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Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Medications:

Aricept Medication: Is this really a memory drug?

Exelon Medication

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Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Articles:

Alzheimer's Disease: An Introduction   

Alzheimer's Disease  

Caregiving for the Alzheimer's patient: Is there a problem?  

Long- term Care and Dementia  

Dementia: What are the various different diagnosis?  

Memory Loss and the Dementia Diagnosis Page #2  

Dementia Symptoms and Diagnosis  Page #3  

Dementia Symptoms and Executive Functioning  Page #4  

Alzheimer's Brain: Degenerative Changes   

Alzheimer's Brain: Degenerative Changes Page#2  

Cause of Alzheimer's Disease   

Alzheimer's Diagnosis  

Alzheimer's Treatment  

Alzheimer's Care: 9 Ideas that Really Work - Page #1    

Alzheimer's Care: 9 Ideas That Really Work - Page # 2   

Alzheimer's Treatment: Experimental therapies and alternative treatments   

Heavy Smokers and Heavy Drinkers Get Alzheimer's Earlier  

Medications Make Alzheimer's Patients Worse  

Dealing With Dementia

Dealing With Dementia Page #2   

Alzheimer's Disease and Brain Function-3 Things You Should Know   

Untangling the Alzheimer's Brain   

Alzheimer's Caregivers Make the Holidays Wonderful   

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Dealing With Dementia

Page #2

By: Alice Endy

See Dealing With Dementia Page #1

dealing with dementiaOne of the common things I hear is, "She is not my mother anymore" or "I do not know this person." You have to get past that to be helpful to your parent.

I am sure you had times in your child raising years where you felt the same, the terrible two’s, teen years, college years, or even into the adult years, where you said to yourself," I do not know this person anymore."

It is a process of accepting your children at the stage they are at, knowing that you are doing your best. Well, it is not any different with your parent. Your parent will always be your parent. They just act differently as they become more frail, more vulnerable, and child like.

I often look at my mother and see a three year old or a five year old and it makes me feel good
to know that no matter what age (stage) she is today I will care for her and love her as she is.

Behavioral Issues: Behavior is not intentional in Dementia.


SOLUTIONS:


Always look to the basics: hungry, thirsty, cold, toileting needs. Pain-80% of the frail elderly have chronic pain that goes untreated.

Keep your phrases short and simple,” do you want apple juice or orange juice?" Ask questions requiring a yes/no response. Allow LOTS of time for a response. Allow choices as often as possible. Choices must be appropriate to their level.

We do not ask the three year old if he wants to go to bed. We take him to bed. Choices like, "Would you like to wear blue or yellow today?" "Would you like tomato soup or chicken noodle soup?" These are an example of stage appropriate choice I would give my mother.

Avoid statements such as, "Do you want to eat?" "Do you need to go to the bathroom?" "Are you ready for your shower?" Those are given tasks not options.

Do not ask if they want to go to the doctor, hairdresser,etc. Just take them. Allow plenty of time for appointments. Dementia patients will never move on your time table. Lots of extra time must be allotted to get ready.

Dementia patients do much better with a fixed routine (just like your kids.) Regular meal and snack times. (do not forget fluids.) Regular shower time at their best time of the day. Regular bedtime. Avoid mentioning an appointment ahead of time. Some people will stress on that and ask repeated questions.

Use distraction to change a behavior. My mother has a habit of clapping her hands loudly and repeatedly if she is not busy with something. Sometimes just asking her a question breaks the pattern. At other times having her fold clothes, play cards, look through a magazine, or singing a song will also break the pattern. Activities are a must. Some communities have a senior center with activities or adult day care centers that often do a great job with activities.

Find activities that your parent enjoys, walks, folding laundry, washing dishes, playing cards, etc. Be creative. "Remember Times" I learned all sorts of family history and fun stuff when my mother was in her earlier years of dementia. We would do "remember time."

We would talk about family, how she meet my father, their first date, hobbies, jobs, vacations, WWII, the Depression era, etc. Today, my mother is in her 12th year of Alzheimer's and she does not remember the past. Now she likes us to tell her the family stories.

THINGS TO AVOID
Do not try to reason with the dementia person. They are unable to reason. Do not take their behavior personally. They are not doing it to you, they are just doing it. Do not confront or correct. Leave the room if you have too.

Do not argue. You are arguing to a blank wall!
Do not talk about your parent in front of them.
Do not ask them or expect them to have recent memory.
Statements like, "I just answered that question"
or, "don't you remember? Remember the "blank wall"!

Remember, between you and your parent, YOU are the one that has to change, accept, grow, and love them through to the end.

When all is said and done you will never regret
this time spent caring for your elder. Allow this time to be as fun as possible-find your humor and use it in the daily activities of caregiving. And yes, it is a very difficult job caring for your parent.

Arm yourself with support groups and learn all you can about your parent's dementia. Do not become the " Lone Ranger". Reach out, ask for help, hire a babysitter, etc. Just like you did for your kids, you can do this.
 

About the Author: Alice Endy is a Registered Nurse with advanced certification as a Gerontological Nurse. Alice has helped thousands provide care and support to their elder family members. Alice has been a caregiver for her Mother who is in her twelfth year of Alzheimer’s Disease. http://www.AskNurseAlice.com

Webpage by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate 

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