All posts tagged dementia

Person Centred Planning Unwrapped

Many professionals consider their practice is person centred but I often struggle to find evidence to support their claim. So what does being person centred mean and what does it look like?

What Being Person Centred Means

There is no universally accepted definition. The key principle for being person centred is to support and empower people to make choices and have control about how they want to live their life. Person centred planning encourages people to be more involved in decisions about their care so they get the support and services that are appropriate for their needs and preferences. It’s about seeing the person as an individual before their age and disabilities, focusing on their preferences, expectations, needs and circumstances and trying to see things from their perspective.

Being person-centred also means being aware of a person’s emotional and spiritual well-being. Spiritual care is not just about religious beliefs and practices: it also reflects the person’s values, relationships and need for self-expression.

Communication Challenges

We need to be aware that people are sometimes unable to tell us what they want. There are many reasons for this; they may be living with dementia, have a physical disability, severe hearing loss or a mental health condition, which makes communication difficult. We may therefore have to use appropriate communication aids to find out what they want and actively encourage them to participate in their care planning so they can be real partners in making decisions about their care choices.

Getting To Know The Person45281480

When planning in a person-centred way with someone, we need to think about the effect of what we’re doing on the person as a whole. We therefore need to know the person and find out as much information as possible. Before you begin care planning, ask the person (or the person/people who know them well) about themselves and the things that are important to them. Listen carefully to what they are saying (sometimes what they are not saying can be as important) and ask probing questions to check your understanding is accurate.

All too often I am asked to undertake an independent care review and find the Manager and carers know very little about the person, especially if they have dementia and don’t have a family. What did they do for a living? Where did they live when they were younger and what did they enjoy doing? What made them happy? What made them sad? What are their likes and dislikes? and one of the most important questions of all, what is important to them?

Don’t only focus on what keeps people healthy and safe. See the person as well and what matters to them- not just what the matter is with them.

A case study

Being person-centred sometimes requires me to think outside the box to achieve my client’s chosen outcome. The following is a good example.

Mrs M lived with her husband who was her primary carer. She had a number of coexisting mental and physical health conditions, including dementia and severe anxiety. She had a suprapubic catheter tube inserted into her bladder through a small hole in her stomach, which she used to empty her bladder. She was encouraged to empty the bag herself to maintain her independence and this required undoing the tap and bending over the toilet pan.

As she progressed along her dementia journey, Mrs M began forgetting to turn the tap off and her clothes became soaked in urine. She always wore tight trousers and would become hysterical when this happened thinking she had wet herself. Her husband’s health was deteriorating, he was losing his sight and found changing her clothes increasingly challenging.

Mrs M’s GP and District Nurse advised that the time had come for her to move into a care home.

I was asked look at care options with the couple.

When I asked Mrs M what was important to her she told me it was remaining in her own home with her husband. They had been happily married for 64 years and didn’t want to live apart.

The solution I recommended was a small gadget produced by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering department called a Wander Reminder costing £50. I advised this needed to be fixed to the cloakroom wall at the height where she bent over the toilet pan to empty her catheter.

When Mrs M bent over to empty the bag, a motion sensor would trigger a recorded message to remind her to turn the tap off. I advised the message needed to be changed regularly so she didn’t get used to it and ignore it.

Person centred planning and this £50 gadget enabled Mrs M to remain at home with her husband for a further year.

In conclusion

  • Get to know the individual and recognise their individuality. Decisions should always be made from their perspective
  • People have a variety of different preferences, history, circumstances and lifestyles, so the planning process needs to adopt a personalised approach
  • Find out what is important TO the person as well as what is important FOR them
  • Think outside the box to find solutions for the person to consider
  • Person centred planning needs to focus on achieving meaningful improvements in the person’s life and make a difference to it
  • Look at how the person’s identity and independence can be strengthened
  • The person’s needs are likely to change over time so make sure you review the care plan regularly.

