Gary Leblanc in Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness: Common Sense Caregiving, Expanded Edition, 2011It is diffucult to recap the whole book, but here ten of my favorite quotes or strategies, often echoed by other authors on caregiving. Tried and true methods.
- " I've always believed Alzheimer's patients feed off their caregiver's emotions. The smoother the household runs, the easier it will be to keep up a positive, calm demeanor. Even so, there'll always be moments when everything feels like it's falling apart." (p. 158) Usually that is sundown time as I wrote in the previous post.
- "It's easier for patients to refuse than to allow themselves to look foolish. Get into the habit of redirecting your patient's thoughts, preferably to more blithesome ones." (p. 161) Often 30 minutes later there is a different answer.
- "One positive aspect of having no short-term memory is that a couple of minutes down the road, they won't even remember being upset." (p. 161) Yep! Corollary to the above.
- "There will be times when it doesn't matter what you say or do. Never force an issue to the point of argument, just let the dust die down and try again later." (p. 168) Go with an obsession when it is safe to do even if it is inconvenient. They say never argue with an Alzheimer's patient. At times you can divert their attention and give them ice cream or anything that works.
- "One treatment that I've discovered that takes the edge off the anxiety of Alzheimer's patients is a loveable pet." (p. 256) We have an adoreable Maltese that we both enjoy.
- "If they're speaking and not making any sense, just go with the flow. Gradually, try changing the subject if it's too bothersome for you. You're doing the right thing by being there. People are nurtured through human contact, even if they don't always show it. Every minute you're there is worshiped. Recently, someone shared a story with me of a man who goes to his wife's nursing home and has breafast with her every day. She hasn't recognized him in the past five years, but what's important to him is that he knows who she is. Tough love isn't about surviving the storm, it's about learning to dance in the rain." (p. 272) Dolores has this last quote on her blog. Her hubby no longer recognizes her.
- "I believe that one of the most important elements in longevity is the quality of care loved ones receive while suffering from this disease. Once again, this is where a routine lifestyle becomes so essential." (p. 282) Still working on the routine of putting in false teeth the first thing in the morning. Other routines are established, including a clipboard of what's happening.
- Their best time is from 10 AM to 3 PM. Oh yes. When I am gone I call to just tell my husband hi and sometimes to remind him about lunch.
- When sleep patterns change, then wandering can happen according to LeBlanc. Have started to give DH 3 mg of Melaton because one night he got up to watch TV. Lately he is sleeping well with those 3 mg. Will go to 6 mg if needed.
- The best tip is the characteristics of a successful Alzheimer's caregiver from pages 11-14. With prayer and meditation on Scripture I aspire to these five characteristics.
b. Compassion LeBlanc defines as "concern toward the suffering and understanding the feelings of the patient and the family members".
c. Endurance he says is "withstanding painful long years of misery in defense of the victim and caregiver of this dreadful disease."
d. Unselfishness means "generosity of putting your life on hold, including social isolation and financial burdens."
e. Honesty is "loyalty toward and the protection of the afflicted one's assets and best interest."
Lord, thank You for your daily mercies.
Help me to be the best caregiver I can be. In Jesus' name, Amen.