i would like to spend time with family and friends, but …
Needs to be mostly at my home, because “unfamiliar” places bring more symptoms and extra fatigue.
Needs to be only a few visitors at a time (3 or less for me with my current “normal”) because extra people moving around “scatter” my thoughts too much.
Covid: Since covid often hits those with dementia tremendously hard (over 25% of the covid deaths in UK were folks with dementia), probably need to set up agreed covid parameters for the visit.
Time-of-Day is an important aspect of visiting. What are YOUR best hours for visiting??
… mine are in the morning, because later in the day my fatigue can make communication much more difficult; understanding words becomes more of a problem, as well as finding my own words to speak.
Personally, i always take a nap to extend my abilities, so 11am to 1pm will usually find me pretty sleepy also.
For ME, If inside the house, then needs to be short visit — no more than an hour at a time, with my current “normal”, unless extenuating circumstances.
Outdoors visits can be longer, if i have the option to disappear into an “alone” space for extended periods of time.
For ME, i need to have no other sounds going on in the room if indoors — no music PLEASE if we want to talk. No simultaneous conversations.
My brain has lost the ability to prioritize sound for what is important and what is not important.
There is no such thing as “background” noise.
Would be good if visitors could remember that dementia is brain failure, and Brain Failure is a progressive condition. Each “normal” will decline with time to a “new normal”, and need changes on strategies that have worked in the past.
… This repeats over and over again as conditions change.
There are a few solid constants in life, but most aspects of life change with time; that is just how it is with life on earth. Please learn a bit about dementia symptoms and strategies, so that i am not the only one trying to make adaptations. Check out the Links at the bottom of this article.
. Recognizing Visitors:
My husband knows i mostly do not recognize the way he LOOKS (because i am looking for the younger man i married), but if he wears green pants and hat, then i am more likely to recognize him.
i do not recognize the way my sister Michelle LOOKS, but i recognize her voice. If i am looking more uncertain of things then it would be a good idea for her to find an excuse to start singing “They Call the Wind Maria” — we sang that a lot. ((smile))
Julie could remember aloud all our hours of washing and drying dishes, singing songs, and pretending we were “house fairies” to surprise Mom with a clean house.
in younger years, i mostly saw my Uncle with a cowboy hat on his head. So i am more likely to recognize him now if he is wearing a cowboy hat.
That sort of thing will make our visit much more comfortable than me wondering every few minutes … who are these people again ??
Would be very nice if visitors were aware of some of the communication challenges with dementia.
If others are aware of adaptation needs then it can help tremendously.
This is Part 1 of my “Communication” series >> https://truthfulkindness.com/2014/12/12/verbal-comprehension-strategies-1/ , with parts 2 and 3 listed at the base of article.
i especially crave touch in past few years, but with covid concerns that might not be an option … and i may need reminded of that factor.
Always good if visit can have planned activities.
Inside Activities: Eating is the usual indoor activity during visits, but if family we could review Family History topics. Would love to make some photo books, but just have not found the time to do it.
For longer visit, can eat, then watch an old movie together ((nothing too violent or with intensely suspenseful music for long periods of time)) … then eat again. Movie time, or music time, is not the time for communication, but since i need to eat every 2 hours then by the end of a movie it is time to eat again … and talk.
We could take photo during the visit, then clear the table and MAKE a page for photo binder.
Outside Activities: Outside visits are especially nice if we are doing a project together like planting, clearing branches, picking up pine cones for craft project, moving chickens, etc. Our fire pit is huge so lets have a hot-dog roast, and i even have some pork-free marshmallows !!!
Yes, it is true that i may not remember your visit, but the feelings from your visit can remain for longer time.
When it has been a long time between visits, i FEEL more distant from that person;
i cannot tell you WHY, but i can tell you that that person just does not feel as much a part of my life. ((That is another aspect that lack of TOUCH very strongly affects.))
It is also nice if there is some visible reminder of your visit — that item repeatedly reminds me that you were here. — Daughter might leave hand-decorated note on microwave or fridge. ((smile)).
non-PLwD: Teepa Snow has a YouTube series called “Making Visits Valuable” which i think is excellent. at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUgPm8RMa48&list=PL2E2lPBsUeBjA1Utglo8q6yANAijEf8cX .
INDEX of Sx Links at https://truthfulkindness.com/about/d-info/links-sx-strategies/ (might check “activities”, “communication”, and “relationship” sections) ;
non-PLwD: DailyCaring at https://dailycaring.com/visiting-someone-with-alzheimers-dos-and-donts-for-visitors/ ;
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