“We cannot care for people unless we care about them and we cannot care about them if we don’t know who they are”

Planning End of Life Care

As its Dying Matters Awareness Week I would like to talk to you about the importance of getting your elderly loved ones to make plans for their end of life care. I have seen what happens when people don’t plan for having an accident, a stroke or an illness such as dementia, which leaves them unable to make decisions such as whether they want life prolonging treatment and how and where they would like to be treated.

This issue is very important to me and although I will be unable to control what happens to me if I find myself in this situation, I want to choose how I live the end of my life and how my funeral is conducted. I have therefore taken out a Lasting Power of Attorney for both my property and affairs and my health and well-being. I am also  one of the 3 in 10 people who have made a will. Why on earth would I want to leave my hard earned dosh to the Government?

Holy spirit dove flies in blue sky, bright light shines from heaven, christian symbol, holy bible story

I would much rather address these matters while I am relatively young and have no intention of dying, although  like everyone else I have no control over that whatsoever. If I leave it too late and am no longer able to make my own decisions, I will not be able to make these plans myself.  Now I can relax, forget about the Lasting Powers of Attorney which will only be able to be used if I am unfortunate enough to loose my marbles so there is no danger of my sons (who are my attorneys)  selling  my home and emigrating with my loot.

Although it is possible to download the LPA forms and will template  from the Internet  and do it yourself I chose not to do this as unintentional mistakes can be made by not considering all eventualities. If you have made your own will and LPAs this only comes to light when it is too late to do anything about it. So find yourself a good solicitor. You will be glad you did.

Here is an example of a situation  I remember from my days of working on night duty at the local hospital. that illustrates my point nicely. I have made up their names for anonymity. To be honest I can’t remember them anyway!

Example of  how failing to plan can cause conflict in a family

Steve lived near his father and they had an especially close relationship. When his father had a stroke Steve was asked whether or not he wanted his father to be resuscitated if his condition deteriorated. Steve told me that his father valued his quality of life and felt that if it was seriously compromised, he would not want his life to be prolonged. However, his brother disagreed and as you can imagine, the situation could have caused a serious conflict within the family. Luckily his father’s condition improved and a decision did not have to be made.

Another example is a personal one. When my father became terminally ill, I knew exactly what his wishes were and had power of attorney to back up decisions I made on his behalf. He died peacefully at home listening to his favourite music, being assured it was OK to let go and reassured that my brother, sister and I would look after our Mother. I cannot stress enough the comfort it gave me to know I was carrying out his wishes just as he would have wanted.

A letter of wishes

I have one last thing to do to ensure my choices are taken into account, I am writing a letter of wishes to be go with my papers, so that my sons know exactly what I want to happen if I have an accident become seriously ill or lose the ability to make decisions for any other reason. Also where and how I want to live if I am unable to make my own choices, how I would like my body disposed of at the end of my life and what I want to happen afterwards.

We are all going to die

As a society we tend to avoid talking about these matters. However, death is a part of life and if they are faced, discussed and planned for we can forget about them, know our wishes will be heeded and acted upon and that we have saved the person or people we have left behind the responsibility of guessing our choices. Don’t leave it too late

Millions leave it too late to discuss end of life wishes. Don’t let an older person you care about be one of them.! The following website offers lots of good information to help you. Dying Matters.Org

The Importance of Mental Stimulation for People with Dementia

This guest post provides information about activities, games and excercises that provide stimulation for people living with dementia

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Is the World Adapting to Help People with Dementia?

Caring for someone with dementia is a big responsibility and a 24/7 commitment. Carers can never truly relax, but with support and help from their communities, from businesses and from other people, those with dementia and those that look after them can have a slightly easier time.

But is the world adapting to people with dementia? Are more and more people learning what dementia is, what it means for those with dementia and how they can help?

The Evolution of Care

Person-centred care is one of the keys to helping people with dementia. Each person with dementia has different needs and requirements, but often the key to providing the best care is to help an individual to feel comfortable with their own memories.

