Old behaviors and routines can help your loved one cooperate

If you remember a habit your loved one used to engage in, use it to accomplish what needs to be done.

For example: my mother used to love to share trivial information with me or my sister that she pointedly refused to tell my father. She enjoyed feeling she knew things he didn’t know.

So some evenings when she doesn’t want to go to bed, I coax her into the bathroom on the pretense of telling her something important. I whisper that “Daddy doesn’t need to know this; this is just for you and me.” I’m not sure she understands, but clearly something in her mind reacts to my drama of secrecy, and she accompanies me to the bathroom.

Once there, I just talk girl talk – what I should wear to a non-existent party, who’s dating whom in Hollywood – it doesn’t matter as long I keep whispering and giggling. All through the difficult clean-up jobs, the persuasion to change her clothes from the skin out, the washing of hands and face – girl talk.

Happy, happy talk

Talk has another useful purpose. In the evening or at any time of day when you must persuade your loved one to move in a certain direction, non-stop talk can be the distraction you need.

In the evening, for example, whether during the trip to the bathroom or from the bathroom to the bed, I could take Mom’s arm and maneuver her with the bulk of my body. If she was inclined to resist, I’d start talking, laughing, asking questions.

The non-stop chatter drew her attention away from where we going, and by the time we got there, she had usually forgotten she didn’t want to go.

Finally, the one strategy that applies across the board in caregiving bears repeating here. We must believe.

Believe that the day can end sweetly, sleep will come, rest will refresh us all

When we’re tired, Lord, it’s not easy to remember You’re with us. At those times, remind us, please, of evenings in the past when You turned stress to calm and fatigue to peaceful sleep. Those memories give us strength in the present and confidence for the future.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

(Matthew 11:28.NIV)

About Kathleen Brown

Kathleen Brown is a wife, mother to three grown sons, grandmother of four, and a Texan through and through, though she loves her part-time home in Colorado. She blogs brilliantly with warmth and attitude about her experiences as a caregiver of her mom with Alzheimer's and shares wisdom from the front lines.

Read more at http://alzheimershopeandhelp.wordpress.com

Reprinted with permission of Kathleen Brown

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