Friday, December 2, 2011

Excellent advice for Alzheimer patient's caregivers

Here is a great resource:
Dealing with Dementia: 10 tips to help caregivers cope
In summary:

  1. Become an information sponge
  2. Don't take changes personally
  3. Plan ahead
  4. Listen to your loved one
  5. Acknowledge your grief
  6. Take people up on their offers of help
  7. Connect with other caregivers
  8. Watch your own health
  9. Speak out
  10. Find your joy
Giver yourself permission to take it easy. As I volunteer in PCCC, with quite a few residents with dementia, I can see the TLC that staff give to our loved ones. Many with Early Onset Dementia (EOD) are otherwise healthy, but exhibit behaviours loved ones find difficult to watch.

If you can understand that blood and oxygen are getting to the brain cells, and that this is a disease, try to disconnect, get help when you need it.

If you place a loved one in a residential facility, some may not understand why. Many will never understand. Let the guilt go.

I used to give myself permission to take a day off of visiting my dad. It wore me out.
For those who have loved ones at home, or in LTC, there are many things you can do with a loved one:

  1. Do a life review
  2. Go through photo albums
  3. Many love their stuffed toys: the mechanical ones, for kids, have been a hit. Mine I bought for my grandchildren when they visit, but they make my LTC friends laugh with joy!
  4. Find things that replicated hobbies, you can't golf any more, but most LTC have a Wii, and you can play sports Wii!
  5. Cards, board games, magazine
  6. Decorate their rooms with joy of past memories, or for the holidays.

My friend, in LTC, Art. I asked if I could take his picture with my dancing, singing rabbit. He said, 'Yes, as long as you don't show my wife!'

A former model, now a resident in my local LTC, loves looking through fashion magazine.
A former head nurse of the local hospital must find it odd being a care recipient.

Visit on a day when there is entertainment, many have musical guests, fun activities, find a calendar of activities and plan your visits around that.

Musical guests: Keen Like Mustard!
For those who may interact with people with dementia
  1. Learn a little: Test Your Knowledge
  2. Be kind, don't be afraid
  3. Forget the Alzheimer's jokes
  4. Give caregivers a break
  5. Visit often, short visits: read about visitor suggestions

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