Often, those with dementia remember distant memories as though they’re present-day memories. Correcting someone could cause confusion, worry and upset. Dementia sufferers can enjoy reminiscing about times gone by, and often connecting over old memories is the best way for relatives to experience a positive meeting with a loved one.

As carers understand more about person-centred care, things are changing worldwide. Hogewey near Amsterdam is the ‘dementia village’, where residents live in themed houses and can visit the shops and go about their daily lives with no awareness that they’re actually in a large care home complex with their neighbours being other dementia sufferers and the shopkeepers being their carers.

New Technologies

As technologies advance, more and more possibilities are opening up for people with dementia. Apps on tablet computers can help those with dementia to train their memory, or can provide memory triggers that encourage discussion. Touchscreen devices are intuitive to use, with no steep learning curve, making them ideal for people with dementia.Digital-World-75-EB201113-1100x1120

In complete contrast, Alzheimer’s Research UK is using technology to instead increase awareness for those WITHOUT dementia, helping more and more people to understand what it means to have the condition. Their FaceDementia app describes the symptoms of dementia using the user’s Facebook profile information.

Assistive technologies for dementia sufferers also include GPS devices and alarms, though sometimes cue cards and post-it notes are even better living aids.

Increased Awareness

Conditions such as dementia are becoming increasingly recognised and understood. As awareness increases, those with dementia and those looking after them will find a more understanding world around them.

The average person on the street now understands the symptoms of dementia, at least in a basic way. That wasn’t always the case. Medical professionals are also encouraged to recognise the signs and symptoms of dementia and to diagnose it properly so that the correct help, support and financial assistance (where relevant) can be provided.

Living with dementia isn’t easy. Living with someone that has dementia will always be difficult, stressful and emotional. However with more awareness, the latest technologies and an increasing number of dementia-friendly care services things are getting a little bit easier. And, with an increasing number of ‘Dementia Friends’ across the UK, those caring for someone with dementia will find more people to turn to in time.

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The 10 Boxes of Christmas For People Living With Dementia

Christmas is an important time for families – a time to catch-up with relatives’ news, have fun, build new memories and reaffirm bonds. But how do you do that when a key member of the family has problems with communication and memory? Maizie Mears-Owens, Care UK’s head of dementia services, has found a new way to gently lead loved ones living with dementia into the festive season and increase their wellbeing. Here she explains how to make the 10 Boxes of Christmas.

Throughout Care UK’s 114 care homes we use memory boxes to engage people. We fill them with personalised items that mean something to them. It may involve items from their hobbies, careers or sports memorabilia but for Christmas I am suggesting families try an Advent style approach, with 10 boxes containing single items that will trigger memories of Christmas. Not only will they unlock memories but they will also prepare your loved-one for what will be happening in the home over the holidays.General-DSCF0070-SWGM291013-400x400

Have fun making the boxes. You can use any size or shape, you can decorate them with themes or wrapping paper or Christmas cards and you can get the younger members of your family to join in.

Box 1 Smell is one of the most powerful prompts to memory and Christmas is packed with very distinctive smells. You can include a stick of cinnamon, a jar of all spice and many shops sell little bottles containing a liquid that smells of pine for people who have artificial trees. Sit down with your relative and talk about the scents and the memories they invoke

Box 2 Many homes, mine included, have a silver sixpence that has been handed down over the years to include in Christmas puddings. If you don’t have one they are easy to find in bric-a-brac shops and flea markets. The coin has a number of benefits to memory. Firstly you can talk about when they were young – did they ever get the sixpence? You can talk about years when they made the puddings and you can also talk about the year the coin was made: It may be worth doing a little bit of homework in advance on what happened nationally that year to prompt the start of the conversation.

