The occupational, physical therapists, and cna people are the best! I’ve never met such a wonderful and caring group of people. These services would have been available a year ago, however, I never tapped into it. Sometimes, being a caregiver becomes so overwhelming that there is just too much to juggle. We’ve had private companions coming in a couple of days for several years, but not OT or PT. Honestly, there is not much they can do for Jerry accept go for walks, but they are a wealth of information; most of which I’ve already tried, but not all. Today, the OT evaluation supervisor came. She used a simplified checklist of the seven stages called FAST (Functional Assessment Staging Test). Jerry is at stage 7a-b. Ability to speak limited to about half a dozen words. Just before 7c-f, which is non ambulatory, unable to sit up, smile or hold head up. We explored different resources and she is sending out a social worker, just so we can leave “no stone unturned.
Here are a few little practical daily tidbits she offered.
NEON. For some reason the visual/spacial impairment causes the dementia patient not to be able to see properly. They’ve suggested signs in neon with a drawing of a toilet. Or an old picture of the person framed in neon green to distinguish his bedroom.
TOILET SEAT. Leave the toilet seat UP, because they cannot distinguish whether it is open or closed. (sheeze...after all those years of nagging to put the lid down!)
HAIRDRYER. Since dementia patients are always cold, sometimes they get up too soon off the toilet seat. (not a good thing!) It’s suggested to use a hairdryer to warm the seat before they sit down. Hey! What about a new invention! Heated toilet seats!
RED RIBBON. Use as a barrier to forbidden places..such as my kitchen. (great use for that old wrinkled christmas ribbon.) Eventually, he will see the ribbon and just turn around. Yeah, we’ll see about that. Yesterday, he pitched an absolute temper tantrum because I wouldn’t let him in, even though I had a seat for him at the counter. The ribbon is going up today.
ALARM. Get a stick-on alarm for the doors, so I know when he goes in and out. Keep bedroom door closed at night so he won’t go out while I’m sleeping. Keep shower and closet doors closed so he won’t go in there searching for a bathroom.
You can find tidbits in the book “MY PAST IS NOW MY FUTURE”, a practical guide to possible dementia care, by Lanny D. Butler MS,OTR. There is also a website: www.iatbdementiacare.com. I’m ordering the book now.