Things that help in some way

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Resources' started by Brucie, May 22, 2004.


Which ones work for you?

  1. Television programmes

    39 vote(s)
  2. Music

    76 vote(s)
  3. Special foods

    38 vote(s)
  4. Special drinks

    20 vote(s)
  5. Conversation

    104 vote(s)
  6. Physical contact

    72 vote(s)
  7. Group activities

    22 vote(s)
  8. Books/magazines

    23 vote(s)
  9. Gardening

    32 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    It is clear from the forum that quite a number of us are trying different ways to maintain communication with relatives or friends who have some form of dementia.

    I thought it might be helpful to us all to see what seems to work best with most people.

    Here's another poll.

    If there is something that works for you, but that isn't listed, then please reply and let us know what YOU find helpful.
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    This is proving interesting, even with a small sample of responses.

    In my experience, care homes use a fair amount of:

    Group activities

    According to the responses to the poll so far, none of these is very effective, from the point of view of a relative.

    My personal view is that these all 'tick the boxes' for non-family carers. The things that really work, Conversation and physical contact, are really best adopted by family anyway.

    ...just my thoughts.
    Do add your details to the poll, if you haven't already!
  3. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    another one that I should have added last time ,gardening.
    My wife will fiddle about in the garden ,(if I am there)for ages and become really absorbed.
    The polls are very interesting
    Best Wishes
  4. Helen_old

    Helen_old Registered User

    Dec 29, 2003
    Hi Bruce,

    Thanks for the poll & for all you do for this forum.

    I've voted, but like Norman ,I find my mum enjoys pottering in the garden. The gentle exercise & fresh air seems to calm her. Mum has lots of flowers in her garden & this is what she enjoys. Conversation is easy in the garden, such as that is a pretty colour , this could do with a prune , they smell lovely or if words fail to just sit & enjoy. As mum has forgotten everything that is planted, she is continuously surprised & pleased by what she considers new plants when they flower & is always eager to show them to visitors. It is not only in the garden that she enjoys them, as she also enjoys picking some to display indoors & then choosing a vase & helping to arrange them etc. This is something she can still do herself & gives her satisfaction. Anyone who helps in the garden is appreciated & for visitors who find conversation more dificult but who want to help, this is a good way of doing so. I also feel if loved ones find showing affection difficult then it helps to maintain the bond by quietly sharing activities like planting bulbs, watering or even weeding ! Also gentle physical contact is easier such as an arm on the shoulder when you admire your work or holding a hand to help them up or steady them on steps etc. I don't have trouble showing affection but i know this can be difficult for others . Mum is not so steady on her feet these days but is still able to sit in a chair & tend to a raised flower bed.

    I would recommend this & if you don't have a garden there are always pots or flower boxs. However you need to be careful about sun burn & dehydration & looking at the sun. I find late afternoon or working in the shade better.

    Take care all

  5. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    My wife seems to enjoy the garden in many ways that Helen's mother does.
    Also my wife seems to be be more apprecative of nature in general,colours of trees,even when they are only shades of green.
    She still loving arranging flowers in her vases and has become so conscious of all living nature.
    One thing that does concern me is the unsteadyness when walking,she seems to need to hold on to feel safe and is afraid of falling.
    Can anyone explain the change in gait and walking in general?
    Best Wishes
  6. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    near London
    Hi Norman

    One of the things that seems to happen at some stage is a major loss of spatial awareness. One way this seems to become apparent is in the diagram exercise in the memory tests.

    The closest I have been able to rationalise the walking problems is in two ways:

    1) I wear spectacles and if I leave them off and go up or down my stairs, I pay much more attention than normal to where I put my feet, and I also tend to hold on to the bannister, where normally I would not.

    In this situation, my eyes are feeding my brain with poor information to enable it to decide where to plant my feet, or to identify where things are.

