Posts Tagged ‘suggestions’

Caregiving Pearls

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

1.    Don’t Be in Denial: It’s only natural to be in denial when a loved one begins to show signs of dementia, but that only prevents the person from getting a diagnosis, starting treatment, and planning for the future.

 2.    Don’t Ask, “Do You Remember?” Of course they can’t remember. If they could remember they wouldn’t be diagnosed with dementia. Asking if they remember some person or event could make them frustrated.

 3.    Do Interact With the Person at His or Her Level:  You may want to interact with the person the way you always have, but that isn’t going to be possible. Instead, figure out at what age they appear to be behaving, then connect with them at that level.

 4.    To Connect With People Who Have Alzheimer’s, Put Something Meaningful in Their Hand: This is a valuable tip provided by Tom and Karen Brenner in their book, You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello: The Montessori Method for Positive Dementia Care. You may have to experiment some to find out what is meaningful to any specific person.

 5.    To Connect With People With Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Try Introducing Them to Children, Pets, Music or Art:  These four activities will often reach people in the late stages of the illness – even if they hardly talk anymore. 

6.    Don’t Argue, Correct or Disagree: You can’t win an argument with a person who has dementia – so don’t even try. Neither should you contradict them. It will make them dig in their heels even more strongly.

 7.    Don’t Bring up Topics That May Upset the Person: If you know your loved one will get upset if you talk about politics, for example, don’t start the conversation in the first place. It will probably lead to a battle you don’t want to have.

 8.    Do Quickly Change the Subject If the Person Does Get Upset: If the person does get upset one of the best things you can do is redirect their attention to something else, preferable something pleasant.

 9.    Don’t Quit Visiting When the Person Doesn’t Know Who You Are:  Just because your loved one does not recognize you doesn’t mean they have no feelings. People with Alzheimer’s may enjoy being visited even if they don’t know precisely who the visitor is.

 10.  Do Take Care of Yourself:  Being an Alzheimer’s caregiver is hard work. The gold standard book on Alzheimer’s caregiving isn’t entitled The 36-Hour Day for nothing. Take good care of yourself for your benefit and for the good of the person for whom you’re caring. You can’t be an effective, compassionate caregiver if you’re exhausted and burned out all the time.

 

5 Things Alzheimer’s Caregivers Should Never Do

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Don’t Be in Denial: When a loved one shows signs of dementia it’s common for their friends and loved ones to be in denial. It’s easy to ignore the symptoms, make excuses for the person, and push the symptoms to the back of your mind. The problem with denial is it doesn’t lead you to take your loved one to a primary care physician or neurologist for a complete workup. Sometimes dementia is caused by health issues other than Alzheimer’s. Some of those problems can be treated or even reversed.

Don’t Ask “Do You Remember?” Asking a person with Alzheimer’s if they remember something is a common mistake. They have probably forgotten the event in question. That’s what people with Alzheimer’s do. They forget. So it’s better to say, “I remember when . . . ” and then tell them a story.

Don’t Argue With or Contradict the Person: If you’re caring for someone with dementia it’s so easy to contradict or argue with them when they say things that are total nonsense. And they typically say a lot of things that fall into this category. But it’s much better to agree with them and then change the subject. This can prevent a nasty argument.

Don’t Delay Nursing Home Placement When It’s Clearly Needed: At some point it may (but not always) become evident that you can no longer care for the person at home. Mid- to late-stage patients need nursing staff and aides 24 hours a day and a physician on call at all times. They also need a dietician, a cook, a housekeeper, an activity director and many more professionals. And they need to have people around them to provide social stimulation. Sometimes placing the person in a reputable institution is indeed the most loving choice for the patient.

Don’t Stop Visiting When Your Loved One No Longer Recognizes You: Many people think that there’s no reason to visit a loved one who no longer recognizes them, but I am firmly convinced that you should visit anyway. First of all the person may enjoy being visited even if he or she doesn’t quite know who is visiting them. More importantly, it’s possible that the person does recognize you but simply isn’t able to say so.

Do any of you have suggestions of other things an Alzheimer’s caregiver should never do?