dementia-1528625__180

Positive Peer Re-Enforcement

I have a resident that is so soft spoken it is almost impossible to understand what she is saying.

Positive reinforcement can yield positive results
Positive reinforcement can yield positive results

In the past when she spoke it was completely undistinguishable.  Even speech therapy had stopped working with her.

However, her roommate is very patient with her.  She coaxes and encourages her to speak in a manner that is kind and caring.

Lately, I’ve noticed that this sweet lady is speaking more distinctly and louder.

It’s amazing what a little encouragement and love can accomplish.

What positive re-enforcements have you seen from peer interaction?

break-ice

Breaking the Ice with Dementia

I have several patients that most staff and visitors are scared to approach.  This is mainly due to their disability or behavior.

However, I’ve determined to get to know these residents and spend time with them.

So what have I learned? What are some ways to break the ice with dementia patients?

It may take a while to break the ice but it is definitely worth it
It may take a while to break the ice but it is definitely worth it
  • This takes time
  • Slowly, but surely we both warm to one another
  • Touch shows I care
  • Music is a great way to break the ice
  • Even short visits show I care
  • I need to genuinely care
  • Speak with the family to learn about this person and their life
  • Find one thing we can bond over {each person is different but there is something}
  • This takes time
  • I can’t rush the process
  • Don’t give up

How have you broken the ice?

hands-216982__180

Power of Touch

I have several residents that are difficult to reach and many people don’t even try to get to know them.  I feel as if they are the ones missing out.

Touch can make a big difference in Alzheimer's
Touch can make a big difference in Alzheimer’s

One way to reach out to a bed bound, hard of hearing or comatose patient is through the power of touch.

  • Just a hand on their arm
  • a squeeze of the hand
  • a hand massage
  • a stroke of their upper arm
  • a pat of their foot

These are all ways the power of touch can work.  It doesn’t have to be for long, but even a minute of this can show you still care and connect you.

What way has the power of touch worked for you?

face-1602484__180

Alzheimer’s Perception of Situation

We have a resident that is well over 100 years of age.  Although she has dementia, she also has lucid moments.  Recently, I stopped in to visit with her and had a conversation we’d never had before.

Dementia patients often see much more than we think
Dementia patients often see much more than we think

Me: “How are you?”

Her: “I’m sad.”

Me: “Why are you sad?”

Her: “Someone was talking about me.”

Me: “What did they say?”

Her: “I don’t know but I didn’t like it.”

This was a reminder that even when we think an individual with dementia or Alzheimer’s does not know what we are saying, there are times when they do understand.

Even if they do not understand the words they may understand in a number of other ways.

This can include:

Dementia Patients know how you make them feel
Dementia Patients know how you make them feel
  • Tone of voice
  • Touch
  • Look on our face
  • Attitude toward that individual
  • Perception

What ways have you noticed an Alzheimer’s individual is perceptive to their situation?

Alz awareness

World Alzheimer’s Day

Today is World Alzheimer’s Day.

September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day
September 21 is World Alzheimer’s Day

September 21st, is the date chosen by the Alzheimer’s organizations, to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

According to Alzinfo.org, someone develops Alzheimer’s every 68 seconds.

With Alzheimer’s, family members slowly watch their loved one die again and again.  With each stage comes more loss of memory and motor skills.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve witness pain cross an individual’s face because their parent did not remember them.

Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

laughter-1532978__180

3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver by Kathleen Brown

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Kathleen Brown to Caregiving Monday.  She is going to share lessons she has learned from being an Alzheimer’s Caregiver.  This seemed very apropos today, because Wednesday is World Alzheimer’s Day.  Welcome, Kathleen!

 

3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
by Kathleen Brown

Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking
Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking

I discovered Mom had Alzheimer’s during a September trip. September. Its flower is the forget-me-not; its gemstone, the sapphire. Sapphires were

once associated with clear thinking. As I began caring for Mom, in the house where I grew up, I hoped the clear thinking part was for me.

If you’re an at-home caregiver, you know it presents unique challenges. My first weeks with Mom felt like one emergency after another; I was on adrenaline overload. Then I began noticing the miracles: tiny ones (finding one of Mom’s shoes in the trash can), and huge ones (Mom suddenly agreeing to a long-needed bath). Feeling the Lord’s presence and help, I calmed down and began to learn. Fear not—you’ll see miracles, too.

Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.
Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.

 

Three of the Biggest Everyday Lessons

 

#1-You always have options.

In the beginning I thought there was only one right way to accomplish any care task. Wrong. There will always be more than one way to do what you need to do. Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.

Example: Doctor to Mom: “Exercise.”
Mom to doc: “No.”
Solution: Two carts at the mega-store. While Dad shopped with one, Mom used the other like a walker, happy to stroll with me all around the store.

 

Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival
Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival

#2-Be ready to laugh.

Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival. The day Mom opened her mouth and I saw her dentures were in upside down, I smiled when I wanted to cry. After I fixed them, I laughed. Her poor gums were no longer being bitten by false teeth! Humor is an invaluable companion in caregiving.

 

When you need strength, you’ll have it.
When you need strength, you’ll have it.

#3-You will make it, even through the most difficult times.

When you need strength, you’ll have it. When you need words, they’ll come to you. When there’s nothing you can do to help your loved one, she will, against all odds, help herself. I can’t tell you how it happens—who can explain a miracle?—but I can tell you that resolution

always comes. Expect it.

Expecting solutions widens your field of vision. You’ll find resources and strategies you won’t see if your eyes are closed in despair.

We hope effective treatments for Alzheimer’s will come—someday. Ways to cure and even prevent it. Until then, our peace will be in knowing we can help our loved ones through it. We can.

 

 

Kathleen Brown
Kathleen Brown

 

Kathleen Brown is a writer, speaker, and firm believer in everyday miracles. The author of A Time for Miracles: Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s, she focuses her work on needs of at-home Alzheimer’s caregivers. You can reach Kathleen through her blog, www.hopeandhelpforalzheimers.wordpress.com, or by email to http://kbrown.writer@gmail.comkbrown.writer@gmail.com.

 

 

All pictures courtesy of Pixabay.com and are free creative commons pictures

elder

Alzheimer’s Patients Don’t Like to Be Alone

While working with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients over the years, I’ve noticed most of them don’t like to be alone.  This could be because of the confusion the disease creates.

Those with Alzheimer's are more perceptive than we give them credit
Those with Alzheimer’s are more perceptive than we give them credit

Sometimes the disease demands they are not alone because of their actions, also.

However, some of the reasons I’ve noticed this are:

  • Need reassurance not alone
  • Need reassurance someone cares about them and loves them
  • Need guidance to know what’s next
  • Need comforting when they are confused

What reasons have you noticed in Alzheimer’s patients that don’t like to be alone?