Q: My brother has Alzheimer’s and most family live overseas. They help when they can. My brother does not like the help he has from his caregiver: He’s very upset with us and told us to find someone to help him. The caregiver is good with my brother but he does not know it. It is very hard to keep hearing him say this. We are looking for another caregiver. Is this the right thing to do?
A: Yes and no. Find out why he wants to change caregivers. Is it a consistent complaint about not liking the person? Or is he accusing the caregiver of something? More than likely he will not like the next one either. It is part of the disease. You want your brother to know that you take his concerns seriously. Give that caregiver a break for a few days and coach him/her on things that your brother likes to do for fun. It is ok to have more than one caregiver as long as it is the same people.
Changing caregivers frequently increases confusion when the caregivers do not know the person with dementia. Routine will help him feel comfortable with the caregivers. Your caregiver may need a little coaching/ training on how to interact with him to make him feel comfortable. You want to feel comfortable that your brother feels comfortable. Sometimes it is just training. And sometimes you need to let the person go as it is not working out for all of you. The average family has a challenge trying to find a match. You will find the right person.
If your brother is firing multiple caregivers you might want to start a dialogue with him about “no one is perfect” and use his own words. He may not remember it but if you repeat it several times with a positive attitude, he will pick up the mood from you. So the best answer is to really analyze the cause and make your decision based on your knowledge on how to keep him comfortable and feeling safe and valued.
Q: My sis lives with us and she just sits all day on her chair saying she is cold and her legs wont work properly. She is 78 years old and had VD for a year. She has trouble with her memory and she can still walk with a stick. She has had all the usual medical checks done and DR told her to move about more because she has heart problems. Is it normal just to sit all the time? I feel guilty because I think she could do more.
A: It is common that patients will sit all the time. However music is the answer. Put her favourite tunes on and you will see her move. Modified movement works just as good. Ease her into it. Don’t give up. There will be good days and not so good days. Just do it at that same time daily or set days. She will participate with you a lot of the time if you are consistent. Some caregivers tend to give up because their loved one says no or after some excuse. Be creative when you are encouraging them. Different people need different types of encouragement. What works today may not work tomorrow. Don’t let it discourage you. Try something else. Exercise is good for her heart and it is stimulating for her brain. You will like what music can do for her.
Senior joke ~Seems an elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years.
He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%. The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, “Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased you can hear again.”
To which the gentleman said, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve changed my will five times!”
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support 8th of August, 2015 for Family and Friends 4 -6 p.m. Rodney Bay at the Creative Health Center. Call for more info
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