Box 3 Now we take fresh and exotic fruit for granted, but a clementine or satsuma when our loved ones were young was a rare treat. For many people the smell and taste of a satsuma encapsulates Christmas. I have often put one in my parents’ stockings because when I was young we always laughed about what they had in their stockings, a satsuma being a prized item. Get them to rub it between their hands and feel the texture and to smell the skin in the wonderful moment you peel one. They will also enjoy the taste and the memories it brings.

Box 4 Looking around the shops, and online at sites like eBay there are lots of wonderful Christmas baubles and vintage decorations around this year. If you are not fortunate enough to have your original Christmas decorations, think about buying one of the modern replicas for the box. Talk with your loved-one about when you used to decorate the tree together and ask them about trees and decorations when they were young.

Box 5 – Have a look through your photo collection and theirs. Are there any from Christmas past? If you have visitors coming to the house for Christmas, are there any that include them so that you can start preparing your loved one for who is coming? You can add tinsel to the box. Tinsel has the added advantage of being very tactile, which is great for people with dementia. Try and include a really full length and encourage them to hold it and pull it through their hands.

Box 6 – The gift of music. Dig out one of your CDs of Christmas song or carols. You can have a sing along together or just sit and listen. Carols often take people further back as they remember singing them in school or church. For those who were grown up in the 1960s and 1970s the sounds of Phil Spector or Slade and Wizzard will bring back memories of family parties and work Christmas events.

Box 7 – Nothing sums up Christmas like a Nativity figure. Do you have a Nativity set that the family has used for many years? Put just one figure in the box – one you feel will particularly appeal to your loved one. It may be a person, an animal or the crib – it doesn’t matter as long as it appeals to them. Chat about Christmases when you have had a Nativity set. Did you ever have a large one in your church? Did they have a village one when they were young? Do they remember your school Nativity? Do they remember taking part in one? What is their favourite part of the Christmas story?

Box 8 – A Christmas cracker can bring fun. You can find inexpensive make-your-own kits in hobby shops and supermarkets. Is there something you can put in that would make them smile? You can use the cracker to reminisce about Christmas lunches past and also to discuss what will be happening this year and to ask them for their ideas.

Box 9 – Christmas paper and ribbons can be placed in box nine and, depending where your relative is in their pathway, you can either sit together and wrap a present, which will make them feel involved both at the time and when the gift is given, or you can get them to feel the paper and scrunch it up while you talk about opening parcels. You can laugh about the fun you have had in the past trying to wrap up bicycles or tennis rackets.

Box 10 – Finally what could be nicer that sitting down together with a mince pie? That morning, box up a piece of whatever cake symbolises Christmas to your family. Form some it is Stollen, for others Tunis cake or Dundee cake. Sit down with a cup of tea and have a chat about what cake to choose this year, and what they had in Christmases past. Did they make it with you? Did they make it with their mum? How did they manage during the years of rationing?

The boxes can contain whatever you want in whatever order – the important thing is that you share the experience and that the items mean something to your loved one. Encourage them to take in the smells and textures and do the same yourself – these boxes will help you to create your own memories for the future.

Whether you are visiting a loved living with dementia in their own home or in a care home, I hope that my idea of 10 Boxes of Christmas will help you to have enjoyable and helpful conversations that bring the whole family together this December.

And may I wish you a very happy and peaceful Christmas.

Person-Centred Care Home Search

As Ivy looked around her new room there was no way of knowing what was going on in her head. We had taken great care to make sure her new room looked the same as her old one. Photographs had been taken of her old room so it could be laid out the same and her ornaments arranged accordingly in her glass fronted cabinet. Her new room had been painted the same colour blue and a  new carpet had been laid, similar to her old one.

Ivy aged 85 had been living with dementia in a care home in West Sussex since her husband died five years ago. Her only son Paul had moved Ivy into the home before returning home to his family at the other side of the world, New Zealand.

Three years ago Ivy’s solicitor in West Sussex recommended Relative Matters to Paul and we have been monitoring his mothers health and well being ever since in addition to arranging for someone to take Ivy out for a drive and a meal out once a fortnight.

