12.26.17 Some Things I Learned About Dementia -Baby dolls for Dementia patients are therapeutic published 02.10.17

Tuesday, December 26, 2017 – While reviewing the original blog below, I did some research into this and found an article titled:

“Grandmother with dementia reacts with sheer joy as her granddaughter places a child’s doll in her arms in a touching video that will move you to tears.”

I love having clear thinking days like this when I can get something like this accomplished without frustration.  I spent Christmas eve playing with and snuggling with my grandchildren which I believe is the best medicine I could ever have.  thank you to my sons and their families for giving me so much joy! After a 12 hour night of sleeping I am doing wonderful today and thank God for this.

Don’t forget to click on the red links throughout the original blog.  Great information at those websites.

I recommend that in addition to reading the original blog, you check the link below and read that article too. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3379099/Grandmother-dementia-reacts-sheer-joy-s-given-child-s-baby-doll.html

Original blog published 02.10.17 –  On a personal note, Mama had two beanie babies she loved.  Dementia folks have fidgety hands.  The beanie babies gave her fidgeting hands something to love.  We even buried her with those beanie babies.  If I am ever at this point I really want a baby doll to love.  A couple of beanie babies would be a nice first step!dolls for dementia

Baby dolls for Alzheimer’s patients are therapeutic

A helpful, non-drug way to calm and soothe seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia is to give them a soft, lifelike baby doll to cuddle. These therapy dolls can even be effective in calming older adults with severe agitation or other significant behavioral issues.

Why therapy dolls for dementia work

Therapy dolls help seniors feel useful and needed and give them something positive to focus on. Similar to the effect of soft toys like stuffed animals, hugging something soft helps someone with dementia soothe themselves.

Another reason therapy dolls are helpful is that they bring back happy memories of early parenthood for both women and men. Having a child to care for can also ease feelings of isolation and sadness. After all, most of us have seen or experienced the way that interacting with real babies can quickly lift spirits and calm nerves.

Many older adults will enjoy rocking and cuddling their doll. Some even adopt the baby as their own and make caring for it part of their daily routine.

Tips for introducing doll therapy to your senior.

The best approach is to casually introduce the doll to your senior and let them decide if they like it or not. If they have no interest in the doll, don’t make an issue out of it. They may change their minds in the future so you could always give it another try in a few weeks or months.

A few tips:

  1. Don’t act like the doll is a doll, refer to it as a baby and treat it like a real child.
  2. Get a lifelike doll, but one that doesn’t cry – that could be upsetting.
  3. Don’t force it, allow your senior to get to know the doll slowly.

Some caregivers find dolls controversial

We’ve heard from many caregivers who say their older adults are much calmer and happier now that they have their own baby doll. They’re relieved to have found a non-drug solution that eases their senior’s dementia symptoms.

Some people are concerned that giving their older adult a doll would be demeaning or patronizing. But when someone has dementia, helping them feel safe and happy in their current reality is the top priority. That’s why we sometimes need to consider unconventional approaches like baby dolls, fidget blankets, and other simple activities and toys.

Of course, the decision is entirely up to you since you know your older adult best. If you think a therapy doll might help them feel better and enjoy life more, why not give it a try? It’s an inexpensive “treatment” with no side effects.

By DailyCaring Editorial Team http://dailycaring.com

17

Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about dementia. If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

2-corinthians-5-17

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published randomly

12.19.17 Some Thing I Learned About Dementia – Memory People – Christmas and my update

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 – This was posted on Facebook’s group Memory People on December 4, 2017 written by Rick Phelps who has had Early Onset Alzheimer’s for five years since he was 57 years old.  His viewpoint as the patient makes everything he writes very special to me. My personal update is at the end of today’s blog.

Image may contain: outdoorOn top of everything else a dementia patient deals with, along comes Christmas.

All the lights, the people, the noise, and the chaos. Most of you know, or will, that anything out of your loved ones routine can cause all kinds of problems.

Christmas, is out of ones routine. Putting a tree up, having flashing lights, having lights that don’t flash, really doesn’t matter.

We do a tree every other year. This year we put a tree up. Although it bothers me, not to the point to where I can’t stand it. Yet.

Just moving the furniture is dramatic too me. Where on of our front room chairs goes, there will be a tree this week.

Watching TV will be a distraction for me, because there’s a tree in our front room. It’s out of the norm if you will.

Remember these things. The only thing good about my situation I’m still capable of telling what drives me crazy. Most family members know. Noise is a big thing this time of year. And yes, those lights.

I am not a Christmas Grinch, I’m sure your loved one isn’t either. It’s just that the holidays are extremely stressful on a dementia patient which will make care giving extremely stressful as well.

