Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dementia and IT'S MINE!

Let me introduce you to Zoe.  She is a pie-bald, soft wired-hair, miniature dachshund.  That is way to many adjectives for a seven pound dog.  She entered our lives in July of this year, and she has rocked our world.  This picture shows her resting comfortably on her "sofa".  She is lying on a pink blanket next to a bone that belongs to her. 
From looking at the picture, it would seem Zoe is saying, "These things are mine.  Leave them alone."  Of course, my husband and I had no desire to take these items from her.  The picture made me think....
I often see caregivers remove items from people with dementia and I wonder.  "Why couldn't they keep that item?"  One such experience occurred when a caregiver removed an apple from the hand of a man whose main job each day was to walk up and down the hall.  This man saw the apple, picked it up, and he proceeded to examine it quite intensely.  The caregiver did not want the man to eat the apple so close to lunch time, so the caregiver proceeded to remove the apple from his hand.
This man was much like Zoe.  Maybe he was thinking, "This is my apple.  You are not getting it."  However, and unfortunately, the caregiver was persistent.  The apple was removed from his hand, and the man became agitated. 
If the man had been left to examine the apple, and maybe even eat the apple, would his life had been changed in a negative way?  Would it have resulted in some tragedy that must be avoided?  I think not. 
Give serious consideration when making demands of your loved one with dementia.  This is especially true when they are living in the mid to late stages of their disease.  Ask yourself, "Is this necessary?  Does it really matter?  Would life be just as good or even better if I backed off?"   
Often it is easier and more productive to just leave well enough alone.  Hope that gives you something to ponder.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Dementia and Being Different

Everyday I spend time with folks who have dementia.  The cause of their dementia may vary from person to person, and the symptoms of the dementia may change daily.  However, as different as each person is, they are all similar and can get along quite nicely.
This picture shows my bed.  Yes, I really do put all these pillows on my bed each  morning, and my husband removes them nightly.  There is a total of ten pillows and six fabrics on my bed.  Each of these fabrics is unique and totally different from the other, but each of these fabrics blend quite nicely to make the pretty bed I admire each day.  Different yet the same.  Individual yet common.
People with dementia are different, yet they are the same people we have always known.  While they are constantly changing and shifting, deep within them is the individual we have always loved. 
People with dementia are common.  The symptoms they experience are often seen repeated in other people.  Don’t think your loved one is unusual or strange when you see a certain behavior.  Chances are it is a behavior that has been observed many times before.
Being different can be good.  Being the same can be good.  I hope that gives you Something To Ponder.