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My Mum Sees Children That Are Not There

 REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA
By REGINA D. Posvar LPN,RNA

Q: Dear Ms. Posvar, My mum has been hallucinating for a few years now and up until now it has not been stressful for her. My brother and I just go along with her stories about these children. But now she seems to have become worried about them and sees them in odd places and wants us to help them. We do not know how to calm her from this. What other ways can help her?

A: Going with her flow is good and continue to do it. When she is asking you to help her, repeat her words back to her. For ex: if she is saying “those children need to come out of there!” you say, “yes, they do need to come out of there. You are a good mum and I bet you wouldn’t allow children to get under there.” You are validating what she believes to be seeing and redirecting her attention to talk about herself or her children. You are also taking control and helping her to calm down.

A tip guide from MyAlzheimers’Story “Going with the flow works wonders, but it takes awareness and practice. Here are some hands-on tips that can help:
1. approach the PLWD’s preferred side
2. verbally greet the PLWD
3. move into PLWD’s personal space when invited
4. use Hand Under Hand™
5. repeat/agree/validate
6. repeat/agree/validate
7. take control of the situation
8. allow the PLWD “off the hook”
9. go with the flow
10. repeat/agree/validate as required”

PLWD = person living with dementia

Many tips can be found on the internet and they are helpful. Sometimes being in a class-room setting helps with better understanding and hands on approaches. Therefore finding a class for caregivers specializing in dementia care beyond awareness may be beneficial. If you don’t know any places that are holding classes you can help your area by asking a local church or company of choice to sponsor a class in your area. Sharing this information to help families and professional caregivers better serve your community will help St. Lucia become more dementia friendly. Contact Saint Lucia Alzheimer’s Association at brainhealthstl@gmail.com to get more information to help your community.

Q: Dear Nurse Posvar, My mum is in a care center for older persons. She does have Alzheimer’s and her nurse has a hard time getting her to take the medication. I am very frustrated with this because my mum needs the medication. How can I encourage the nurse to keep trying?

A: This is a common issue in a lot of places and it is a perfect opportunity for skill building. You can team up with the nurse and ask her what is her approach? Watch how she attempts to give your mum the medication. It is important to look at what is not working and change her approach. Listen to the tone of her voice and ask her if she would respond to that tone positively or negatively? What is her body language saying? Is she talking too much and giving too many reasons why too why your mum should take it? Many times people with dementia cannot process all the information you are giving them. The more you give reasons the more they refuse. In situations like this a popular approach is non-verbal. Have the pills in your hand in front where your mum can see them and open your hand as if giving them to her only she has to take them from the nurse’s hand. Let your mum say whatever she wants about the pills but tell the nurse to keep her hand out and do not respond verbally. Eventually your mum will take the pills. After she takes her medication the nurse should have something pleasant for her like maybe a favourite drink. With practice and patience your mum will take her medication if the nurse will make it a more positive experience for her. Creating a good experience is the key to getting a person with dementia to cooperate. She needs to establish a pattern that is going to be effective and long lasting. The suggestion above will take time and focus and may not work right away. Don’t give up.

Quote: Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.
— Jack Canfield
Please send your questions or stories to angelsofthewest@outlook.com or text at 758-486-4509

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