Instead of hearing “the same old stories” you are receiving clues about what is important to the person with dementia – people, places, events, and values. These reminiscences are the artifacts of the person’s life. The narratives are often about important events – usually positive – that define their identity.
(A plea to my colleagues in dementia care.) Occasionally, I hear a colleague say that people with dementia are like children, or are childlike, or – worst of all – that you have to treat them like children if you want to overcome challenging behaviors. (Which is an adjacent problem. My thoughts on the term …
Dementia destroys a person’s ability to detect and accurately process visual, auditory, and tactile data; and it makes people feel vulnerable against real or perceived threats. Vulnerability creates a victim syndrome which, when exaggerated, can trigger false accusations.
For people with dementia, everything happening now is unfamiliar, because the way they process visual, auditory, tactile, and emotional data is damaged by dementia, and so nothing seems as it once did. What is familiar is what was happening, where they were, and who they were with when they were in their cognitive peak – when they had command over their minds, their bodies, and their lives.
…a person with dementia simply cannot remember, asking you repeatedly, “When are we going to the dentist?” Short term memory is usually the first cognitive function to betray them. To the person with dementia, every time they ask is the first. So responding with “Don’t you remember?” is useless…
It can be so difficult to tell the difference between normal “senior moments” and the signals of cognitive decline. There can be several reasons for this. Off the top of my head…
The best answer to that question is it depends. You must first evaluate the overall situation. Where should an aging senior live? There are many factors that you should look at to make an informed choice. Let’s explore the options for yourself or a loved one.
My caregiving clients have been asking, What should I give my loved one as a holiday gift? You might be wondering the same thing. Here are some guidelines, some idea sparks, and some examples to help you make informed choices for a loved one with dementia as you make your gift list this year.
For a person with dementia, the visual stimulus of the holidays can be too much. Overstimulation can cause disorientation, confusion, and agitation…especially as the day wears on. Here are some decorating suggestions to help keep everyone’s spirits bright and calm throughout this holiday season.
Repetitive reminiscences are usually a sign of dementia. When a loved one tells you the same stories over and over, it can try your patience like a scratched record. But once dementia caregivers understand WHY people with dementia do this, it becomes easier to manage.
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