At the workshop that Sally and I attended Thursday, Teepa Snow could explain communication with our dementia loved ones "like no body's business" and kept her audience fascinated the whole day. She visualized, she demonstrated, she imitated, she engaged the audience. The ultimate dementia coach--that she is.
My day started with the challenge of getting hubby shaved and showered since Kenny has been ill and not able to do this. Kenny has pleurisy now and hubby hadn't had a shower or shave for eight days, hate to say. (Kenny's mother has graciously helped with pills and lunch while I work and Kenny was recovering, but I wasn't comfortable with her shaving and showering my husband.) I hated his beard at church on Sunday, but now it was really bad.
Hubby was in the bathroom when I woke up--the place where he needs to be for his shave and shower. I moved in ready to shave a man for the first time in my 69 years.
I am going to be Kenny today for you, Sweetheart, I announced.
The trimmer and the electric shaver I had bought this last year for hubby doesn't work on him--razors are in his long-term memory. Kenny had instructed me to use the cheapest razors: Lather up and shave down on the face. Shave up on the chin area. Fill up the sink with water to rinse in between strokes.
Meanwhile I started the shower to warm the water and then turned it off. When the shaving was done, it was not hard to get hubby in the shower with the grab bars. Then I turned on the shower water and was even able to use shampoo on hubby's hair. Actually I got into the shower with him.
At a break I told Teepa about my success that mirrored what she was instructing us about working with the brain of someone with dementia. I know more about their stubbornness, the whys, and how to deal with it because of our day in her workshop.
So much came together for me in this workshop. Thanks so much to our local Alzheimer's Association and local sponsors for putting this event together. Thanks to Grace Manor in Lakeland for keeping my husband and Jake during this event. More on what I learned and how I am applying it in the next post.