What makes Christmas time worse? It starts for me about a week before Thanksgiving, and lasts through January 2nd, or 3rd.

That’s a long time for anyone having to deal with anything. We got through Thanksgiving dinner. Our kids, aren’t kids anymore. The youngest of the girls is eleven now and the grandson is ten.

We don’t have the running through the house thing anymore. So that‘s a plus. But even the adults talking can be challenging.

Imagine in our instance fifteen adults all having conversations at the same time, about many different topics. It’s confusing to someone who doesn’t have dementia.

I know this happens, and we want it too. Have family around during the holidays. But you have to me in tune with a dementia patients needs.

Make sure there is somewhere you can take the patient too, a bedroom or something, where they can get away from the hustle and bustle.

I step outside. Many times, matter of fact. Just a few minutes outside usually is good for me to continue. Sometimes not so much. You have no choice.

You have to deal with this disease. It makes it somewhat easier if the caregiver or family members can read the stress on one’s face.

Certainly we want everyone to have the happiest of holidays. But dementia doesn’t take a day off because it’s that time of year.

It never takes a day off. And that is the problem…

© Rick Phelps 2017

For support for this journey of dementia, join us at Memory People, on Facebook. We’ll walk this with you, each step of the way. You are not alone.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/180666768616259/

I am aware that there are not clear paragraphs below. There should be. I know how to fix it but the fix isn’t working. I’ll continue trying to get it fixed! On a personal note:  We went to Dr. Morgan yesterday to get the results of the 3 day EEG and EKG.  I didn’t see the doctor but I saw the Nurse Practitioner.  Not sure why I didn’t see the doctor because the NP went out of the room to consult with the Doctor a few times, so the doctor was available. That’s something I’ll have to ask about.

The EKG didn’t show any heart problems, yay! The EEG brain test didn’t show any of the type of seizures they thought the test would show.  It did show some abnormality but I think she said it was not anything of concern.

I have to admit, the appointment became very stressful and confusing for me.  I wasn’t my sweet little happy self.  There were mean words coming out of my mouth and a good bit of crying.  To go from my original doctor that I saw for 4 years  diagnosing me with dementia ((he was wonderful the first four years and only in the last year did I choose to leave him). It took me years to accept it and my constantly increasing symptoms had confirmed this diagnosis.  Now to see a new doctor who has not reviewed all of the original test results and other tests I’ve had over the years.  She doesn’t seem to know what medicines I’m already on which gives me concern and makes me doubt their ability to help me.  However, they wants to rule out other things so I’m going to do this.  If we can find some other cause of my symptoms, that is a good thing.  I would love to find some other reason for my symptoms but being in limbo and not knowing is a rough place for me to be in.

I’ve always wanted to know what caused my dementia.  Because the symptoms of dementia can be caused by many different things she wants to address those causes one at a time.  Since I’ve tried and am now off of the regular dementia medicines, if there is a medicine or other treatment that can help the symptoms I have I’ll be glad to try it!  She gave me a prescription for medicine for the first possibility that we are addressing;  I will be on it for the next month and then I’ll go back to see her. I’ll keep ya’ll informed as we go through any new phase of treatment testing.

I get no where trying to handle this myself so I’ve given all of this uncertainty over to God.  He is my rock and will get me through whatever all this turns out to be.

I am still uncertain if Dr. Morgan is who I want as my ongoing neurologist  If she can find something other than dementia, something that can be treated, she’ll be my favorite doctor.

Ya’ll come back now, ya hear!

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published randomly

12.15.17 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Memory People website

Friday, December 15, 2017 – I previously shared about a wonderful Closed (you have to be a member to comment or see the discussions) Facebook group called Memory People.  One of their Facebook pages is open to be read and shared. And I will be sharing! Most dementia groups are all about the caregivers. Since this one has both dementia folks and caregivers in it I think the information is extra helpful.

This is from their Facebook page:

Memory People™ is an Alzheimer’s/dementia and memory impairment support and awareness group on Facebook providing support, assistance, information and help for this journey 24/7.

Memory People™ was created by Rick Phelps, diagnosed in 2010 at the age of 57 with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Rick saw the need for real-time support for all who have found themselves on this journey of dementia, patients, caregivers, professionals and health care workers.

The following article was written by Rick Phelps and caught my attention as something I need to share with others. I plan to share more of the insightful things that Rick (who has Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease) shares with this group.

Rick also wrote a book with the help of someone without dementia, called “While I Still Can” which can be seen by clicking on the book below.

Patience we are told is a virtue. The ability to wait for something or someone, without getting angry or upset is a valuable quality in a person.

