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Choosing a Long-Term Care or Nursing Home for a Loved one living with Dementia: Forgive if I perseverate, a poem for self reflection. Tip of the day

Posted Mar 28th, 2015 in Long-Term Care, Retirement, Tips, Dementia

Choosing a Long-Term Care or Nursing Home for a Loved one living with Dementia: Forgive if I perseverate, a poem for self reflection.  Tip of the day

When mom was living with dementia, she often became fixed on a topic and was very repetitive. In other words, there was perseveration.  Sometimes as Caregivers we need to take a step back, reflect, and gain perspective as to the meaning behind the behaviour.  This will guide our own response to the situation, so both of us can move forward at that moment.

Here are my thoughts about this topic...

Living with Dementia: Forgive if I perseverate

Forgive if I perseverate, replicate, and duplicate,

My response you see is just innate,
I can’t remember now.

So if you see me hesitate, trepidate, or contemplate,

Just help me to elaborate,
I can’t remember now.

I may just need to concentrate, recalculate, recalibrate,

Please, if you would, accommodate,
I can’t remember now

I need you to facilitate, de-escalate, anticipate,

I promise to reciprocate,
I can’t remember now.

My wish is to articulate, communicate, or just relate,

For in your hands I rest my fate,
Please listen to me now.

So why the odd syntax?  Just a small way to reinforce the meaning of perseveration.

What is perseveration?  When individuals are living with dementia they may exhibit repetition in speech or behaviours.  Almost like getting ”stuck” in the moment.

So how can we help:

  • A positive strategy is to think about the cause of the behaviour; perhaps there is anxiety, fear, or stressors such as an unmet need.  (Think about the basics: like hunger, thirst, finding a bathroom etc.)   Is there something else in the environment that has triggered this response? 
  • Meaningful activities are a great way to help the individual living with dementia find a source of purpose, a means of contribution, and an opportunity to refocus their thoughts. Meaningful activities provide distraction and/or diversion.  (check out my blog:  http://www.elderpilot.com/site/blog/2014/08/21/meaningful-activities-time-well-spent-for-both-the-participant-and-the-helper)  
  • Think about ways to refocus and redirect the individual living with dementia to move forward from this stalled thought.  Examples: "Let's have a snack."  "Look at this lovely photograph."
  • Addressing the meaning behind the words may enhance self -expression.  If someone asks to go home several times, a suggested response may be, “Tell me about your home…”   This may help the conversation move forward, as the anxiety has been addressed by encouraging further discussion.
When looking at Long-Term Care homes or Retirement residences, it is wise to inquire about the training that staff receive, to make them effective caregivers, when assisting someone living with dementia.

Mom often got stuck in the moment, or on a thought.  

As I reflect back now, I have gained greater insight into the anxiety that she must have been experiencing during those times. 

Remember, sometimes the key to our response is mirrored in the words themselves.

Download the free Elderpilot: Long Term care or Elderpilot: Retirement mobile tour apps (iPhones and Androids) for more information. The resource section is full of tips and strategies including things to think about re care needs of individuals living with dementia.. The apps will guide you on your tours, providing prompts, recording your observations and creating a report to share with others. Looking for more help? Visit us at www.elderpilot.com. and read my blogs.


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