Alzheimer’s is a complex condition that often presents overwhelming issues for those providing care. As the disease continues into later stages, those with Alzheimer’s become increasingly dependent on communication through behavior rather than speech, and oftentimes these behaviors are of an inappropriate nature. For instance, someone with more advanced Alzheimer’s disease may present the following: Read more
Picture how it would feel to awaken in an unfamiliar location, not able to remember how you arrived there or even what your name is. Progressing into complete disorientation, then quickly leading to anger and fear, you might find yourself lashing out at the unknown person positioned beside your bed, talking to you in a quiet voice. Read more
Dementia confusion, a typical occurrence in Alzheimer’s, can lead to recent memories being forgotten about or distorted, while memories from the more distant past usually stay unaffected. This can cause past events to make more sense to a senior with dementia than the present. A person’s alternate reality can be the senior’s way of making sense of the present through past experience.
Seniors with Alzheimer’s disease often have problems expressing themselves, and at times their alternate reality has more to do with a physical requirement or a distinct feeling they want to express rather than the actual words they are saying.
- “I need to deliver all these casseroles to the neighbors before the end of the day.” Though these casseroles do not exist, the words could actually represent a need for meaning in everyday life or wanting to be involved in an activity. A suitable response to find out more could be, “Why did you make casseroles for our neighbors?”
- “When will my wife be coming home?” This question may be more about a need for affection or acceptance or a home-cooked meal than it could be about wishing to see his wife, who passed away many years ago. An appropriate reaction to uncover more might be, “Why would you like to see her?”
Keeping a diary of these kinds of events can help you notice a pattern in the older person’s dementia confusion. The more you listen in and pay close attention, the easier it will become to understand the thinking behind the alternate reality and the ideal way to react.
Is It Alright to Play Along?
As long as the scenario isn’t going to be unsafe or improper, it is perfectly fine to play along with the senior’s alternate reality. Doing so won’t make the dementia worse. Keep in mind, the senior’s reality is true to him/her and playing along can make your loved one feel more comfortable.
If the situation is inappropriate or may possibly cause harm to the older adult, try to respond to the perceived need while redirecting him/her to something safer or more appropriate.
Bear in mind these 3 actions:
- Reassure the older adult.
- React to his/her need.
- Redirect if required.
Also, call on the caregiving team at Endeavor In-Home Care, providing senior home care in Phoenix and the surrounding areas, including specialized dementia care. Our caregivers are on hand to provide compassionate, professional respite care services for family care providers who could use some time to rest and recharge. Contact us any time to learn more at 480-498-2324.
“How on earth could you think that I have dementia? There is not a single thing wrong with me!”
If a senior loved one with a dementia diagnosis communicates feelings like this, you may think to yourself that the senior is essentially in denial and reluctant to admit to such a concerning diagnosis. Yet there could be a different reason: anosognosia, or someone’s actual unawareness that he or she is affected by dementia. Read more
Providing Alzheimer’s care for a loved one is hard under the best of scenarios; add in a global pandemic, one that calls for social distancing, masks, and intensive sanitation of both ourselves and the environment, and the challenge may seem insurmountable. Read more
Each year, thousands of American seniors are told they have Parkinson’s disease, but they do not. For a number of these people, the true diagnosis is a similar but not as well-known disease: dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Read more
Although an astounding number of older adults are dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, an even greater number of family members are struggling with caring for them. Surprisingly, nearly 75% of family caregivers are managing their senior loved ones’ dementia care needs by themselves, with only 26% reaching out for professional care support. Read more
The most up-to-date Alzheimer’s statistics are worrying. The disease has become the 6th leading cause of death, rising above both breast and prostate cancer together. And while deaths from several chronic conditions, including cardiovascular illnesses, are declining, those from Alzheimer’s have jumped more than 100%. The toll the disease takes on family caregivers is similarly staggering, with more than 16 million Americans supplying over 18 billion hours of caregiving for a member of the family with Alzheimer’s. Read more
When a parent has dementia, dining out poses a challenge.
It’s not always avoidable, however. Your mom really wants to attend her granddaughter’s wedding dinner. Her best friend is having a birthday gathering at a local restaurant. You’re not sure it’s a good idea.
It could be a baby shower, graduation dinner, or family reunion. If she is eager to attend, forcing your mom to stay home may upset her. Here are four ways to make sure the evening is a success.
Talk to the Host in Advance
Make sure the host knows your mom has dementia. Going to a crowded restaurant can be stressful when you have dementia. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for your mom to have a good time. If the host knows in advance, it’s easier to make arrangements that will ease your mom’s stress during the event.
Carefully Pick Seating and Leave Room for an Escape
See if it can be arranged that your mom has a corner table away from noisier attendees. Noise can make for a very stressful evening out. A corner table nearer a door may work best.
By being near a door, if your mom needs to leave for a few minutes, her escape route is right there. In inclement weather, she may need a quiet indoor space to go to. Talk to the restaurant’s event planner to see if there is a sitting area that will work for her. If the weather’s good, she can head outside to regroup. A bench outside that’s away from crowds will work.
Do a Trial Run
Take your mom to the restaurant beforehand. Take her at a quieter time of day when she’s at her best. Enjoy a meal, if possible, or simply have the host give a tour. Take a video if it’s allowed and replay it often. The more familiar the setting is, the easier the event will be for your mom.
Be Prepared to Leave Early
Your mom may start out strong and become agitated after an hour or two. Arrive as close to the time the meal will be served as possible. Once the meal’s over, your mom is free to leave. Make sure she knows that she can leave when she wants to once you’ve had your dinner.
If you cannot leave, have an elder care provider available to bring your mom back home and spend time with her. Caregivers can drive your mom to and from events and businesses. They are companions who can take your mom for a ride or play games with her at home. She gains a friend while you can stay out and enjoy the evening.
Discuss your family’s needs with an elder care agency. They can walk you through the range of services and pricing information. Call now to get started.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Health Care in Sun City, AZ, please contact the caring staff at Endeavor Home Care today. Call (480) 535-6800.
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