This phrase was first written and recorded in 1360. So, it’s been around a while. Far longer then when Alzheimers was first discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimers in 1906.

There are many things one must do and be while caring for a dementia patient. Patience is right at the top of the list.

Daily I read over the posts in Mp. And everyday without fail someone‘s patience is being tested by their loved one.

And almost 100% of time the caregiver wants to know what they can do to correct whatever behavior is being acted out.

This is because from a very early age we are taught and led to believe that there is a “fix” for literally everything. A reason, an explanation, an answer.

All one needs to do in most cases is understand what is going on, and correct it. Perhaps it’s a process of elimination in some cases.

Whatever the issue, there is an answer, a “fix” to whatever comes up. That is except for dementia. And this includes any type of dementia.

The person who has dementia has one thing in common with other patients. They can no longer think as they once could.

Their brain doesn’t react as those who don’t have dementia does. We lack the ability to make rational decisions. We lack the ability to remember things. And we lack the ability to explain to anyone why this is happening.

These are just three examples of what we lack. There are hundreds more and each of them range from subtle to severe to different patients.

Depending on when the dementia started, where it started, and how it has progressed. Personally I can make sense about 60% the time. It’s the other 40% that is the issue, and not being able to control when one can and cannot make sense is a huge issue.

I may make the most rational decisions this morning, and not be able to make any type of decision in just an hour or two.

Sadly, in time, all of our decision making is gone. This progression is slow in most cases. How fast one progresses is an educated guess at best.

The only thing caregivers need to really understand is we have trouble making decisions. Real trouble. And when we make bad decisions as in being belligerent, abusive, or just do things that are wrong, the caregiver always questions why is this happening and what can I do to prevent it.

Which leads right back to what I was saying about we have been taught that almost anything can be “fixed”. If we‘d think about it, we would know this isn’t true.

Sorta like the child who is never told no. Goes about their young life just doing what they want, when they want. Then one day reality hits, and someone, somewhere tells them no.

They just have a meltdown. The mere fact that someone would tell them know never entered their minds. This is what it is similar to when someone is diagnosed with dementia.

They have went their entire lives making decisions, and one day that ability is no longer with them. They can’t comprehend what is happening. And some just keep making bad decisions because once again, they cannot help it.

This is where patience plays a huge roll in being a caregiver. What occurs sometime dozens of times a day with a patient, will because they don’t have the ability to change what they are doing. To make better decisions.

So, the caregiver instinctively tries to “fix” this or ask others what they do to “fix” this. It’s normal. Something isn’t right, you find a way to “fix” it, or ask someone to help.

You have to get away from this type of thinking. You have to realize that what is happening to your loved one is out of your control. If you think I am wrong, then why doesn’t your love one stop making bad decisions all the time? Why do they constantly do the most absurd things, over and over and over? It’s because they can’t make rational decisions.

You obviously need to stop a patient from doing things that would put them or others in danger or hurt themselves or others.

But like the child, you must constantly be watching and trying to stay on step ahead of what may happen. Again, patience is the key.

The reason patience is the key is 99.9% the time nothing you do will work. Take arguing with a dementia patient. It is a total waste of time. Once a dementia patients mind is set on something, you aren’t likely going to change it and arguing is just like going around in circle.

It doesn’t do you or the patient any good to argue. They will because they make bad decisions. They decide for whatever reason to argue over things that they are totally wrong on. But not in their mind, and that is all that matters to them.

Shadowing is a perfect example. How do you get a grown person to stop following you every minute of every day? Follow you from room to room. You can’t get five minutes alone because you are being followed by them no matter what you say or do.

What can you do to “fix” this? The answer is have patience. Because the only way a patient will stop the shadowing is if they move on to some other symptom of this disease. Even then for whatever reason they may return to shadowing you.

Hoarding things is something else you won’t be able to “fix” that requires patience. I have went over this as a patients perspective and have said many times that patients are not actually hoarding anything.

To do this, they would have to make the distinct decision to take something and put it somewhere, to retrieve it later. And this just doesn’t happen. What they are doing, what I do is much simpler to explain.

I am simply putting things back where I believe they belong. If you find silverware in the linen drawer, it’s because that is where your loved one believes it goes.

If you find the milk in the cupboard, if you find left over food in the bathroom, or if you find your jewelry in the oven, again it’s where these things belong.

And what can you do? Patience. It’s easy to try to explain to you to have patience with your loved one, it’s very hard to do when they are up for the fourth time in the middle of the night, with them just walking around. For no reason what so ever.

