Lost inhibitions can lead to new passions
Weisbrod says she sees this a lot: For example, she encouraged a man who never wanted to socialize to attend a music program; suddenly, he began singing show tunes from old musicals. “Residents who never picked up a paintbrush discover their inner Rembrandt,” she says. Residents who are non-verbal may find new ways to express themselves.
Hospitals need your help
“When we get a patient with Alzheimer’s admitted to the hospital, it’s important that we know what things help keep that person calm and engaged,” explains Margaret Foley, Director of Care Management, Emerson Hospital. “Because they do not have the ability to reason in the same way we do, we need to enter into their reality and be present with them where they are at the hospital. It is very important for these patients to have loved ones often visit and stay with the patient to help keep them calm.”
You need to adjust your behavior
“Rather than trying to correct a patient’s behavior, you need to adjust yours,” notes Marina Kogan, RN, Care Coordination Manager at Suburban Home Health Care. If a patient is looking for his mother who has passed away, says Kogan, don’t remind him that his mother passed away; instead, redirect him by asking him to tell you about his mom. “It is not about what is right or wrong, but making him feel comfortable at the moment,” says Kogan.
There is still room for laughter
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“I got a call from the Adult Day Center that my mother was in a time out because she got in a fight on the bus—she thought someone took her seat,” recalls Tyson-Wearren. Another time when she couldn’t find her mother in the house, she ran around the neighborhood with her husband frantically searching for her mother. It turned out mom was on the back deck enjoying a glass of juice. “We always found some laughter in everything,” says Tyson-Wearren.