- by Julie Fleming
My dad used to get stuck in negative stories. He would hear bad news — anything from a car crash that injured a local family to global tragedy — and he would take the story in, make it personal event if it didn’t actually affect him, and be unable to move on to another topic. I dreaded his finding out anything bad, because I knew he would be anywhere from sad to distraught. After trial and error, I figured out three steps to take that would help him either move past the news or at least deal with it in a way that would cause less distress.
What works for you? Please comment below with any tips, ideas, or questions you have.
And please visit the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Minute Facebook page for inspiration and tips, then join the closed ACM Exchange Facebook group to find specific answers and guidance to your caregiving questions.
Interpreting sensory cues: How Alzheimer's caregivers can figure out what's going on with a loved one
-by Julie Fleming
I recently found an interesting article about using sensory cues to figure out what’s going on with someone who has dementia. Although this “clinical pearl” from Teepa Snow is intended for professional caregivers, the information is equally valid for family caregivers. Here’s why it matters that we learn to observe and interpret these cues:
If we truly understand [that everything changes for someone who has dementia in terms of their abilities for visual and auditory processing and comprehension, as well as the sense of touch, smell and taste] and are willing to observe their abilities and stretch ourselves by looking at what’s happening through the lens of curiosity, we can further understand and choose to support and care for others in ways that make more sense.
For instance, knowing that brain changes due to dementia can change the scope of someone’s visual perception allows you to make some inferences about what’s going on based on where they’re looking. It also allows you to understand that they may not be able to see you if you sit next to them, so you can instead sit directly in front of them to create a better opportunity to engagement. That makes you a much better caregiver.
Read this short article to get a good grounding of how you can interpret and work with changed sensory cues.
Author: Julie Fleming
Julie provided love & care for her father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in the fall of 2011 and with vascular dementia in 2014, until he died in 2017. And she had to learn it all the hard way. Sound familiar?
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