There is nothing wrong with asking what you can do to try to stop some sort of behavior in your loved one. We do it here on Mp each and every day. However, being told to have patience is rarely seen as the answer.

If we as a society would put as much time into having patience as we do in trying to “fix” or stop whatever is happening, you would find it easier.

Would this solve all the issues you deal with on a day by day, or hour by hour, basis? No.

For this, you need patience, as well. I had to write these thoughts down many times to get them to come out right. That I did with patience.

© Rick Phelps 2017

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

12.14.17 Eight things someone with Dementia wishes you would not say to them, published 02.01.17

Thursday, December 14, 2017 – I’ve found a wonderful Facebook group called Memory People.  It is a group for those with dementia and those who are caretakers of those with dementia.  I will be writing about that group next and a very important conversation thread I recently read there.  It kinda goes with what is in the original blog below.

On a personal note:  The EEG/EKG results from the 3 day test several days are in and I have an appointment with Dr. Morgan next Monday, December 18th to get the results.

 

singleactofkindnessquoteameliaearhartOriginal blog 02.01.17 – This article was found on http://blog.thealzheimerssite.com/.  There is lots of information about dementia there.  Check it out for yourself! I found this information to be quite true and helpful, I hope it will help you as well.

Speaking to or about an Alzheimer’s patient as if he or she is not really a person is a pitfall many of us fall into. When our parents and grandparents lose their memory and, often, certain aspects of their personalities, it’s hard to regard them as the same people we once knew. It’s also nearly impossible to keep from correcting someone who has Alzheimer’s; it’s just our nature to want to help “heal” our loved one’s memory by fixing the errors we hear in their words.

However, just because someone has Alzheimer’s doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings. So think twice before you make any of these comments that may unintentionally cause more harm than good to a person with Alzheimer’s.

8. “You said that already.”

You don’t really get how this disease works, do you?

medication blues

7. “Do you remember me?”

Way to put a person on the spot. Maybe I do and maybe I don’t. What’s it to you?

wrinkled face of senior woman

6. “Use your words.”

First of all, I’m not a three-year-old throwing a tantrum. I’m not refusing to use words. Sometimes I just CAN’T use words. If you know what I’m trying to say, why can’t you meet me halfway?

A grumpy old man

5. “No, no, I’m not Meredith.”

Are you sure you’re not Meredith? You look like Meredith. Mary, maybe? Marie? Emily? Can’t you just be Meredith for the day so I can be done guessing?

granportrait 12

Well then you tell the darn story. Am I not allowed to talk now just because I can’t keep my facts straight?

Old Man in Sunglasses

3. “Oh, actually, so-and-so passed away.”

Well thanks for raining down that giant tidal wave of grief on me in that blasted matter-of-fact tone. This is fantastic.

elderly woman

 2. “I know you probably don’t remember, but…”

Again, thank you. I’m glad we’ve gotten past that murky point where we weren’t sure what I remembered and what I didn’t. Just assuming I don’t know what you’re talking about is much easier.

Elderly woman sticking out her tongue

1. “So what have you been doing lately?”

Skydiving in Egypt. Making bombs in my bathtub. Learning to juggle maracas while doing a handstand on horseback. Come on. Seriously? I have no idea what I’ve been doing lately besides sitting in this chair watching daytime soaps. Can’t you think of anything more interesting to add to this conversation?

Loneliness

So basically, try not to make a person with Alzheimer’s feel like they’re on trial or like they can’t do anything right or like you don’t care what they say. If you’re wondering what you can say to a person with Alzheimer’s, we have a few tips.

Because Alzheimer’s patients tend to remember feelings better than actual facts, it’s more important to have a conversation that makes the person feel good than one that is completely accurate.

Avoid correcting what they say and focus on things they’re more likely to remember, usually the more distant past. Ask them about their childhood or early adulthood, when they met their spouse, what their children were like as little kids, etc. And just go with the flow when they don’t make perfect sense.

This article originally appeared on ScottSlayton.net.

17

Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about dementia from various sources. If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Dementia/Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

12661805_10153909921254939_8083222878064545755_n

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published every Wednesday

12.10.17 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Four ways to respond when someone with dementia repeats questions published 01.10.17

Original blog 01.10.17 – People with Dementia may repeat things…a lot

dementia

Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias cause problems with short-term memory. This can lead to repetitive behaviors, like asking the same question over and over again.

Your older adult isn’t doing it on purpose to annoy you, they truly have no memory of asking the first or twenty-third time.

You might be able to answer patiently the first few times, but after hearing the same thing a dozen times, it’s natural to lose your temper. That’s why it’s important to arm yourself with kind techniques that stop the flow of questions before you get too frustrated.

