Caregiving Monday: 10 Things to Never Say to an Alzheimer’s Patient

Having a conversation with an Alzheimer’s Patient can be very frustrating at times.  Often they do not have the ability to carry on a conversation, do not remember what you are discussing or cannot find the proper word they are searching for.

However, there are some things we should never say to an Alzheimer’s patient.

  1. I know you remember—they honestly don’t remember; instead reminisce with them, you could say “the address was 10” and do not ask me to remembersee if they can finish the address
  2. I know you can do this—allow them to try, but if they can’t then don’t force them
  3. You could just do this if you would try–they want to but are not able
  4. You’re stupid, lazy, dumb, etc.—they honestly have no idea how to do what you ask; that cognitive ability is gone
  5. You’re wrong—even if they are there is no need to stress them out or argue with them
  6. That person is dead—unless specifically asked I never told; instead use therapeutic lies “they are not here right now, etc”
  7. Don’t bring up any subject that might upset or anger them
  8. Why can’t you remember—again reminisce; don’t make them feel bad
  9. Don’t you remember when you used to…; don’t you remember Uncle “so and so”—they don’t;  maybe ask “Was it Uncle Arthur that drowned in the fishing hole?”  and then see if they remember
  10. Well you can do it if you’d only try—sometimes they can do it if they’d try, but often they just don’t have the cognitive ability

What else would you never say to an Alzheimer’s patient?



10 Things to Never Say to an Alzheimer’s Patient

Caregiving Monday: 10 Ways to Care for the Caregiver

walk              Being a caregiver is very exhausting.  When you add these responsibilities on top of work, children and other responsibilities, it is easy to become overwhelmed.  I’ve discovered it is important to care for yourself, because if not you’re not good in caring for your loved one.

Tips to care for yourself are:

  1. Take a walk or exercisemassage
  2. Read a book
  3. See a movie
  4. Go out to eat with friends
  5. Find a hobby or craft  {such as gardening, etc}
  6. Get a massage or medi/pedi
  7. Join a support group {even if it’s online}
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Implement a support team.
  9. Keep a journal to write in
  10. Eat right and get plenty of sleep

What do you do to care for yourself as a caregiver?


10 Ways to Care for the Caregiver 

Caregiving Monday: 10 Tips for Putting a Caregiver Plan in Place

Becoming a caregiver can be very overwhelming.  This is especially the case if the shift has been sudden instead of gradual.  Although it’s always best to discuss your parent’s wishes with them long in advance, there are times when that is not possible.  Here are a few tips to help you in putting a caregiving plan in place.

  1. Keep a list of important phone numbers of people to call.  Have one for both you and also a list for your loved one of phone numbers.lifeline
  2. Decide who will make the decisions.  Obtain a Power of Attorney. Even if it is just for medical needs, it is important to have one in place.
  3. Decide who will pay all of the finances and add them to the checking account.  Determine what can and cannot be afforded.  How much {if anything} are you or siblings able to assist financially?
  4. Determine what your loved one’s wishes are for the future as far as a nursing facility, funeral plans and if they want to be buried or cremated.  Go ahead and determine all of this in advance and it will not be as difficult later on.
  5. Obtain or update wills, living will, power of attorney, etc.
  6. If the individual is living alone {or with an older spouse} invest in a lifeline that can be used in case of falls.  If the individual is known to wonder you may want to invest in an electronic tracking device.
  7. Keep a list of the individual’s medicines for any future hospital or Dr visits.  Also determine if you need to prepare the medicine. medicines
  8. Access what your loved one is capable of.  Do they need meals prepared, someone with them at night, help with household and yard duties, are they even able to stay by themselves are all questions you need to take into consideration.  Then plan accordingly.
  9. Have a current picture on hand of your loved one if they have a tendency of running off.  You may also want to look into ID Jewelry.
  10. Investigate any needs to prevent falls.  Do they need handles at doors or in the shower?  A shower chair?  Are they in need of a walker or cane?  Do certain rugs need to be removed?  Determine the best course of action for fall prevention and implement


What else have you done to put a caregiver plan in place?



10 Tips for Putting a Caregiver Plan in Place

Caregiving Monday: 5 Activities You Can Do to Keep Your Loved One Active with Alzheimer’s

Do you struggle with finding activities for your dementia patient?  Often it is difficult to find activities they are able to do or to keep their interest for long.  None of these activities have to be very long, but are a couple of ideas of activities to help keep the brain active and interacted.

