend's mom has ALZ and said she learned the most "missed" thing is "touch". She spends her visits with mom, holding her hand, brushing her mom's hair, rubbing lotion on her hands and feet. They hold hands when sitting together and walking the halls together.

My mom has dementia; we look at old pictures (she is currently stuck in 1980s or before) - so we look at those pictures and I ask her questions about her favorite birthday, or her favorite meal, the best place she's ever been, about her wedding day, something she remembers about her brother Frank, etc.

Nothing lasts, and they don't get better for sure; but at least you can make your visits/time together meaningful and happy for the elder. As long as they are smiling and getting the one-on-one time, seems to be welcome.
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We try to do things to both mentally stimulate as well as entertain or get her out of her head and away from her thoughts. That can be chatting about anything, petting out kitties (pet therapy!), listening to music she loves, doing tasks in the kitchen (cutting up veggies or stirring things on the stove), sitting at the park and watching kids play, going out for ice cream, walking through IKEA (so many bright colors), the local aquarium, sit on the pier and watch the people go by, or a walk through the dollar store. They are all stimulating or entertaining for her. My mom is otherwise very healthy and mobile except for dementia.
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My Mom is in a rehab facility and is getting help with mobility but she has outbursts with yelling until she looses her voice, (guess that is God's way of quieting her) :)
She soes not want to associate with anyone except the CNA's and the nurses as she thinks the residents are mentally ill and act like four year olds. They have actually been around to see her and are all very nice to her. One little lady came in and spent the night with her because she was yelling and the lady talked her to sleep so everyone could sleep! Really it changes on a daily basis and it sometimes depends on weather the person is positive or negative. In my experience! :)
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Depends on so many factors. What do you mean by stimulate? A blown up beach ball can help her raise her arms and toss or move her feet and kick. A pinwheel can be waved or blown. Blow bubbles. If you feel that is too juvenile for her then try sorting coins in stacks and rolling them. Don't overwhelm her with a lot at one time but add to the pile if she is successful. Can she do word search? Create your own with familiar family names, places, memories and print them out on the computer. She can do the same one every day. I made a full set of playing cards with pictures and questions from an on line web site. They sit in a basket by my Dad. Look for the dice game "shut box". Easy to play and once Mom watches she will probably join in. Bedridden? Audio books, and all the above suggestions about music etc are great.
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I think it truly depends on the personality and social ability of the person. In my mother's case, she never was a very friendly or outgoing person. She would have been highly suspicious and resentful of anyone she had perceived as a "stranger" invading her little circle of self-prescribed misery. I would be more inclined to find a group of people she could join rather than just one person focused only on her. If you google Alzheimer's support groups, you will likely find one in your area that could recommend social groups.
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In Connecticut, I have been using men and women from a place called Seniors Helping Seniors for stimulation for about a year. They do activities (cards, Bingo, art, play ball ) take patients for walks or push wheelchairs. Very friendly, kind and efficient. Southeastern CT area .
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