Why someone with Dementia is repeating questions

Repetitive behaviors are often caused by stress, anxiety, frustration, or fear. People with Alzheimer’s or dementia are often unsure of what’s happening, where they are, or what time or day it is. Those are pretty unsettling feelings.

Your senior isn’t repeating questions because they need the information. They’re asking because they’re feeling stressed or anxious and need reassurance.

1. Respond to the emotions, not the words
When your older adult starts to repeat a question over and over, try to guess what feelings might be causing the behavior. If they might be feeling anxious, giving a brief hug or hand squeeze while calmly answering the question may soothe them enough to stop their need to keep asking.

2. Keep your answers brief
It’s tempting to answer a question from a person with Alzheimer’s the same way you’d answer anybody else. But the shorter and simpler your answer, the better. It saves you time and energy and reduces your exasperation when you have to repeat it five more times.

3. Distract with an activity
Sometimes the only way to get your senior with dementia to stop repeating a question is to distract them with something they enjoy. Maybe that means offering a snack or favorite beverage.

Or, you could ask them a simple question to get them thinking about something else, like “The sky is blue today, isn’t it nice?” Another idea is to ask them to help you with a simple chore they’re still able to do, like folding laundry.

4. Escape for a few minutes
It’s tough to keep your cool and not snap at someone when you’ve been asked the same question for the twelfth time. Everyone’s patience runs out at some point, especially if this isn’t the first time it’s happened today.

Sometimes you just need to leave the room for a few minutes. Go to the bathroom, get a quick breath of fresh air, or check your Facebook feed. By the time you come back, you’ll have had some time to cool off and will be better able to handle your older adult’s behavior with kindness.

Bottom line

It’s challenging to answer a question that’s repeated over and over again without snapping or letting the frustration show in your voice. Do your best to stay calm and use these 4 tips to respond in ways that are more likely to make the questions stop.

And if you do lose your temper, it’s because you’re human. Forgive yourself, let them know you DO love them, and take a brief time out to help you stay calm.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

Additional articles on caring for your loved one with dementia can be found at Daily Caring at: http://dailycaring.com/.

17

Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about dementia from myself or from this source.  If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s or Dementia), find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

margie-frog

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays  published every Wednesday

12.06.17 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Ways to Respond When Someone with Dementia Says I Want to Go Home published 01.05.17

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 – My new neurologist’s office called Monday to say that the test results from the EEG and EKG was not ready yet so my Monday appointment wasn’t needed.  I’m disappointed but when they call again to say it’s ready we’ll schedule an appointment and go. 
I say in the first couple of paragraphs in the original blog below, that I wish I had known this when caring for mama.  I hope it helps you some in your care giving.
wantgohomehug690x400

ORIGINAL BLOG 01.05.17 – While I did not write this, we encountered this with mama almost everyday. Even when her home was with us she still wanted to go home. When living at the Assisted Living Center while we were rebuilding our house she’d have someone call us often saying she wanted to go home. I wish I had know this information at that time which is why I am sharing it with you all today.

There are several links (I changed the links to blue so they are easier to see) to other very helpful information in this blog post.  I encourage you to check them out also. I bolded the last sentence in this blog post since that, to me, is extremely important.

Hearing seniors say “I want to go home” over and over again is something Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers often deal with. It’s especially frustrating to hear when they’re already home.

The big question is how to respond in a way that calms them down and helps them let go of the idea. First, it helps to understand why they’re saying this and what they really mean. Next, do your best to not take it personally so you can stay calm too.

3 ways to respond to “I want to go home”

Use these three methods to respond when you hear “I want to go home.” They’re soothing and help you avoid big fights.

These suggestions will put you on the right track, but be prepared to get creative. Not everything you try will work the first time. And even if something works once, it might not work every time. Don’t get discouraged! This gets easier with practice.

1. Reassure and comfort

Approach your older adult with a calm, soothing, and relaxed manner. They’ll pick up on your body language and tone of voice and will subconsciously start to match you. If you’re calm, they’ll get calmer too.

Sometimes saying “I want to go home” is how your senior tells you they’re tense, anxious, or scared and need extra comfort. If they like hugs, this is a good time for a big one. Others may prefer gentle touching or stroking on their arm or shoulder or simply having you sit with them.

Another way of giving extra comfort and reassurance is to give them a soft blanket or stuffed animal to cuddle.

2. Avoid reasoning and explanations

Don’t try to explain that they’re in their own home, assisted living is now their home, or they voluntarily moved in with you 3 years ago.

