Jul 12, 2016

10 Commandments of Alzheimer's Caregiving

The 10 Commandments of Alzheimer's Caregiving

Words of wisdom from our expert and memory care and caregiver expert Dr. Rita Jablonski-Jaudon.

1. I am still me... I may forget parts of my life but I will never forget that I am an adult deserving dignity. Neither should you. My memories may go but my personality stays.

2. Treat me like an adult. My behavior may be child-like, but NEVER treat me like child. No baby talk!

3. Come into my world, I can't function in yours. This means that I can't remember what happened 5 minutes ago but I can remember something from 50 years ago. Please don't argue with me, I don't understand why you are angry and I feel terrible for hours afterwards.

4. Actions are better than words. No big explanations, a gentle touch or hug and a warm smile goes a long way.

5. Give me a daily, consistent schedule. Consistent schedules tap the memories that I have and strengthen the parts of the brain that are still working. I feel better with schedules, even if I cannot remember them.

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6. Give me nature. I need fresh air and sunshine. Please make sure i get out every day, even if it is on a porch or patio, or near a big bay window, where I

7. Give me pleasurable activities. I may forget that you took me out to lunch, or we went fishing, but the pleasurable feelings and emotions that came from that experience will last for hours.

8. Give me social interaction on my terms. I can't handle large gatherings but I can visit with a couple of people, especially if they are following Commandment #3. Again, I may forget that the grand kids came to visit, but the pleasurable feelings and emotions from that visit will persist after the visit.

9. Keep me safe. That means giving me freedom to move about my home as much as possible without falling or getting hurt. You may need to be creative, like hang pictures of a bookshelf over a door to keep me from leaving.

10. Keep me healthy. Help me to eat good foods to stay as healthy as possible, and help me to avoid infections.

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Rita Jablonski-Jaudon, PhD, CRNP, FAAN is an internationally recognized researcher and expert on non-drug ways to handle dementia-related behaviors. She is an Associate Professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a nurse practitioner in The Memory Disorders Clinic at the Kirklin Clinic, UABMC, Birmingham, Alabama. She can be reached at rjablonski@uabmc.edu

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