During mid-stage Alzheimer’s, my mother, Arlene, began having great difficulty getting up from a chair, especially a comfy lounge chair. So I would try to help her, but it wasn’t easy. I had never been trained to help a person get out of a chair. I wasn’t quite sure if I should take her hand, her arm, or grab her clothes to help her up. And with every move I made, I was afraid I would injure my back. Continue reading
Encouraging a person with dementia to shower or take a bath can be a confusing and daunting task, especially if they believe they already did and you know they didn’t. Telling them, “No you haven’t bathed”, usually doesn’t help and can get the person upset. So when my mother used to utter those words, I would come back in a half hour and try again. Sometimes she would agree, sometimes she wouldn’t.
Over time, however, she refused to shower all together and the staff at her assisted living didn’t know what to do. Neither did I. She wasn’t budging. Since she could not shower on her own, we were in a real pickle. Continue reading
Can the Right Drinking Glass Increase Hydration?
During mid to late stage Alzheimer’s, my mother was drinking very little and I was concerned she would get dehydrated. She didn’t seem to experience swallowing problems when she was eating and drinking (small sips of water). Why wasn’t she drinking more?
So at lunch one day, I sat across from her and gently observed her eating and drinking. I noticed that she was unusually anxious about spilling her drink as she picked up her glass (it was clear plastic). As I watched her, I noticed that she seemed perplexed, as if she didn’t know if she was holding a glass or a handful of water. Could perceptual problems due to dementia be making it difficult for her to drink from a regular glass, especially a clear one? Could the answer be as simple as choosing a new glass, maybe one with a lid?
Memory Cues — Helping Them Remember
When my mother was forgetting her doctor’s appointments, a large monthly calendar taped onto the refrigerator door helped her remember. Then came the time when she needed “double” prompting. As there was a phone in the kitchen, I would call and say: “Mom, what’s on your calendar for today?” and she would walk over to the fridge with the phone in hand and we would go over her schedule together. Continue reading