Trying to use reason and logic with someone who has a brain disease will only make them more insistent, agitated, and distressed. They won’t be able to process that information and will only sense that you’re preventing them from doing something they feel strongly about.

3. Agree, then redirect and distract

This is a challenging technique, so don’t beat yourself up if the first few attempts don’t work perfectly. Being able to redirect and distract is a skill that improves with practice.

First, agree
Agree by saying something like “Ok, we’ll go soon.” or “That’s a good idea. We’ll go as soon as I clean up these dishes.”

Then, redirect and distract
After agreeing, subtly redirect their attention. This redirection should lead into pleasant and distracting activities that take their minds away from wanting to go home.

For example, you could gently take their elbow while saying “Ok, we’ll go soon” and walk down the hall together to a big window or to the kitchen. Point out some of the beautiful birds and flowers outside or offer a snack or drink they’ll like. Later, casually shift to another activity that’s part of their daily routine.

Another example is saying “Ok, let’s get your sweater so you won’t be cold when we go outside.” Then, while you’re both walking and chatting about something pleasant, stop for a cup of tea or get involved in an activity they enjoy.

Or, ask them to tell you about their home. After a while, guide the conversation to a neutral topic. Asking about their home validates their feelings, encourages them to share positive memories, and distracts them from the original goal of going home.

Open questions that encourage them to share their thoughts work well. For example:

  • Your home sounds lovely, tell me more about it.
  • What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get home?

If nothing is working…

Sometimes, your older adult will be stubborn and refuse to let go of the idea of going home no matter how much you try to soothe or redirect.

If that happens, you might want to take them on a brief car ride. Experiment with how far and how long you need to drive before you can go back to where they live without protest. Or, suggest a stop at the ice cream parlor for a nice (distracting) treat!

Even if it’s not possible to actually take them out or get into the car, the actions of getting ready to leave can be soothing because it shows that you believe them and are helping to achieve their goal. Meanwhile, the activities of getting ready give you more chances to redirect to something else.

Bottom line

“I want to go home” is usually a request for comfort rather than asking to go somewhere. When responding, the goal is to reduce your older adult’s anxiety and fear so they can let go of the idea.

This terrible disease forces seniors to live in their brain’s version of reality. The best thing you can do is step into that reality, focus on comfort and reassurance, and respond to the emotions behind their request.

By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

Additional articles on caring for your loved one with dementia can be found at Daily Caring can be found at: http://dailycaring.com/

17

Please come back next time when I’ll share more topics about dementia from this source. If you want to get an email whenever I post a blog (I write about other things, not just Alzheimer’s) find the “FOLLOW” box which is usually to the right hand side somewhere, enter your email and respond when the confirmation email is sent to you.

If you are in need of prayer for yourself, in your role as a caregiver, or if you have any specific questions please send me a comment with whatever information you want to share or ask about. I’ll say again that I’m not expert, but I probably experienced with my mom a lot of things you’re going through and will try my best to help. If I don’t know the answer I will tell you I don’t know. I’ll never judge, I’ve been judged enough to last a life time and would never do that to someone else. My email address is rosalyn@selu.edu if that is an easier way to communicate.

Until next time,

10616237_10152505699331961_4740052752099689312_n

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published randomly

12.04.17 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Video Ambulatory EEG and EKG

Monday, December 4, 2017 – I just had a 72 hour Video Ambulatory EEG. Since I had never heard about that before, I looked up some information to share with others that haven’t heard of it either.

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test to detect problems in the electrical activity of the brain. Video Ambulatory EEG is considered to be the Gold Standard for EEG testing. This allows the doctor to see any kind of events that you may have while you are conducting some of your normal activities and during sleep. The ambulatory EEG device will be worn for a specific amount of time that your doctor believes will give him/her the best chance to find what they are looking for, usually 72 hours in most cases.

An EEG is used to help diagnose the presence and type of seizure disorders, to look for causes of confusion or periods of unconsciousness, and to evaluate head injures, tumors, infections, degenerative diseases and metabolic disturbances that affect the brain.The ambulatory EEG is video monitored to observe activities of daily living, including sleep, and correlates event data.

This is not my head but since I have too much hair to even see the probes I found this one to show what it looks like with all these things glued to my head!

They also include three small electrodes attached to your chest to do an Electrocardiogram (EKG) It is used to look for and record irregular heartbeats that come and go or happen during certain activities. The test is designed to find out what is causing chest pain, dizziness, confusion or fainting.

Alliance Neurodiagnostics is the company that handled my in-home ambulatory EEG and EKG. A different company monitored the video and data collected from the EEG and EKG.

Okay that’s what it’s all about so this now is my personal account of having both an ambulatory EKG and EEG.

