Taking Care of US

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Helping a person with dementia maintain his or her appearance can promote positive self-esteem

While these tasks may become frustrating for a person with Alzheimer’s in the later stages of the disease, the tips below can help simplify the process.  Don’t even try to tell us in early stage folks how to dress – HA!!

Simplify choices

Keep the closets free of excess clothing – this is very overwhelming. I am thinning my closet for 2 reasons – I have lost weight so clothes that are too large must go and the clutter of a walk-in closet can be overwhelming. I am always rearranging!

Organize the process

Lay out clothing in the order that each item should be put on. Hand the person one item at a time while giving simple, direct instructions such as “Put your arms in the sleeves,” rather than “Get dressed.”

Pick comfortable and simple clothing

Sweaters, shirts and blouses that button in front are easier to work than pullover tops. Make sure that clothing is loose fitting, especially at the waist and hips, and choose fabrics that are soft and stretchable.

Choose comfortable shoes

Make sure the person has comfortable, flat non-slip shoes. Love my Sketchers.

Be flexible

If the individual wants to wear the same outfit repeatedly, buy duplicates or have similar options available.  Keep in mind that it is important for the individual to maintain good personal hygiene, including wearing clean undergarments, as poor hygiene may lead to urinary tract or other infections that further complicate care.

Grooming

A person with dementia may forget how to comb hair, clip fingernails or shave.  He or she may forget what the purpose is for items like nail clippers or a comb.

 

Agitation – this might be a repeat but it’s a tough topic.

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 Anxiety and agitation may be caused by a number of different medical conditions, medication interactions or by any circumstances that worsen the person’s ability to think.  Ultimately, the person with dementia is biologically experiencing a profound loss of their ability to negotiate new information and stimulus.  It is a direct result of the disease.  Any stage suffers from anxiety and agitation.

Situations that may lead to agitation include:

Moving to a new residence – that’s me

Changes in environment, such as travel, hospitalization or the presence of houseguests – me again – the hospital part for sure

Changes in caregiver arrangements – I hope that never changes

Fear and fatigue resulting from trying to make sense out of a confusing world – yep

 

Tips to help PREVENT agitation

To prevent or reduce agitation:

Create a calm environment.

Remove stressors. This may involve moving the person to a safer or quieter place, providing rest or privacy. Try soothing rituals and limiting caffeine use.

Avoid environmental triggers.
Noise, glare and background distraction (such as having the television on) can act as triggers. Can be one of mine.

Provide an opportunity for exercise.
Go for a walk. Put on music and dance.

 

How to RESPOND to Agitation

Do: Back off and ask permission; use calm, positive statements; reassure; slow down; add light; offer guided choices between two options; focus on pleasant events; offer simple exercise options, try to limit stimulation.

Say: May I help you?  You’re safe here.  Everything is under control.  I apologize.  I’m sorry that you are upset.  I know it’s hard.  I will stay with you until you feel better.

Listen to the frustration.
Find out what may be causing the agitation, and try to understand.

Involve the person in activities.
Try using art, music or other activities to help engage the person and divert attention away from the anxiety.

Find outlets for the person’s energy.
The person may be looking for something to do. Take a walk or go for a car ride.

Check yourself.
Do not raise your voice, show alarm or offense, or corner, crowd, restrain, criticize, ignore or argue with the person. Take care not to make sudden movements out of the person’s view.

See the doctor.
See the person with dementia’s primary care physician to rule out any physical causes or medication-related side effects. As usual, no meds for me!!

 

My cousin (thank you Sandra) sent me this so I guess we both “borrowed” it!!  Communication is important in any relationship but more so with people suffering from any dementia. We have a hard time expressing ourselves.

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So Sharron, how are you doing?

I am loving this weather even when it flip-flops back and forth.  The sunny days are worth a little wind and cool temps.  We’ve even been able to enjoy the terrace a few times.  My rooftop garden looks great!!

As with people in my situation the tears flow freely.  Sometimes there is a really good reason and sometimes it’s from frustration.  We went to Home Depot last month to talk to the floor and tile lady about scheduling an appointment to have our kitchen backsplash installed.  She was so useless and ignorant. The sad part is that she’s been doing this job for over 5 years!!  I was so frustrated that I had to walk away before I blew up.  I went outside and had my meltdown.

I do not like to be asked too many questions this overwhelms me.  You are more than welcomed to ask how my knee and memory are doing.  No one seems to do that??  This month I was told twice that I don’t “look” like I have Alzheimer’s – what the heck does it look like??  I held my tongue.  Many other questions were asked and there I was again – in a situation where I felt like I was being drilled.  The frustrating part is one was a care partner of a person in a later stage so NO, I do not look like that.  Once again – NO, I do not take those drugs.

 I am trying to find a cabin near the Shenandoah River for a few days of R&R in May.  If I can find something and it’s nice we’ll book it again for a few days in the summer so we can go tubing!!  Yep, bad leg and all.

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I have been asked to speak at the “reason to HOPE” William and Mary Alumni breakfast later this month.  I love opportunities to speak and for people to see another side of Alzheimer’s.  Thank you Gino V. Colombara, my favorite Executive Director for this wonderful opportunity.

 

My son Rodney will be 42 on the 4th. Tom and I raised a wonderful son.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  Dinner and cake tonight!!

April is Autism month, in honor of my sweet grandson, Riley who has Asperger’s we light it up blue at our house.  He is one awesome, smart and funny almost teenager.

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Last but not least we are meeting our good friends at Short Pump (Richmond, VA) tomorrow.  We try to do this 3-4 times a year.  With them living in Charlottesville it’s a halfway point – good shopping, eating and GREAT friends.

The annual Williamsburg Alzheimer’s Walk is only 7 months away but those months will fly by.  I have formed a new team, “Hope Crew”.

People can join my team to walk OR just show support.  Joining my team does not mean you have to make a donation (but you sure can).  It shows that you care about the cause and finding a cure for a loved one with this disease and ME.

The site below will take you to my home page where you can donate or JOIN MY TEAM.  Let me know if you have any questions.

http://act.alz.org/goto/SharronWarren

 

As always please share with your friends or family and FOLLOW me for monthly updates.  The “FOLLOW” button is on the right side of this page.

Thank you again for all your support.  I hope all of you understand the statistics and how it will affect ALL of us.

I am fighting for a CURE – for my Son and Grandchildren

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Emma at her school play last night – the 30th.

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