In an interesting email blast by Lakely Hogan from Home Instead Senior Care, she posts several tips by Jim and Geri Taylor in reference to living with Alzheimer’s. Geri has early onset Alzheimer’s and her husband and care partner, Jim shared these seven simple and practical tips for living with dementia.
Practical Tips for Living with Dementia
- When walking, talk only as necessary. Falling is very common in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Ensure those walking together understand this as well, so their talking isn’t a distraction.
- Keep things as neat as possible and reduce the number of items in your space to find commonly used things without trouble.
- Stay involved in social circles and activities as much as possible. Find a substitute for driving like a train, taxi or even walking to ensure you can participate.
- Improve balance with yoga or other exercise to safeguard from falling and maintain health.
- Continue reading by choosing books with straight line fonts and fewer characters.
- Keep a smartphone with you all times. Having favorite contacts and frequented locations easily accessible can help if an address is forgotten or an emergency phone call needs to be made.
- Practice daily self-reflection on the importance of living in relation to self and others. This process can help you live with hope and pursue passions.
In a separate Reader’s Digest article featuring Geri and Jim, they discussed a fascinating exercise to help understand what it might be like to live with Alzheimer’s. Here is an excerpt.
From the front lines
The CaringKind caregiver workshop began in the training room. There were eight participants, Jim among them.
Next, the moderator said she wanted to try an exercise. She handed everyone two sheets of paper. Each contained a star drawn in double lines. She asked them to draw a line between those double lines, tracing the outline of the star. Once they finished, she asked how they felt about the experience.
Back came their answers: “Boring.” “Annoyance.”
She then handed everyone a small mirror. Now, on the second sheet, she wanted them to position the mirror so they could see the star in the reflection and then trace the star again while looking only in the mirror. The point was to let them experience a taste of what it was like to have dementia, to promote understanding and empathy.
As he fumbled his way through the star exercise, Jim said, “This is like driving a U-Haul trailer in reverse.”
The results were appalling, lines scooting all over the place. Again, the moderator asked how they felt.
The full article can be read here.
For more information about Lakely Hogan’s discussion with Jim and Geri, you can go to Remember For Alzheimer’s Facebook page in our last #CaregiverChats Facebook Live. Watch the Replay for more suggestions on managing emotions like guilt, frustration and sadness.