    2) On the odd occasion where I have had a tad too much alcohol and I want to cross the road, I will take very great care not to fall down - or up - the kerb. I may put my foot forward several times to judge where the darned kerb actually is! If I'm with someone, I may hold on to them to assure my balance.

    In this situation, my brain is having problems interpreting information coming in, and in sending actions out to my limbs.

    Throughout life, we tend to take for granted the amazing way that our limbs, brain and senses co-ordinate to enable us to do almost anything. The brain is key to everything we do and if it finds that it can't quite understand the world it needs to navigate, then to assure the safety of the person concerned, it will make the body do what it feels is safest. This means hesitant walks.

    Often this may look amusing to the bystander. Actually, it is rather remarkable how a body can adjust to the most extreme of conditions, and if it takes a strange gait to do that, we should applaud it! Once the ability to walk has gone, we long even for the strange walk that once concerned us.

    Last point. Falling is not nice even we have full control of our faculties. Imagine what it is like [or what the fear of it is like] if you couldn't be sure that you could stop yourself falling, or if you couldn't be sure your arms would be in the appropriate place to cushion your fall. Or if you couldn't judge just how far you would be falling.

    These are only my interpretations, mind!
  7. Bugsy

    Bugsy Registered User

    Jun 1, 2004
    Rochester, Kent
    Dad is very happy when helping in the garden but like so many of you have added they are unable to do activities on their own. I am very lucky to have been able to use the services of a local charity, Crossroads, who send Dad his own Charlie Dimmock, on a Monday afternoon. He did wonder how they were going to get the digging machinery down the side of the garden at first when I mentioned Charlie Dimmock. I think he now realises it was just my sense of humour as his gardener wasn't the real Charlie but a lovely lady called Vi!.

    Dad can also manage to do the ironing and will do that for at least an hour or so quite happily.

    I work full time and although Mum is at home, she is disabled so it is difficult to keep him motivated on the days that he is 'at home'.

    Regards to all
  8. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    you are so right with your explanation it all makes sense to me.
    My wife is fine if she can hold my arm, not my hand but my arm.
    Also in the supermarket she is fine pushing the trolley,it gives her confidence.
    She also failed the drawing test at our last assessment it all adds up
  9. Geraldine

    Geraldine Registered User

    Oct 17, 2003
    I must be lucky in my Mum's home. The TV is not always on and the carers often sit and hold residents hands and pass the time of day. For Mum it is holding hands and food that work. I find conversation extemely difficult, it is dreadfully hard to hear what Mum is saying and if I give a reply that is obviously not expected it can upset her. Consequently I do much erring, ummming, nodding followed by a few maybies and probablies!

  10. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Hi, my Mum loved "doing the flowers", give her an unbreackable vase with oasis in, a selection of flowers and green, (she always had to have loads of green or would hare off to get more!) and she would produce a passable arrangement. She also loved to smell the flowers, right up to the day she died this brought a smile.
    Another thing was music from her youth, I have loads of tapes and CD's of the war years, 50's etc. She would sing along to these and favourite carols etc.
    She. XX
  11. Sheila

    Sheila Registered User

    Oct 23, 2003
    West Sussex
    Oh, I forgot, photos, write who and what they are about and anyone can look thruogh and discuss them with your loved one.
    She. XX
  12. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Sheila,

    Mum and I had a lovely few moments this morning arranging some wild flowers in vases. Although she can't really smell them, she did enjoy arranging them very much.

