Last time we discussed four tools to help you live with someone who is coping with Alzheimer’s. We will discuss six more today. Remember it is difficult to maintain a normal life with someone who is living with this disease, so do not get discouraged. These tools will stop a problem from escalating and bring peace to the home, allowing you to keep your loved one at home as long as possible.
On Thursdays, Hill Country Health Care, located at 507 E. Green Street in Llano, hosts an Alzheimer’s Support Group at 1:00pm; they discuss these and other topics that can help friends and family deal with loved ones who are living with this disease. Bring your loved one who you are caring for and your friends; refreshments will be served.
Do not say remember instead just reminisce. They may not remember and mentioning it might make them angry that they are unable to remember, instead just reminisce and see if it triggers their memory. This review can be enjoyable for everyone and stimulate the brain possibly slowing the progression of memory loss.
Do not say I told you, just keep repeating. This may sound simple, but it comes across very condescending if you say I told you to someone who really does not remember. Reminding them you are going to Wall Mart ten times may be necessary as they may keep asking what we are doing today. Telling them I told you already will not help it will just escalate a problem into a potential bad situation.
Instead of saying you can’t, focus on what they can do to help. My children all wanted to mow the lawn “until they were actually old enough to do the job” but when they were young we found things they could do to help instead of constantly saying you can’t do this or that. So maybe they are not able to pour in the detergent as they might add half the bottle, but they can help fold the clothes.
Try not to demand or be forceful, just model your request in a very mild tone. When confronted in a forceful manner people with Alzheimer’s impulse control can be lost causing a physical response.
None of us want physical violence in our homes from our loved ones. Most of the time physical violence can be avoided.
Always encourage and praise do not be condescending. This sounds simple but until you have lived 24 hours a day seven days a week with someone who has Alzheimer’s it is difficult to understand how stressful and challenging these suggestions can be to implement.
The last tool is reinforce, not force ideas. This is very similar to the suggestion of not demanding, but the difference is always the situation and approach. Reinforcing the positive is always the best approach. Demanding is not likely to achieve the results you are looking to achieve.
These tools have to be practiced daily. With some practice they can extend the length of time someone can stay at home. If you have any questions please call me Michael Stork Administrator 325-247-4115 at Hill Country Health Care 507 E Green Street in Llano.