A Message From Regina
At a recent Maricopa Library system book group, a member recommended “The Leisure Seeker” by Michael Zadoorian. The basic plot is about a couple in their 80's. She has terminal cancer and has refused more treatment. He has Alzheimer’s and was diagnosed 4 years ago. She “kidnaps” him and they drive off in their RV (The Leisure Seeker) against the wishes of doctors and children. They leave Michigan with the goal of driving whole Route 66 and then visiting Disneyland. One last adventure. I think anyone who has had these diagnoses probably feels like running away from time to time. However, the reality is that most of us choose to live our lives in our homes and with family and friends. Let me know if you read it or if you want to suggest another book for folks to read.
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In a recent edition of “Alzheimer’s Today,” there was a very helpful article on caregiver strategies for helping a loved one with dementia with getting dressed. Here are the 6 helpful hints for helping:
1. Allow for extra time when necessary. Be patient. People can have trouble dressing in sequence.
2. Be mindful. What does that mean? Realize that someone with dementia may have trouble communicating. Their behaviors actually can help you in understanding what they need help with. If they are resisting a piece of clothing, it could be too hot for them or may be uncomfortable. Make sure clothes are soft and not restrictive. Be aware of any skin irritations your loved one may have.
3. Utilize flat and tag-less clothes. Don’t you dislike those labels that scratch the back of your neck? Well, it may bother your loved one too. Flat seams are more comfortable as well. You want to minimize pressure points.
4. Functionality is important. Clothing with easy openings and/or Velcro can make dressing easier.
5. Your body language can help. Gentle touch, smiles, eye contact can be reassuring. Standing to the side can also be less confrontational.
6. Give the person a say in the process. Keep it simple and maybe let them choose shirt #1 or shirt #2. Too many choices can be confusing.
I hope this helps a bit. Remember to take 5 minutes periodically for yourself too. It’s a gift for you and your loved one when you can feel some relief. Take care…….Regina