Having a loved one with Alzheimers can be one of the greatest challenges especially when they live with you as well as trying to understand what is working or not working towards safety and peace in your home.
As I visited many of the communities throughout the County, I have seen memory care units that have dolls, baby changing tables , rocking chairs next to the changing tables and clothing for the dolls. Many of the memory care residents enjoy the dolls as if it were a baby which seems to sooth residents. Other memory care units offer soothing rooms when a memory care resident becomes agitated in which the caregivers will go with the resident into the soothing room and normally is equipped with a comfortable chair, nice lighting, soft music, miniature waterfalls and the caregiver may do some hand massaging/rubbing to help in soothing the resident. In situations when the loved one is pacing or wanting to leave, I have worked with Alzheimer’s clients in redirecting to do some watering of the plants as we walk around together choosing the plants they wanted to water, singing songs they grew up with is a great way of redirecting. You would be surprised at how many of them will remember the entire song! These are some ideas you may want to consider if your loved one is staying in the home.
In approaching your loved one, try to get their attention by standing in front and not coming behind them-it may startle them and you want them to feel safe. Remember that its o.k. when your loved one tells you, “ I have to leave to find my wife” when you know they passed away . It may be better for you to respond, “ O.k. we will go find her in a little bit, I need you to first come with me to check the mail”. It is more confusing to your loved one by telling them “She has passed away remember”? It will be less frustrating for both of you by just agreeing but also redirecting them to do something else.