On Tuesday morning Juliette with Alliance Neurodiagnostics arrived at our motorhome with all her equipment. She asked lots of questions and took lots of notes. She went over with me lots of paperwork and things for me to sign.

She laid out all of the items she would need to hook me up.

We brought a chair inside from outside so she could get to my head from all directions. 21 sensors were glued to various specific locations around my head, two on my forehead and two on my chest.

My head was then wrapped with gauze, the wires all taped together

We had some errands to run and Misty’s birthday dinner to attend so I wrapped my head in a scarf.

This is the camera and computer set up in the living room.

The camera in our bedroom.

We can see when the monitoring service signs in because the computer screen comes on and we (and they) can see what they are seeing on the cameras.

I was very thankful when this contraption was removed from my head and I could bathe and wash my hair. They use some kind of putty glue to make the sensors stick to my scalp. To remove them I wrapped my head in a warm wet towel for 10 minutes to loosen them sensors.

The thing I liked the very least was being seen on camera 24 hours a day. Our bathroom was the only place we could not be seen! If some information is gathered by all of this it will be worth it!

We go to see Dr. Morgan at 4 pm on Monday to find out what the test results are. I’ll write about that when we get home.

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!

q

11.29.17 Some Things I Learned About Dementia – Getting a dementia diagnosis and getting medical records from Dr. Shamsnia published 4.24.15

Wednesday, November 29, 2017 – If you suspect that you or a loved one has dementia this post is important for you to read.  So many people have asked me how I found out that what I was experiencing was dementia so here it is.

The first step is to make an appointment with a neuropsychologist to have a day or two of neuropsych testing done. My primary care physician referred me to the two doctors below but I don’t think you have to have a referral to see them.

I’ve seen both Dr. Susan Andrews and Dr. Melissa Aubert and would recommend either of them.  They are both in the same office in Metairie. Dr. Andrews had a second office in Covington when I saw her but I could not confirm that she still has that office now.

Office Location: 3925 N. I-10 Service Rd. West, Suite 201-A, Metairie, Louisiana 70002 Phone: 504-455-0109

Dr. Aubert’s E-mail: maubertphd@nolaneuropsych.com

Dr. Andrews E-mail:  srandrews.office@gmail.comm – This was the email she communicated with me years ago but I don’t know for sure it is still active.

I’m not getting any kickback from these doctors for referring people, I just know my experience was great with both of them and want to help ya’ll know where to get started.

The neuropsych tests that they do will show where your brain deficiencies are, if any.  If they find deficiencies they will recommend a neurologist for you to see and will send their testing results to that doctor.  The neurologist does the medical testing and diagnosis.  The neurologist, having the neuropsych testing information, can help them narrow down what medical tests to do.  I’ve had at least seven different medical tests.

Lots of people think they have dementia but if you haven’t taken neuropsych tests and/or the medical tests you really don’t have a true diagnosis.  If you have good insurance it will not cost you anything, so why not know for sure and get what little help is available for specifically what you have.

I don’t know for sure that Dr. Patricia Morgan will be my new neurologist but when I saw her she had her assistant do a few of the neuropsych tests before meeting her.  Questions that I found easy on the original and second neuropsych testing years ago were difficult now. I didn’t know what the date was (I got the month wrong). She told me three words and told me to remember them.  I tried to keep saying them over and over in my mind because I knew  she was going to ask me them again but I could only remember the first of the three words.  She asked me to walk one foot in front of the other which I’ve always done fine.  This time I looked like a drunk taking a test on the side of the road.  That’s from my balance being bad now.  Another test had me close my eyes and put my arm out to the side then trying to touch the end of my nose with it.  I didn’t make it to the tip of my nose but somewhere around my nose.  I think there was something else I didn’t do well but don’t remember now.

I realize that some of what I just wrote is also written below in the original blog from 2015 but I’ve gotten very frustrated trying to know how to make it flow right so I hope you can at least get something out of this.

Finally, currently I’m on day two of a three day at home EEG test to see if I’m having seizures.  I’m sure it’s necessary but it’s a pain to do.  And my head is completely wrapped up in gauze making me look like I had brain surgery.

We are heading to Hammond in a bit for the eye doctor’s appointment we mistakenly went to on Monday.  Hopefully we’ll get Roy’s cataract surgery scheduled for the first eye.

Original Blog – April 24, 2015 –

8756_415836921865239_221735958_nSince I have very little Alzheimer’s info to share and am creeping along in my own dementia journey, I’ve changed the name of the blog to Some Things I Learned About Dementia.

