Mar 9, 2009

Caregivers Must Be Flexible With Elderly Dementia Relatives

Alzheimer's Reading Room
I caught this post over on A Caregiver's Journal.

If you are a family caregiver for an aging relative who has dementia, you must be flexible. Always expect the unexpected.

This morning I thought I was going to get Gladys up, give her a quick shower and then she would be off to the Adult Day Center. That’s what I thought. Among other things, she was soaking wet, the bed was wet and the floor under her bedside commode was wet. So much for a quick shower. I have to get it cleaned up quickly because today is physical therapy and the therapist comes at 3 PM. I have errands to run before we pick Gladys up from day care, so now, instead of a leisurely day of tasks and errands, I’m running at full throttle.

Some days Gladys follows her routine to perfection. Other days she can’t remember how to put on her socks. I never know how the day will go, or if she will cooperate. It’s not too frustrating because I know things can change at any moment. I just try to allot enough time to deal with the unexpected.

Side Note: If you have a bedside commode for your loved one and they sometimes wet the floor, you are probably concerned about urine stains and odor. There are two things you might want to try.

* Lowes and Home Depot carry a plastic floor covering made to stick to carpet that you can put on the floor under the commode. You should find it in the paint department. This works but you have to continuously replace the plastic.
* Purchase a large chair mat made for carpet. You can purchase these at most office supply stores. I purchased mine at Costco. It doesn’t have to be replaced, cleanup is much easier and it can be mopped

Remember, flexibility is key.

I am a fan of A Caregiver's Journal. The author, Valerie Johnson, is living in the front row. Somehow I find her writing and advice comforting. If nothing else, Valerie, reminds us we are not alone out here.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,255 articles with more than 272,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room