communicating with the cognitively impaired

Why I love the internet

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http-895558_640Sure, it’s convenient and very utilitarian for our every-day use.  As a writer, I benefit greatly from an online Thesaurus to use alternate words.  Case in point,  there’s gotta be a better way to say, “Colleen got angry (irked, vexed, indignant, apoplectic, choleric) when traffic made her late for her hair appointment.”

And among the many other reasons for which I use the internet, I count on it for quick access to a recipe for an I’m too exhausted to be creative meal on a Monday night or in the alternative, a restaurant that’s not too far away from home and can seat us at the last minute.  Bottom line, I take full advantage of what the inter-web has to offer.

But the biggest reason I love the internet is that it reaches anyone who has access to any type of computer device – especially those in need of some sort of assistance when sorting out the difficulties of life.  My need for a dining alternative pales in comparison to someone searching for help when caring for someone with a debilitating illness.

Caring gumby figuresOne of the blogs I follow: My Dementia Experience, is written by a woman, NorCalMom, who takes care of her mother-in-law.  This delightful caregiver also has five children of her own.  But NorCalMom jumped into caregiving with both feet in 2013 when Marie, her mother-in-law, moved in with her and the rest of her household because of Marie’s advancing dementia.  Reading just one of this blogger’s posts will show an outsider what types of challenges NorCalMom faces on an ongoing basis.

As caregivers, and I’ve been one as well, we oftentimes “wing it” when it comes to handling the day-to-day, and shockingly acute, issues that occur during our caregiving journey.  The unpredictable nature of Alzheimer’s or other dementia makes even the most mundane activities frustratingly impossible to handle with only a layman’s knowledge of providing care.  For example, how does one communicate with a person who can no longer understand what is said to her and who can no longer respond cogently to questions proferred by their primary care person?

Caregivers need psychic powers to unravel the mystery of care providing.  Or do they?  Read the rest of this entry »

Alzheimer\’s Reading Room: Learning How to Use Alzheimer\’s World to Your Advantage

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Alzheimer\’s Reading Room: Learning How to Use Alzheimer\’s World to Your Advantage.  Please check out this link, as well as those that I offer in my commentary below.

The above link provides a great article about a woman caregiver who found success using the confusion of Alzheimer’s to her advantage.  (For background information on the people referred to in that link please look at  an article about a talking parrot who in essence was the Assistant Caregiver for Dotty, a delightful woman with Alzheimer’s.)

The Alzheimer’s Reading Room article posted at the top of this page  mirrors my own thoughts as provided in my article: Honesty is NOT always the best policy.  If you’ve never been faced with the communication struggles associated with caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or other dementia then you may be unnerved by the approaches offered in my article and the article linked at the top of this page.  If you have been faced with those struggles, however, you’ll probably support any communication methods that make your caregiving job easier.  The caregiver benefits, and the one being cared for receives the outcome of those benefits.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s all about entering the world of the person with Alzheimer’s, rather than trying to force them into yours.