One year ago this June, the inaugural issue of our ezine introduced the first in a series of tools designed to support three overlapping roles: those of caregiver, advocate, and family member. The "Observation Sheet" is a note keeping tool through which a caregiver can review their loved one's patterns of behavior. You can find it in the June Issue, 2013; "Can't Decide How to Help Your Loved One With Alzheimer's? Keep A Notebook". In it, we discussed how understanding circumstances and behavior patterns (recorded on the Observation Sheet) reveal that which our loved ones want to tell us when they can't recall their words.
Two important features of the dynamic between our loved ones and us, the caregivers, emerged:
First, to be effective, we are the ones who must adapt and change because our loved ones can no longer do so and,
Second, as caregivers we have a dual responsibility--that of caring for another, and of maintaining our own health and well being. The later becomes especially challenging as the needs of our loved ones increase.
Establish a Positive Routine for Taking Medications
Adapted from Bob DeMarco
Establishing a routine won't happen overnight; give it time. The idea is to help your loved one establish a connection between taking meds and a pleasant event. You'll need to continue repeating this routine until your loved one connects taking their medications with a positive event. Here's how to create this association:
Use a pleasant tone of voice and overall affect. Look at your loved one's face; how are they feeling at this very moment?
The less you say, the better.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS--WEEKLY EVENT:
COMING IN JULY:
Dr. Raia: Habilitation Therapy
A publication in ebook format
by Catherine Gentile
Coming in 2014!
HELP SPREAD THE WORD:
Celebrating Our First Anniversary!
"Your beautiful prose reaches out like a kind hand that offers understanding and experience. You are making life easier for those who are now facing the heart wrenching illness called Alzheimer's." JA, Florida
"Your ezine was particularly close to the heart and helpful! Thank you for the insight the ezine shed on denial and confusion... Ultimately being human comes with a plethora of raw emotions!" LS, Connecticut
"So many people are looking for ideas that make sense and things they can DO to help a loved one. Without the information in Together With Alzheimer's, not only is the loved one lost, but so is the caregiver." JE, Maine
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT
TOGETHER WITH ALZHEIMER'S EZINE:
Being a caregiver is a tough job, one we can do, especially when we have the right support. As Christopher Robin tells Pooh: "Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." So are we.
There's no doubt that medication is an important treatment for persons with Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. When administered properly, medication will help your loved one feel less anxious, less depressed, and more even-tempered. When misused, medications can cause difficulties, including unusual behaviors.
Communication is key: Before prescribing a new medication for your loved one, staff should review their choice of medication, the dosage they are recommending, and the risks and benefits (i.e., the benefit that this medication is likely to have, or the problems it may cause) with the caregiver and family. If you or a member of your family have questions about the medication or disagree with the recommendation, discuss those questions and concerns with whomever is prescribing them. Be sure to tell the doctor or nurse if a) your loved one has used the medication before, b) the circumstances under which the medication was prescribed, and c) your loved one's reactions to the medication. Don't forget: if you disagree with the medication being prescribed, the family member with the Healthcare Power of Attorney has the right to refuse to have that medication given to your loved one. Ask the doctor or nurse to recommend another, more suitable medication.
Learn all you can: Do your homework. Learn about the medications being prescribed, including the risks and benefits. Google the name of the medication. Print out the information and keep it in your notebook, in a section designated "Medications." That way, you can refer to it whenever you discuss medications with the staff. Hopefully, you've already started keeping a notebook with information about your loved one and the treatments he/she is receiving; if not, this is the perfect time to start one (refer to June, 2013 Issue for more detailed information).
Medication Administration At Home: