Sufferers of Alzheimer’s Dementia and other similar diseases need to be positively stimulated either in an understanding group or on a one to one basis (the latter being needed as the Disease progresses) Workshops for example; Art, Music (including in this must be nature sounds), Computer or tools that connect them to their past, for example, if the sufferer used to use a dictaphone then an old mobile phone can be used in place of a dictaphone – you will be surprised how the Sufferer responds and the lucidity of the comments produced.
We feel it is most important that all carers should be made aware of the Client’s past hobbies and vocation and that they should not, as often happens, enter in to a New Clients world ‘with nervous conversations’ based on their own personal interests, which more than probably would not even interest the Sufferer/Client and in most cases would put the Sufferers back up straight away. All too often, as the disease progresses, carers and family members think that the Sufferer does not understand but if the truth was to be known they can hear more than you or I and revert back to reading body language before the Carer has even opened his or her mouth, which results in an immediate assessment, on the Sufferers part, of their potential Carer or mood of the family member present, this is the main reason why many sufferers tend to react so quickly or much quicker than a healthy human being would do. Given the same situation for a healthy individual they would wait until the Carer/ member of family would finish saying what they were saying before interupting or reacting
We all must STOP domineering Sufferers and train ourselves to communicate with them on a 50 50 level and accept that adjusting daily to this 50 50 language will be difficult but is something that needs to be done to allow the sufferer to feel part of Society until the end of their time.
Diet/food must be monitored as should behavioural patterns following meals or snacks. The chemicals within food/drinks can often initiate mood swings just as a conglumeration of pills can. Please make sure healthy foods are given to deter chest infections.
Specific diet sheets can be created for each individuals chemical balance but never assume that one diet would suit the next individual – (see Food Analysis page).
Their skin needs moisturised and where possible their heads need to be finger tapped for nerve ending stimulation
It is also absolutely essential that the Sufferer/Client is also kept away from agro and any situation/human that is negative for the sufferer. Any negative individuals should be instructed to leave until they are able to adjust to the Clients way of communicating.
It is imperative that the Sufferer is accepted by ALL and not made to feel rejected from Society which far too often seems to be the case, but more importantly we must try to encourage the Public/Friends/ The Sufferers’ Social Circle of friends to ADJUST or to change their approach as the Sufferer’s health deteriorates. This can be done by ‘role playing’ or by gently explaining how the Sufferer feels.
Encourage Music, I.T., Dance and Art within their daily lives and for as long as possible and in the early stages Talking books can be a great benefit to those who were once avid readers.
If a piano or keyboard is available find two chairs and sit the Sufferer on one and yourself on the other, start by playing a few notes, or if you are musical play a few relaxing chords and your Client will tinkle away with you. You will more than probably be quite astonished with the sounds and the tones that they play will be the pitch that they hear best or feel soothed by.
Encaustic Art is another easy form of Artwork that does not involve thought but can create amazing patterns and allows the Client to use his/her favourite colours. However, you must be with them at all times when using this medium.
Sunrise and Sunset washes are easy to create with a little poster paint and water, encourage this, with silence by laying out two sheets of paper, one for you and one for your Client – have fun.
If your Client has been used to using computers then keep this up for as long as possible. Once they are unable to type there are numerous Audio packages that can be downloaded and utilised so that talking emails/mp 3’s can be sent instead of typed emails. Again there are numerous Art packages that can be used if you think they could connect with such a package.
Encourage the Sufferer to take photo’s and use them as a slideshow or screen saver on the computer.
One of the most important things here is to adapt to the Sufferer’s communication ability. If they have had too much verbal stimulation prior to your arrival, you will know because they will be filled with exhausted expressions. Go with the silence that they require, even if it’s just for an hour.
These are often important to the Sufferer, but as the disease progresses the time of day and Venue must be considered as too much ‘BUZZ’ or noise can irritate them further. So perhaps phone the Hotel or Cafe up first to find out what time is the quietest.
ABOVE ALL ELSE please remember there is always something that a troubled or ‘locked in’ individual connects with, so do not give up until you find that key.
Once you have found the key it is extremely important that everyone involved with the sufferer sings from the same hymn sheet until the individual learns to or is able to communicate on a 50 50 level.
IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND THAT KEY FOR YOUR LOVED ONE, THEN PLEASE, FOR THEIR SAKE, ASK US FOR GUIDANCE, DON’T LET THEM CONTINUE TO FEEL ISOLATED, OUSTED, EXCLUDED OR REJECTED FROM SOCIETY .
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