As time went on we became concerned about the quality of care Ivy was receiving and eventually, and in consultation with her family, decided that Ivy needed to move to another home. In the course of our assessment we identified that Ivy had a sister she hadn’t seen for years who still lived in Skegness where she had grown up. Thus the possibility of moving Ivy to a care home in Skegness presented itself and  our search began.iStock_000004762284Small

When a potentially suitable care home had been found we arranged to take Ivy for a weekend trial during which a tea visit was organised with her estranged sister. We made the 200-mile journey with Ivy, spent time assessing risks and most importantly, monitored her reaction to the new care environment and her sister. However, we needn’t have worried, Ivy was delighted to see  her sister and beloved ‘Skeggie’ again and it quickly became clear that we had got it right.

And so the move was arranged. We arranged for Ivy’s things to be taken to her new home the day before and her son and grandson flew over to help with the move. They arranged the room ready for Ivy’s arrival so it was ready when we arrived the following afternoon. By the time we left Ivy had reconnected with another resident she had made friends with on her trial visit.

As Ivy beamed up at us from her wheelchair we felt the warm glow of knowing we had made a difference to another person’s life.  We had reunited Ivy with her sister; in the area she held fond memories from her childhood. Job satisfaction doesn’t get much better than that!

Four Fantastic Ways Technology Can Support Your Elderly Relative

We often hear the term “golden years” used to refer to the time between retirement and when we leave this earth, yet many do not understand its meaning. For many, their final years can be a difficult period, fraught with illness, loneliness and general despair. It often falls into the hands of family members to look after and assist their elderly relatives during this time, which can be quite difficult if you’ve never before had to help take care of a loved one. We live in an amazing world these days: the combination of medicine and technology can mean that life is not just extended, but enhanced. If you are helping a loved one and want to keep them happier at home, then continue reading to find out about four ways that technology for older people can help maintain their independence.

MedMinder

It is quite rare to get to the end of your life without ever needing to take some form of medication along the way. Unfortunately, the ageing of our brains can hamper our ability to remember to take our medicine, which will only accelerate the process of deterioration. The Tabtime Medminder offers a solution for this problem, and revolves around a combination of technology for the elderly and smart medicine. The device in question is a pill dispenser, which can ensure that your loved one takes his or her medicine when they need it. This inexpensive and portable solution offers the following:

  • Easy to use interface with no confusing technology for older family members
  • “Set it and forget it” programming: an alarm will alert the family member when it is time to take their medicine
  • Storage of up to one week’s worth of medicine at a time; can hold dozens of pills
  • Large LCD buttons and screen for configuring alarms – perfect for those with bad eyesight
  • Flashing lights and auditory responses will gently yet effectively remind the user when to take their medicine
  • Detachable daily pill blocs can be attached to the alarm keychain for on-the-go use

The MedMinder pill dispenser is available for around £20 on Amazon and through other retailers – a small price to pay for peace of mind for you, and better health for your loved ones.

GPS Watches

While not true for everyone, many older people resist technology due to a feeling of intimidation and a fear of the unknown. This can make it difficult to monitor or engage with the elderly in a remote fashion, but you want to be able to keep an eye on them no matter what. We all understand just how difficult this can be when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, so a passive solution is needed. Enter the concept of GPS watches, which are making big waves in the world of technology for the elderly. So how do they work?

GPS watches include a cellular responder that constantly tracks the location of the wearer. Anyone with a provided phone number or login from afar can pinpoint the exact location of the person at any time. This in turn will display the location on Google Maps or a similar mapping software, which can help you find the person in the event they have wandered off – or if they are currently at home.

