Presenting part two of my advice conversation with Hailey and her Mom. We discussed the challenges associated with caring for a loved one with memory loss. Sharing advice is the best way caregivers can help each other and that's what you'll get in this episode. Listen to part 1 first because this episode picks up in the middle of our conversation.
What I shared, at least some of it;
Don't invite their Dad/Grandpa to “our” reality. Also known as “fiblets”. Their reality is different and trying to bring them into ours causes frustration for everyone. This was especially helpful since they did not bring James to Hailey's 8th-grade graduation and he frequently asked when it was happening.
Coping strategies that please both parties. My Mom loves to take a walk in nature or watch children play in the park. While she's happy, I can relax or possibly do a little bit of work. Allowing her the time to do something that she enjoys makes both of our lives better. I suggested they taking Granddad out for sunshine, visits with Navy personnel both of which may alleviate some of his challenging behaviors.
Understanding that Alzheimer's disease is a daily challenge and that doing the best that they can is all that can be expected.
Working with the individual where they are at right now is important. Their reality is different and attempting to force them into ours is a recipe for frustration. Unfortunately, it's a constant challenge to “meet them” where they're at because the disease causes their perceptions and behaviors to change frequently.
James served 30+ years as a Navy chief. Serving in Japan is where some of his fondest memories come from. Growing up Haileys' grandfather loved to teach her how to cook. Making lunch together before going to the park or playing board games is how they spent their time until her mom got off work. About 5 months ago (April 2018) he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The stories he still tells are from the time he spent in the Navy, even if his words seem distorted.
Enjoy Part 2 of Soup on a Plate and stay tuned for more stories from other families.
We're looking for other families who would like to share their stories or discuss their challenges on the podcast. Sharing our journey is the best way to help others who are in this boat with us. Contact us via the website if you'd like to be featured in an episode.