Feb 25, 2011

Alzheimer's Caregiver Patience and Persistence

Remember, Patience and Persistence. It is up to you to help make it happen. Keep that in mind.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's Caregiver Patience and Persistence
Bob DeMarco
Over the years I noticed when I talk or mentioned something I did or accomplished with Dotty other caregivers will try it. Sometimes they email me and say, wow, its working.

More often than not they try it for a day or two and give up.

I understand and know how easy it is to give up. I know because I did it hundreds of times. This happened mostly because Dotty repeatedly said NO, and I folded up like an accordion.

When I started -- Dotty was mean to me. She also had a behavior that made my stomach hurt. She would get upset, take off, go into her bedroom, curl up in a ball and refuse to come out for hours. Sometime more than a day.

I would go off into another room and think about how bad I was feeling. I finally decided -- this has to change. So,I sat there and tried to figure out how I could introduce change. How could I change Dotty and these behaviors.

Goal number one, turn Dotty back into a sweetie. Took a couple of years. No drugs.

I accomplished that mission by creating a safe, secure, consistent environment. I also reassured Dotty several times each day that everything was going to be okay; and that, I was going to take good care of her. Later on, I started telling her we were in it together and that I was going to be there for her.

I introduced the words "We" and "Us" into the equation. We and Us instead of "I" and "You". Patience and Persistence.

Years later I started to work on the dreaded problems. Pee Pee and Poo Poo. Start, stop, fail. Start, stop, fail. I finally developed the solutions. Patience and Persistence.

Then another dreaded problem came into focus. The dreaded urinary tract infection. Start, stop, fail. Start, stop, fail. Finally, we beat it. Patience and Persistence.

It never dawned on me to give up. Here is one reason. I'm here. I'm the caregiver. And, its up to me. I never knew how long I would be doing this. I made a simple decision. I'm here, I am going to conquer these problems one by one. Patience and Persistence.

Now to Pete the Repeat Parrot.

If you think you are going to put the parrot in front of the patient and see some magic -- forgetaboutit.

You have to get involved. Get the ball rolling so to speak.

How do you get involved? Here is the scenario.

Parrot sitting on a table a foot or two from the patient. Directly in front of the patient.

You lean over and say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Not all a once. A word or two at a time.

An apple -- (parrot repeats)
A day -- (parrot repeats)
Keeps -- (parrot repeats)
the Doctor -- (parrot repeats)
Away -- (parrot repeats).

Let me ask you? You have somewhere else you need to be? No. Okay be patient. You are going to do this over and over, maybe ten times a day.

You can change what you are saying to the parrot. Singing is a good idea.

Hello Dotty -- (parrot repeats)
Hello Dotty -- (parrot repeats)
Its so nice -- (parrot repeats)
To have you -- (parrot repeats)
Back -- (parrot repeats)
Where -- (parrot repeats)
You belong -- (parrot repeats).

You're looking swell Dotty -- (parrot repeats)
I can Tell Dotty -- (parrot repeats).......

By now you should be getting the picture. You can use your own rhymes and songs.

Before you start working with the parrot, you need to assess where you are on day one.

How does the patient react to the parrot? Or, do they react? How do they look? Where are you and the patient in space and time?

Then each day you will reassess to determine if you are seeing any difference. Where are you on day 5, day 22?

How does the patient look? Any difference? Any smile? Any change in behavior? How is the interaction? Any discernible difference in how the patients sleeps? Less naps? Less boredom? Less staring into space?

One last thing. Put the parrot directly in front of the patient. Leave the parrot on at all times. Leave the room. Keep your eyes and ears open. If you hear anything don't interrupt.

Concentrate on listening to the voice of your patient. Sound any different? Any happiness? Stronger? Different in any way?

Okay. Get back to me in 22 days.

Remember, Patience and Persistence. It is up to you to help make it happen. Keep that in mind.

Repeat Talking Toy Parrot
Repeat Talking Toy Parrot

Related content.

Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room