For those of us caring for a dementia patient, this quarantine-self-isolation-stay-at-home stuff is tough! I’m not saying my situation is worse than other people, but it sure is different.
Even without a pandemic, a dementia patient eventually loses the ability to create an activity. He/she will depend on the caregiver for ideas for what to do, watch on TV (if there is anything in the middle of the afternoon).
My LO has begun opening and closing the front door several times an hour. Sometimes he goes outside and checks to see that the car is locked, sometimes he just walks around it and comes back in. Sometimes he just looks out the storm door window.
And, he nibbles. All day. I keep lots of fruit around so if he is going to eat constantly, at least what he’s eating is healthy. Mostly.
Even though there is low-fat milk, low fat chocolate milk, juice and water in the refrigerator, for some reason he got hold of a pint (2 cups) of heavy cream the other day. I bought it to make cheesy/creamy grits (Barefoot Contessa recipe. Fabulous!). I reached for the carton on the door of the refrig, and it was empty. He drank 2 cups of heavy cream and put the empty carton back in the refrig. When I asked him why he drank the cream, he replied (with aphasia, it’s hard to understand what he actually said), “because it was there.” That night he complained of pain in his arthritic toe. He had not had pain for weeks. I am pretty sure 2 cups of heavy cream had something to do with the return of the arthritis. We had a long conversation about what he could and could not drink from the refrig. I don’t know if it sunk in. He has never gone to the liquor cabinet for a tasting.
And, the other day he came downstairs to visit me in my office, and In his hand was a rather large tomato, which he was happily slurping away at. The tomato was on the same shelf in the refrig as the apples, pears, tangerines and grapes. My mistake. It should have gone into the vegetable bin. He never looks in there.
Lesson learned? If you are working from home, and caring for a dementia patient, take several breaks to check on him/her. They are as bored as the rest of us, but can’t figure out how to find something to do. That’s when you could run into trouble with their food choices.
With love and hope…Jane