This has been a confusing and scary time for everyone, and it’s no where near over.
If you live with a person with dementia, you might have noticed that he/she has hardly noticed. We talk about the virus as we are watching our morning news programs, and it’s forgotten by the time the noon news rolls around. And, it’s brand new information by the time we get to the 6 o’clock news.
For the patient, that’s not really a bad thing, since there is no fear or anxiety.
For us caregivers, well it’s time to get creative. Here are something I have been doing to keep him occupied:
Whatever household chore he can do, have him do it daily. We have a very lightweight cordless vacuum. He doesn’t get into all the nooks and crannies, but does a fairly good job on wide surfaces and the stairs. I have him vacuum more frequently. Since we have a white dog who sheds her weight nearly everyday, this is not busy work! He can use a feather duster pretty well. He can’t “do” the laundry, but he can take the completed laundry back upstairs. So, rather than wait till the usual Saturday laundry day, I do a load or two more frequently, and he is in charge of getting it upstairs. (remember, I don’t have much on my social plate , either)
Take more walks. He has arthritis in his foot, so walks, are very short, but frequent. The act of getting a coat and hat on, hooking up the dog to her leash, etc. is an activity. Take a drive to a place where you don’t usually walk. He might enjoy the change, or not! But, you can give it a try. As long you keep a distance from others, a slight change of scenery might be interesting.
Take advantage of Netflix and all the other stuff available. I have recorded every movie I think he can tolerate. I have discovered that he can’t stick with a movie longer than maybe an hour and a half. As much as he used to love “shoot ’em ups,” he can’t deal with Steven Segal movies any more. He was also very sad when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid lost it in Bolivia.
Dementia patients are not into social media. That’s an understatement. But, if you are, be sure to share texts, Face Book, etc. with him. And encourage family and friends to send pictures and stories.
You’re gonna need patience on steroids!
love & hope,