DEMENTIA ACTIVITIES

For issues specific to caring for someone with dementia.
I am seeing lots of information with regard to Dementia.....

where people suffering from this awful disease are encouraged to 'live' through the past. Old cinema films, old family photos, lots of very imaginative schemes to make them involved in the past where they were young and comfortable in their heads.

My partner very rarely talked about the past, even before the dementia, he rarely told little tales of his youth, as we all tend to - he is a very private man. I feel that the sort of therapies going on around dementia are very worthy, but just are 'not for him' at all.

He is secluded in his own world and will sit for hours without talking, as he says he has 'nothing to say'. He has joined the local bowls club, and goes playing snooker with his enabler. He and I play scrabble together - the only one on one interaction we have really. He will do his suduko puzzles for hours, and watch day time TV, but if I sit with him there is no conversation.

He will not go to the local memory cafe or day centre for people with dementia, as he 'is not like them' -

So, what is my question?



Am I doing all I can to keep his mind active for as long as it can be?

I do not know.....
Mary
One size doesn't fit all with dementia sufferer's. I can definitely see that with the residents at my hubby's nursing home. I sometimes feel I'm not doing enough, but the staff assure me they can see I do my utmost.
You are too, from what you have stated. Dementia is a different world to ours.
Try not to fret, although I understand completely that it's not easy.
Pet66 wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:34 pm
Mary
One size doesn't fit all with dementia sufferer's. I can definitely see that with the residents at my hubby's nursing home. I sometimes feel I'm not doing enough, but the staff assure me they can see I do my utmost.
You are too, from what you have stated. Dementia is a different world to ours.
Try not to fret, although I understand completely that it's not easy.
Thank you Pet - I suppose the thing is that as long as he seems happy enough I should not worry too much??
thanks also for your words on my last post re finances.... my goodness, what a world we all live in. I hear conversations from some people on the bus or in a cafe worrying about things like what colour their newest car should be, or their holidays in some exotic place and I want to go and give them a slap! it's not their fault, I know but sometimes the balance of things seems a bit skewed...... have a good weekend. ;)
Hi Mary
I think good old common sense should apply. You know best what either makes him content, or doesn't distress him. I don't see any sense in introducing some hare brained scheme that may upset the equilibrium.

imho, theres far too little common sense applied to caring for dementia or elderly. I get frustrated when I see people being worried about nutrition, for example, in those who do not have long. As long as there sufficient fibre and fluid for bodily functions why as the point of feeding in vitamins and iron for " strong healthy body " when their body is already past that point? Whats the point in feeding hated cabbage and oats because "it's good for them" and causing upset when ice cream and cake goes down easy and happily. Just small portions so weight remains liveable and all's well in my opinion.
Sorry, rant over
MrsAverage wrote:
Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:35 pm
Hi Mary
I think good old common sense should apply. You know best what either makes him content, or doesn't distress him. I don't see any sense in introducing some hare brained scheme that may upset the equilibrium.

imho, theres far too little common sense applied to caring for dementia or elderly. I get frustrated when I see people being worried about nutrition, for example, in those who do not have long. As long as there sufficient fibre and fluid for bodily functions why as the point of feeding in vitamins and iron for " strong healthy body " when their body is already past that point? Whats the point in feeding hated cabbage and oats because "it's good for them" and causing upset when ice cream and cake goes down easy and happily. Just small portions so weight remains liveable and all's well in my opinion.
Sorry, rant over
Thank you Mrs A - that makes total sense to me - your thoughts are appreciated.....
Mrs A, like you, I've always found it a bit pointless to go on about thigns like 'healthy diets' for the very elderly. At my MIL's care home it's clear they want the residents to eat a 'balanced meal' etc, but really, most of them simply want 'sweet carbs'! I get told she won't eat her main course, but loves her puddings. Yes, well, that's obvious, isn't it! I suppose the care homes are forced to offer 'healthy meals' by the CQC lot, but it's such a waste.

That said, I also think, perhaps, that those who are keen on the elderly having a balanced diet are actually doing so because they know that there is 'nothing that can help' but they feel that diet is the one thing they CAN do. ie, they know they are powerless to make the person younger, or less affected by dementia, so they focus on a 'displacement' activity, such as healthy eating.

ie, it's a psychological coping mechanism.

Mary - to be honest, (if sadly so), I'm not sure much can be done to 'hold back' the grim tide of dementia. Looking at it purely from a 'humanistic' view, maybe, one might also question whether it is actually a kindness even to want to do so?? Isn't it 'kinder' in the long term to NOT want them to remain in this dreadful 'twilight world' any longer than they have to? So sorry if that sounds shocking, and maybe neither you, nor he, is ready for that yet, which is very, very understandable. Again, maybe as above on the diet issue, we desperately try and 'stimulate' them as if we could counter the progress of the dementia - but does it have any effect other than to add stress to ourselves? I honestly don't know. All we can really want for them is a kind of 'peace of mind' such as it is, so that they are not disquieted or anxious in themselves. If you did take him to a day centre, maybe it would distress him to see the others, and make him scared of what is coming for him next????? Maybe being on his own is easier, as then he has no one else to compare himself with? That said, it takes a toll on you, of course....
Yes, Jenny, you are right, I know, that is why it is so valuable for me to be able to test my thoughts on here and gain some sort of insight into what is happening to me and the poor ould fella............... I have another post I need to write on a different subject - there is always something isn't there?
Mary, to what extend do you think his current behaviour (ie, with dementia) is an 'extension' of his 'normal self' (pre-dementia)? Was he always very solitary and withdrawn? I'm wondering whether perhaps there were shades of something like Asberger's if so? I've always suspected my late husband was an undiagnosed Aspie (is it OK to say that? Hope so - to me it sounds friendly and nice, but apols if it sounds 'demeaning' and will withdraw it!) (I can remember similarly being told off on a US forum for calling the epileptic seizures my husband's brain cancer caused, 'fits'....which is demeaning in the USA but not, I believe, in the UK?)....

Anyway, like your pour ould fella mine was very 'solitary' - I used to joke that if he were ever marooned on a desert island he'd put up big notices saying 'Private Island - GO AWAY'!!!!! :)

I wonder if anyone has ever done studies on how dementia affects the personality - as in, do those with differeing personalities (eg, introvert/extrovert etc) present with dementia in different ways? That said, I believe a causative factor (or possibly only correlation of course) with dementia at all is 'social isolation' - I sometimes wonder if that's what contributed to my MIL's decline, as she was a very independent and capable person, but not very sociable (probably where my husband got his from!)

I guess all this is by way of saying, maybe the approach to take with your ould fella now is to build on what he always used to be like - surely it's good, by the way, that he can do sudoko still?

Be warned, though, that he may 'appear' to be doing things long after he is actually 'isn't' any more. My MIL used to flick through magazines, the way she always had, but it became clear as the dementia worsened she was just 'turning the pages' mechanically, not actually looking ath te pictures, let alone reading anything. Similarly, my friend's father used to carry a book around with him, and put it on the coffee table, with a book mark in it, and pick it up and open it from time to time ....but the book mark never moved further into the book....he had just lost the ability to process reading mentally (a sophisticated brain skill after all!), but 'remembered' that 'having a book to read' was something he'd always had.

It's so desperately sad, seeing the 'ghosts' of the person they used to be, flickering dimly in their damaged minds....so, so despeartaely sad.