  13. chrissieL

    chrissieL Registered User

    Jun 22, 2005
    My husband loves it if we take the dog out for a walk in the lanes, I take him in the wheelchair and wrap him in a blanket if it's cool, I think he finds it a welcome distraction and of course he gets my full attention.
  14. TED

    TED Registered User

    Sep 14, 2004
    #14 TED, Jun 27, 2005
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2005

    Only just joined into this thread and agree with you all about how the garden and flowers make for a better environment for Mum. Apart from the fact she is banished there to have a cigarette (which I say in a nice way, it's a running joke with us including mum, we light her up in the kitchen and then 'banish' her outside before she burns the place down or fills it with smoke ... in fact it's become a bit of a game)

    Mum and Dad have always spent a lot of time on the gardens (front and back) and even if we have little in flower, such as in winter, Mum will still comment on the Roses and other flowers and speaks with great clarity about this.

    now my personal view is that I think, and I'm only guessing, that because thier generation were very proud of their garden and took much more time and effort over it than say I do, it is not surprising that they have much better memories and clarity of thought about this subject, from times past right up to now. I think Mum is refering in her mind to the huge rose trees we shared with next door - they've gone now but still there if you know what I mean. And also goes on about her Dads flowers and my Nans garden in Chiswick which I would date as about 25-30 years ago now!!

    Plus while mum still has some sense of sight and smell the fact that our gardens are awash with colour is much more pleasent than sitting indoors watching / listening to TV or indeed listening to me rabbit on !!

    Anyway enough from me, glad you did this its been interesting to read.
    TED x

    - almost forgot, Special Drinks -- Mum simply loves my Hot Chocolate of an evening, I tell her its a special recipie, so no one tell her its from Cadburys ok !!
  15. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Hi Ted,

    My parents still love wonderful garden displays. Unfortunately Mum has lost her sense of smell completely but still can appreciate the glorious colours. Dad can still smell the roses along the way....

  16. angela.robinson

    angela.robinson Registered User

    Dec 27, 2004
    Hi ,due To His Spatial Awareness ,my Jim Lost Intrest In The Garden ,i Use To Point Things Out To Him But He Just Could Not Focus ,but He Could Suddenly Notice Something Himself ,and Ask What Flower It Was ,i Use To Walk Him Round And Put The Flower In His Hand ,he Would Then Try To Smell It ,and Seem Quite Pleased With That ,it Was The Same With Photos ,no Use Trying To Show Him An Album ,but He Could Sometimes Notice Photos On The Wall ,now I Sit In The Garden Alone And Wish He Was Here To Try To Communicate With .angela
  17. Norman

    Norman Registered User

    Oct 9, 2003
    Birmingham Hades
    My Peg has awful problems focusing on flowers ,photographs in fact anything now.
    If it was not for the fact that I took her to the optician,and he confirmed it was the AD causing the focusing problem,I would have thought that she was losing her sight!
  18. Nutty Nan

    Nutty Nan Registered User

    Nov 2, 2003
    Isn't it difficult to imagine how it must feel when everything around you blurs. My husband had an eye test not so long ago (an experience in itself, I could have hugged the lovely optician for her unbelievable patience and understanding!), and I know from 'good days' that his eyesight is ok. However, he often quite simply cannot 'see' things, or fathom out what to do with everyday objects. It takes such a lot of patience to 'make it happen' without rushing, without making him feel he is useless - I can only do it by reminding myself how awful this must be for him. It may also have something to do with the inability to decipher words and follow instructions, I can see that he often hasn't a clue what I mean by 'chair' or 'door' etc. etc. arrrgh ....
  19. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Lionel's loss of spacial awareness has always been one of our biggest problems. I have now borrowed a wheelchair from the Red Cross to get him down to the sea. Some days are better than others.
    He can no longer do any gardening, and does not always notice the birds, (he always had an aviary in his garden), it seems so sad.

    However as we are sitting in the garden late this afternoon he started quoting something from 'Macbeth' to me. Reason being I was stirring the jug of Pimms at the time. Strange what goes through his mind. Regards, Connie
  20. rummy

    rummy Registered User

    Jul 15, 2005
    This thread has given me an idea that I should take my Mom downtown to the Myriad indoor gardens. I think she will love it if I can get her to go. Lately I have to pry her out of the house. Thanks for sharing your gardening experiences, I hope I can incorporate that into her day.

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