A daily routine is your best friend right now: what works best, from dawn to dusk.

A checklist for daily rituals

A checklist for daily rituals

How one smart cookie demonstrates 7 tricks to smoothe communication, when offering tea.

10:30 sharp. Green cup with the cracked glaze. Half teaspoon sugar, half teaspoon Equal. That’s how Miss Johnson takes her tea every morning.

When someone suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, there are a million potential obstacles that can turn simple daily rituals like this one into a real challenge for caregivers.

I thought it would be helpful to look at the ins and outs of caregiving through the lens of a daily ritual, to keep something as harmless as morning tea from growing into a monumental exercise in frustration.

Gale Storm, a nurse and manager of education for home health aides at Partners in Care, where I work, offers this compassionate rendition of how a caregiver might smoothly and successfully begin the daily tea ritual:

The Scene

Miss Johnson [name changed], I’ve been with you for two weeks as your home health aide.

I’m Sandy. You remember.

I notice you like your tea at 10:30, in this green cup. I think I can get the sugar-and-Equal amounts right. Is that how you’d like it this morning?

The Takeaway

Tucked into this simple exchange (which very few of us in the crossfire of caregiving will ever get perfect) are seven tricks of the trade.

Sometimes the other person needs time to think … You don’t have to fill all the silences.

1. Emphasize familiarity.

I’m Sandy, I visit you every day… Take every opportunity to reorient the client or loved one to person, place and time. This breeds familiarity and a sense of safety, paramount to a person with dementia. Even with a family member, a dementia patient benefits from simple reminders.

2. Be observant.

In the conversation about Miss Johnson’s tea, the aide introduced the morning ritual by saying, “I notice.” Because familiarity can soften the agitation of dementia, successful caregiving depends on careful observation. Observe favorite foods so you can maintain a successful menu. By the same token, observe whether the person you’re caring for prefers variety in day-to-day meals.

Continue Reading Page 1 Page 2

You might also enjoy:

Tailor routine to your loved one's interests

Daily routines provide us with a sense of control over our hectic existences, and are even more potent…

I'm Thirsty … and I Can't Tell You

Sometimes, people with dementia or Alzheimer's  may be unable to recognize that they're thirsty, or…

Technology Library Helps Maintain Daily Routine

A library that allows people with dementia to try out technology products at home celebrates its first…

The Sky's the Limit For Afternoon Play Dates

Schedules are very important to the dementia/Alzheimer's patient. Keep activities/play dates short,…

comments powered by Disqus