Home Sensors

In the past few years, integrated home technology for the elderly has become increasingly common – especially for areas of the home where accidents are common (like the bathroom). A variety of home sensors are now available that can tell you a whole slew of things about what your elderly relative or friend is doing. Some of the possibilities include:

  • Whether the lights in the home have been left on or off
  • When the last time the front or back door was opened
  • If the person has entered the bathroom or bedroom
  • Home intercom systems that allow for instant help in the event an accident occurs
  • If appliances like the refrigerator or stove have been left open or on

Many people seek a new, optimized place for their loved ones to spend their retirement. If you are considering the purchase of a retirement home for your parent, grandparent or other relative, then asking about whether any smart home sensors are included or available is generally a good idea.

Phones for older people big-button-phone

Regardless of resistance to technology, one piece of technology for the elderly that most enjoy is a phone. Being able to chat with friends and family – as well as access emergency services if needed – shouldn’t be a hard sell. Many phones are not easy to use for older people, however, this has led to the development of many different phones being developed specifically for older people.

Some of the main features you can expect to find on a phone for older people include improved speakers for better hearing, large buttons that can be easily read and an emergency call button. A good example is the Big Button Memory Phone Not only does it come with extra large buttons to help them see numbers accurately, it also offers 8 picture customisable memory buttons so that loved ones can be reached easily.

New technology is coming on the market every day so if your elderly loved one is facing a challenge do get in touch and I will try my best to help.

Top Tips For Visiting Someone Living With Dementia

Dementia covers a group of symptoms such as memory problems, decreasing ability to think or reason and difficulty communicating.

People with Dementia often find it hard to let you know how they feel. They often become confused, anxious and sometimes frightened.  Finding it hard to recognise people.  However, feelings remain and visits can stimulate warm feelings and be comforting.

Here are some things you can do to help when you visit someone with Dementia

  • Wear something bright and colourful and approach them from the front, don’t be tempted to tap them on the shoulder or approach them from behind.
  •  Introduce yourself with an explanation of who you are
  •  Smile and make eye contact, sitting down next to them at their level
  • Touch their hand or arm gently if appropriate
  • Make sure you speak simply, one comment at a time
  • Listen and give them time to answer or comment.  Be patient.
  • It is important to be positive and reassuring.
  • Try to avoid questions or choices, try ‘A cup of tea?’ (not, tea or coffee?) Be Patient.
  • Accept incorrect statements as they may be caused by memory loss or faulty logic. Acknowledge the emotions behind the words.

I find these tips very helpful. They were based on work undertaken by Dr. Jennifer Bute a retired GP who is living with early onset Alzheimer’s Dementia.

 

Mum, Dad and Dementia

I was on a residential course for my social work training over 30 years ago when I first heard my mother had been diagnosed with dementia. She has had chronic mental and physical health issues all her adult life including anxiety and depression for which she had electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) Talking therapies such as counselling and CBT were not used in those days and I believe that ECT was responsible for her memory loss in the early days.

Mum has always been reserved, strong willed and used to getting her own way. She has also had a low self esteem for as long as I can remember, the reason for which I have never been able to understand.

I have seen first hand from working with people living with dementia how dementia effects everyone differently and how big a part personality, character, life experience, past occupation and lifestyle play in shaping a person’s dementia journey.

Mums dementia journeyleg-lifters

Over the years Mum’s memory deteriorated. Making choices became difficult for her and she would avoid answering the phone, asking my father to take over calls. Dad has always been a source of reassurance for my mother. Just by being around he provided her with a sense of security.

As Mum’s faculties declined my father gradually assumed responsibility for the things she could no longer manage – cooking, cleaning, laundry, finances and arranging and escorting her to the many appointments she had.

The impact of dementia on relationships

My parents had been happily married for over 60 years when my father’s eyesight and health began to fail. His previously placid manner began to change as he increasingly became frustrated with my mother, constantly correcting her when she said or did something wrong. I repeatedly asked him not to give in to the urge to ‘put Mum right’ when he knew something she said was wrong but he was unable to stop doing it.

