The staff at my parents home were truly caring and beautiful people. They helped me with understanding various insights that made the visits easier and empowered me to feel like I was caring well for my parents. Here I share a few.
Please add anything you have learned in the comments below in order to benefit others in this blogs community.
- Sundowning – this is a syndrome that often affects people suffering from dementia, where they get agitated and distressed as the day progresses into evening. For this reason, I tried to visit earlier in the day as they were generally easier visits.
- Sugar Cravings – a nurse explained to me that because everything takes so much energy for them, dementia patients will often crave sugar. This explains why my parents who both dedicated their lives to naturopathy and rarely had any sugar suddenly only wanted to eat ice-cream and dessert 🙂 Pictured is my dear mum who never allowed me ice-cream growing up, enjoying an ice-cream cone 🙂
- UTI’s – people with dementia have a high susceptibility to Urinary Tract Infections. One time my Dad was particularly distressed and agitated and seemed unwell and I suggested they test him for UTI and it turned out that was what caused the increased agitation. The staff are wonderful but usually understaffed and overworked so it helps to know some of this to be able to assist in the care of your loved one.
- Blue plate – the wonderful lifestyle coordinator at my parents home asked the kitchen staff to serve my parents food on a blue plate when they stopped wanting to eat. She explained to me that sometimes the dementia affects them visually and they can’t see food on a white plate. When the food was contrasted on a blue plate, my parents were more interested in eating – although always still keen to get to dessert 🙂
- Music – I learned that the musical part of the brain is the last part of the brain to be lost. This is why music therapy is so good and also why it is a good idea to buy your loved one an iPod with their favourite music downloaded in it, especially for those who love music. My Dad could not remember how to work the iPod but I asked the staff to keep it charged and help him with it and they placed that on the care plan notes.
- Time confusion – dementia causes time to be mixed up in their minds. This was comforting for me to know to alleviate guilt when my mum would say she hadn’t seen me for awhile or when I couldn’t get there as often sometimes. She could have said that even if I’d just been there – to her it felt like that because of the time confusion.
- Place confusion and need for security – dementia patients feel anxious if outside their normal surroundings. I would take my parents out to enjoy the water but they were always keen to get back to familiarity. So again, this helped to alleviate guilt of not taking them out of the home.