  1. Music is always great.  It soothes the soul and reaches into the recesses of the mind where other avenues may not be able to elderly dancingreach.  Put on a CD with your loved one’s favorite music or sing along with them.  Even if all they remember are songs you learned as a child, this is a great device to keep them active.  Depending on their capabilities you can add activity to the music such as tossing a balloon, using scarves, using instruments, etc.
  2. Puzzles are a great way to keep the mind active.  This can be a physical puzzle, cross word puzzle or Sudko {depending on the person’s interest}.   Depending on the individual’s capabilities even easy puzzles designed for toddlers are worth the effort.
  3. Picture books are a great way to help a person remember family, friends, and places.  You can help them flip through the picture book and ask who that person in.  Begin to talk about memories of that person or place and allow your loved on to fill in some of the blanks.puzzle
  4. For more advanced cases of dementia when they are limited in their ability, ask to help you fold washcloths and socks.  Even if you have to refold them, at least you are making the person feel useful.  Please wait until you’re in another room to refold them.
  5. Older people love to dance.  Even if they are not physically able to stand up and dance, you can hold their hands and swing your hips.  For them this is dancing.  They may not want to do this for long but even a short song like Let Me Call You Sweetheart or On Moonlight Bay is a start.

What activities have you done with Alzheimer’s patients?


5 Activities You Can Do to Keep Your Loved One Active with Alzheimer’s

Caregiving Monday: A Rite of Passage

90Friday is a very big day in our family.  GG* will turn 90.  This a huge rite of passage and milestone.

GG has been looking forward to this moment for the past year.  The day after she turned 89, she would tell people “I’ll be 90 in 364 days.” From that time on she has been counting down.

GG is slowing down and I don’t know how many more years she will be with us, but we are going to honor and celebrate this milestone with her while we have the opportunity.  We have a number of events included and surprises for her on this special day.

I’ve discovered that the older an individual becomes, the greater the bragging rights.  As senior adults grow closer to 90 and even 100, the greater the bragging rights they have.  I’ve even sat among a room of senior ladies, who do their best to outbid one another in their age.

“Well, I’m 89 years old and 6 months.”

“I’m 89 and 10 ½ months.”90 years

“I’m 91 years old.”

“I’m 94 years old and 9 months.”

“Well, I’ll be 100 in three days.”

This is just some of the conversation you hear among these senior adults.  I find it very sweet and heartwarming to see how proud they are of their age and the wisdom these individuals extol on the younger population.

Just as turning 16, 21, 25, and 40 were rites of passages for many of us in our younger days, each birthday becomes a rite of passage and bragging rites as you grow older.

What birthday was a rite of passage for you or a loved one?

*Name Altered


The Rite of Passage for Senior Adults

Bragging Rights for Senior Adults 

Caregiving Monday: The Longest Day

longest dayJune 21st, is the longest day of the year.  It is also the day that the Alzheimer’s association brings light to this devastating disease.

Their slogan is “Grab your friends.  Do what you love.  Honor those facing Alzheimer’s.”

In essence, they ask that you take this one day, form a team, do something that you love and raise money for Alzheimer’s from sunrise to sunset.

The longest day is this coming Saturday.  One of GG doctors brought this to my attention.  He will be participating in a sport’s camp that day.

Other suggestions are dance, rock climb, hike, cook, swim, craft, music, walk, paint, cycle, garden, card games, theatre, rollerblade,  golf, or combine multiple activities together.  This is an opportunity to put on your creative thinking cap and come up with something you love to do to support this cause.alz

A few facts according to Alzheimer’s organization:

  • Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s
  • 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or a form of dementia
  • More than 5 million American’s are living with the disease
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US
  • In 2013, more than 15.5 million caregivers provided unpaid care hours
  • Almost 2/3 of those with Alzheimer’s are women
  • More than 60% of Alzheimer’s/dementia caregivers are women

What will you do to remember those suffering from Alzheimer’s on Saturday?




The Longest Day, raising Alzheimer’s Awareness 

Caregiving Monday: When You’re Next in Line

Within the last month, GG* has said goodbye to two of her first cousins.  One of these cousins she was very close to.  For the last year, all the two of them talked about was turning 90.  Their birthdays were only 29 days apart.  Sadly, our cousin died four days before her 90th birthday.            90

Her birthday was a bittersweet day for all of us.  We knew she was better off and no longer in pain, but we missed celebrating this monumental milestone with her.  When her son asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said one word, “Home.” We knew she was at her eternal home and that was where she wanted to be.

sadness        With the loss of both of these cousins, GG said “I’m the oldest now.” What she didn’t verbalize, but hung in the air was the statement “I’m next in line.  I’m next.”

Just as our cousin was ready, we know that GG is ready when the time comes.  However, verbalizing this to ourselves isn’t easy.  The biggest lesson I’ve learned in caregiving, is you can’t sweep things under the carpet.  It’s best to deal with the current situation and accept it, instead of living in denial.

There are days when I am exhausted from caregiving, but I keep reminding myself to love and appreciate this time with GG*.  Her statement rings in my ears from time to time, but I chose to be appreciative for this time we’re together.

What are you thankful for as a caregiver?


*Name Altered


When A Senior Citizen Loses All of Her Friends

The Loss of Friends for Senior Adults