It was sad to see two people who loved each other struggling to cope, My mother’s cognitive decline and deteriorating memory on the one hand and my father’s failing health and ability to cope on the other, both unable to understand each others’ perspective. They were both experiencing emotional reactions to debilitating, frustrating and frightening changes to their inner world and increasing dependence.

Dementia affects the whole family especially those closest to the person living with dementia. The impact on my father was made worse by his own deteriorating health. He was overcome with guilt at no longer being able to care for my mother and the anger and frustration he felt towards her was a new experience for him. This happened alongside increasing exhaustion due to his illness and it was painful to watch this proud, competent and kind man fighting dependency.

The end of an era

Eventually Dad could no longer cope. Mum’s frequent need for reassurance (the result of  anxiety and memory impairment) and her mental and physical dependency on my father got the better of him and my mother had to move into a care home, something I had always dreaded and done everything possible to avoid.

Separation anxiety

For a long time, my mother was even more anxious than usual. She refused to leave her room in the care home, refused to be compliant with staff (the only way she was able to maintain control) and talked of wanting to die. I think she was experiencing Separation Anxiety; a state of excessive anxiety when an individual is apart from a person (Dad) or place (her home) that makes them feel safe and secure. For people living with dementia, separation anxiety is one of the most common causes for wandering (or as I like to call it ‘wondering’ as there is always a reason) but as Mum was unable to walk unaided, she was unable to wander.

About a year after moving Mum  into a care home, my father’s health deteriorated. I moved in to care for him at the end of his life and he passed away soon after. Mum eventually had to leave the care home due to her poor mobility, lack of compliance with staff and challenging behaviour. However, I will save that story for next time!

Top Tips For Managing Dementia Related Anxiety

Alzheimer’s upsets memory, thought processes & speech; also behavioural changes such as agitation, confusion, distress, hallucinations and false beliefs.

We are born unable to do many things and have to learn them. In Alzheimer’s it appears people unlearn these things again, going back to earlier behaviours.

The Film ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ illustrates the unlearning of social inhibitions, which include what is acceptable to say, or what to do, or even being unable to use the bathroom or feed ones-self. (All of which is perfectly acceptable or even cute, in an infant!)

There may be physical reasons for the anxiety state such as infections (urinary tract infections are common in dementia), drug side effects, pain, hunger, thirst.

Feelings remain, even when facts are forgotten

So a happy occasion can be ‘spoilt’ by a sad farewell.

Plan ahead for:

Happy exit strategies – (for example say ‘I’m just going to the loo’)

Explanations for absent folk – (for eg say ‘‘remember he was often working)

Affirming moments – (such as ‘you always were good at jigsaws’)

Reasons to sit rather than follow around – (tell me ‘we don’t want you to conk out’)

Calling someone by the wrong name means that the person knows you are important to them, even though they do not remember exactly who you are.  Not knowing your name might mean at that particular time that they have no idea who you are, so tell them.

Situations that can precipitate an anxiety attack:

  • Unfamiliar Surroundings
  • A task that is too complicated
  • Difficulty in Communicating
  • Travel
  • Crowds
  • Illness
  • Noise

Strategies for managing anxiety 91 years of life

1.      Introduce yourself.

2.      Don’t ask questions.

3.      Don’t overwhelm them

4.      Simplify or calm their environment.

5.      Reassure, and show them what they should do.

6.      Remove or reduce stress triggers –

  • Noise – turn music down or off
  • Lighting – switch more lights on or off
  • Too many people – take them to a quieter place

7.      Change to a more familiar activity or make a cup of tea.  Perhaps remove them from the situation and take them for a walk or a car ride.

8.      Music can calm and reassure.

9.      Talk about hobbies, passions, or subjects that meant a great deal to them earlier in their life.

10.    Videos or pictures of events or outings.

11.    They might not be able to distinguish dreams from reality. Don’t  laugh or call them a liar.

This post is based on work undertaken by Dr. Jennifer Bute a retired GP who is living with the early onset Alzheimer’s Dementia