If you, or a loved one, is experiencing mental decline, today’s post may help you find where to start to get help.  I can’t say this is THE ONLY path but it is the one I know so I hope you can learn from this.  I don’t mind opening my life up if it will help someone else struggling and searching for help.

Also, I pulled up my big girl panties and went to Dr. Shamsnia’s office to make a stab (not not at him!) at getting my medical records and my MRIs.  More on that further down!

darker-purple-fancy-line-md

10703805_824649437580941_2651549357672239530_nOn Tuesday I traveled to Metairie, Louisiana to see Dr. Melissa Aubert.  She is a Neuropsychologist in practice with Dr. Susan Andrews, who I saw 3-4 years ago.  Dr. Andrews no longer takes my insurance, but Dr. Aubert does.

She was wonderful.  We spent an hour together covering everything I could think of from the last time I saw Dr. Andrews until now.  She asked many questions about my current mental capabilities which allowed me to open up and really talk about what’s going on in that little space up there called my brain!   What a relief that was to have the words coming out of my mouth to someone who understands.

Due to the lack of information I was getting from Dr. Shamsnia I decided to pursue having a new neuropsych test done before leaving town for this years journey to the Northeast.  The10801589_855311604510077_5207705261697921312_n previous neuropsych test results showed specific areas of deficits, specifically learning new things and short term memory.  Having the retesting done will provide a comparison between where I was then to my current capabilities.  I handle things better the more knowledge I have about it.  The unknown worries me more than knowing.

The testing is a day (sometimes more than a day) long series of paper tests designed to show strengths and weaknesses.  Most of the tests involve answering questions or performing tasks. You may be taking some of the tests on a computer, using pencil and paper, or using other objects.

Doctors use a wide variety of tests for neuropsychological testing. In most cases you will take a series of tests, rather than a single test. The tests you take will depend on the particular brain functions that your doctor wants to check. The tests are meant to test your limits, so don’t be discouraged if they seem hard.

The tests I took in 2011 were:

The testing was very interesting the last time I did it in 2011, and I am happy to say they were able to schedule the next one for next Wednesday, April 29th!!!  The testing in 2015 included the following:

I can’t recommend strongly enough how beneficial this testing can be if you have any question about your memory or your mental capabilities declining.  It’s worth a day of your time to have these answers.

Once the testing is done, the Neuropsychologist reviews all the information and her notes from our visit to come up with her final report.

darker-purple-fancy-line-md

When I left Dr. Aubert’s office I drove a few streets over to Dr. Shamsnia’s office.  I prayed before I got out of my car and said to myself “Girl you’ve got this!” I walked into the elevator and up to his office.

923515_10151922468590806_2082669326_n Seeing that there were no patients in the waiting room I breathed a sign of relief and walked up to the window.  The nice young lady and the nurse recognized me and I explained to them that I would like to have my medical records including the MRIs which I had been told were sitting on his desk.  They explained that normally they needed a form signed and it took 7 to 10 working days to have the files copied but they would go see what they could do.

I sat down, prepared to wait a while and who gets off the elevator but Dr. Shamsnia.  He looked at me briefly and said hello and went down the hall.  Whew, no face to face encounter!!  The ladies came back only five minutes later with a manilla envelope and my two most recent MRIs on disk.

I asked about the old MRIs and they said they didn’t see them.  I now firmly believe the office has lost my MRIs since several efforts to find them have been made by several different people.  How they could lose big old MRIs I have no idea, but they have.

I thanked them for always being nice and walked out.  The relief that washed over me from knowing I didn’t have to 9808_1100980976594842_8340971622499789430_ngo back there again was overwhelming.  When I got in my car I prayed prayers of Thanksgiving to God for seeing me through this dark time and bringing me out safely on the other side.  Not having to deal with the stress and frustration of working with that doctor eliminates so much of a burden from my life.  Only God will walk through all dark times with us and use it to strengthen our lives.  Only God.

I’ll bring my records to Dr. Vales, my primary care doctor, for safekeeping, until I can find a new neurologist when we return to town next year!  North Oaks Hospital Radiology told me they have duplicate copies of the MRIs that Dr. Shamsnia can’t find so I’ll be having those sent to the neurologist at the appropriate time.

darker-purple-fancy-line-md

I just got word from North Oaks Sleep Lab that they have an opening for me to have my sleep apnea test redone TOMORROW NIGHT!!!!  Whoop whoop!  When I originally called to make an appointment they didn’t have anything open for weeks until after we left.  This is again another blessing from God!  I love how He cares for me!

Okay, now on to living life!

Isaiah-41-10

 

cooltext1838781539

Click on the links below to go there!

Dora and the Explorers published randomly

Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays  published randomly