Dementia Part 2
by Bruce Cooper
Published on April 18, 2024
Categories: Aging | Health & Fitness

Dementia

Part 2

Continued from Dementia Part 1,

 

“I share what I share in the hope that it may be of assistance to someone else who is going through this, like we are, for the very first time.”

 

Possible Negative Repercussion Processes

Medications
Processes that may involve negative repercussions, such as forgetting to take their medications or taking them again after they have already taken them earlier, can be avoided by us assuming this responsibility for them. Gain their concurrence with this process.

Monetary Concerns
Also, responsibilities associated with dispensing money, fall into this category. My wife used to handle all of our online banking requirements but I have now assumed this responsibility with her concurrence. Negative repercussions can be avoided by adding additional layers of security (two-step authentication etc.) to the process so that they are more unlikely to be able to independently access or dispense unwarranted monies. A partial explanation for this change in process regarding these additional layers of access control as being necessary is to indicate they offset or hinder unauthorized access, which truthfully is always prudent.

All of our normal monthly monetary expenditures are jointly agreed to and all outside-of-the-norm expenditures are also mutually agreed to. In addition, to facilitate and foster my wife’s individual preferences, she has been provided with a modest limited amount of offline funds that she alone makes decisions on, without the need for my concurrence or agreement, to use or disperse as she alone sees fit. This fosters her own retained independence and judgement, which is still important to both of us. My wife still keeps me informed if she remembers, but she alone makes the final decision with these allocated offline funds.

Submitting personal Income Tax Returns is another area that I have legitimately assumed on behalf of my wife via Revenue Canada (we are Canadians).

Other areas of concern have to do with valuable items within their possession such as costly jewelry (diamond rings, etc.). They may place these items in a certain place for safekeeping and then forget where they have placed them. If they forget where they have placed them and you are not aware of where they have placed them, finding them can be a problem both for them and for those who are caring for them. This can be avoided by paying close attention to when they are in the possession of the individual (actually being worn) items and then us assuming the responsibility of placing them in a location that WE are aware of when they are not wearing them. Again, gain their concurrence with this process.

It is natural for those with dementia to want to maintain some level of control over independent decisions. Support this independence wherever possible with a combined “teamwork” mentality of each looking out for the other. Solicit their input on decisions where feasible so that they are honestly part of the “team”. 

Lost and Gained Freedoms
My wife independently and voluntarily decided to stop driving. I supported her decision due to her susceptibility to increased confusion and decreased ability to focus. It was the correct decision to make, out of concern for others and also herself. It is a freedom lost but it is also a freedom gained concerning accountability and unnecessary stress. Real-life decisions like this for those suffering from dementia are not only important but necessary. I am now officially my wife’s driver and I welcome my acquired position.

Confusion
Confusion with relatively simple processes such as using a cell phone correctly or operating a TV control device intensifies over time with those who suffer from dementia. Be readily available to assist and jump in when and if required. Patience and understanding is key.

A day-to-day routine and being in an environment where there is little or no stress is also beneficial for those suffering from dementia, thus minimizing confusion. Provide that routine and diminish stress whenever feasible. Being readily available to talk with them and having soothing music playing in the background are also other beneficial norms that form part of the positive environment. Providing choices for meals which I now solely make and getting outside for walks or drives are also beneficial. Be engaged with your loved one, and provide that reassurance of love and caring for them. Continual reinforcement of our love with attention, hugs, kisses and embraces are always a positive.

Be constantly at the ready to provide repeated requests for clarification on what day of the week it is, what month it is or anything else that might be on the daily schedule.

Note that I said “repeated” because multiple requests for the same information you have already provided previously will be asked for again and again. Respond each time as if it is the first request you have been asked. You do become used to this after a short while.

I’ve noticed a pattern as of late with regards to confusion. Lack of sufficient sleep for my wife definitely produces increased confusion. The equation is straight forward, the less sleep she gets, the more confusion manifests itself. Getting a good night’s sleep is vitally important, if this is feasible. Establishing a sleep routine that facilitates getting a good night’s sleep is definitely encouraged by our experience. Peg usually takes one nap during the day, sometimes in the morning and sometimes later in the afternoon, usually just for about an hour and these scheduled naps also aide in reducing confusion. Just a good practice to be aware of.

There is a consistent level of confusion with what day it is and what month it is but sometimes it goes substantially beyond that for relatively short periods of time. Having confusion with recalling what we did during the day sometimes surfaces and attributing events to yesterday that actually happened today sometimes happens. Most times these increased levels of confusion are minimal in frequency but there is a pattern of increased frequency developing. Maintaining patience as a caregiver during these instances of increased confusion is paramount. How the care giver reacts does have a correlation with how the increased confusion is handled by my wife. In spite of the difficulty that the increased confusion presents, focusing on the freedoms and abilities that are still possessed has a tendency to offset the negative aspects of the increased confusion so that it is not over emphasized. We still have a lot of blessings that we are thankful for and frequently experience bouts of shared laughter, which is good medicine for all concerned.

Continued

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

Bruce Cooper is a disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 7 grandchildren. He is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and resides in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. “Papa.” To read more of Bruce’s work visit Reasoned Cases For Christ.  

Featured Photo by Vlada Karpovich from pexels.com

3 Comments

  1. DONALD N NORRIS

    Wise words, my friend. I am sharing these posts with my wife as she is currently dealing with one of her friends from church who seems to have dementia.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Christian Grandfather Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading