Recently, I had the privilege to sit down with Sue Clewis, an Aging Life Care Manager with Golden Pond Elder Care Strategies, for an interview. She has a Master’s in therapeutic recreation as well as a minor in gerontology and experience working with families. She was able to give some great tips on how tools such as engaging with Memory Boxes, to help manage your Loved One suffering from Alzheimer’s Dementia while remaining in the home.
Helpful tips for Effective Communication with your Loved One
You may find it difficult at times to communicate with your loved one. People who have Alzheimer’s Dementia may become easily irritable or upset. Here are some useful tips to help you communicate effectively about day to day tasks and their care. Click HERE for more helpful information about communicating with your loved one.
-Be patient with them
-Speak clearly and slowly. You may need to repeat yourself
-Give eye contact and physical touch while speaking with them
-Ask simple yes and no questions
-You may need to reword or rephrase your question
Example: Instead of asking them what they would like for dinner, offer a choice. “Would you like chicken or fish for dinner?”
-Give then time to think and reply
-Sometimes picture cards can be helpful when asking a question
Example: You could have a card with the picture of food and show it when asking if they are hungry.
Remember, you will want to find what works best for your family and your loved ones needs. Not all clients will respond the same to varying approaches, and even the same client may not respond the same way each time.
Ways to Keep your Loved One Calm and Oriented
Keeping your loved one calm and oriented can be difficult at times. Here are some suggestions on ways to help them.
-Keep their home environment as peaceful and calm as possible
-Eliminate loud noises that may be over stimulating such as television
-Keep tasks and routines simple and consistent
-Try to maintain their personal comfort
Example: Make sure they are not too hot or cold. See if they may be hungry or thirsty. In cases where your loved one wears something like adult diapers, you can check to see if they need a fresh one.
-Reassure them that everything is okay
-Redirect their focus to another activity
How to Help your Loved One with Alzheimer’s Dementia Accomplish Daily Activities
As our loved ones age, especially in cases of Alzheimer’s Dementia, some day to day tasks may become increasingly difficult. Here are a few things you can do to help them maintain independence and continue to do tasks for themselves.
-Utilize elastic and velcro to help them manage dressing themselves without too much assistance
-Avoid items that may be more difficult for then such as buttons and shoes with laces
-Make sure that the clothing they have access to is seasonally appropriate
-If you lay their clothes out for them, make sure they have options to choose for themselves
-If they have a favorite article of clothing, it may be helpful to get duplicates of that item.
-When it is time to bath, you should tick to lifelong bathing habits when possible.
-Make sure the bathroom is warm and soothing
-Use a hand held shower head for easier washing.
-If you are helping them to bath, make sure you include them by giving them a soapy wash cloth or sponge.
Recreational Activity to Help Keep your Loved One Productive and Active
Another great way to help your loved one to stay calm is to give them activities that occupy them. This helps them to feel productive and like they are contributing. It isn’t the end result that’s important, but more the process for them. Here is a list of activities that you may find helpful.
– Allow them to help prep for dinner by doing something simple like washing and peeling vegetables
-Introducing then to art activities such as painting water colors
-Some may enjoy gardening. They can plant seeds or water plants
-Make a memory box that they can go through and interact with the items inside or perhaps even create something they can display on the wall and look at frequently
Example: If your loved one used to be a sewer, perhaps you could have fabrics with different colors and textures for then to hold and touch.
-Reminisce with them. Ask them about the past or go through old photo album