Monday, July 9, 2012

It's Their Reality, Not Yours

Caregiving for someone with dementia can be as much of a challenge mentally as it can be physically. They'll be communicating with you in a totally normal way and then something comes up and they're out there..."Yep, I remember when you were running through the dunes at the beach during vacation a few years ago and...wow!...look, it's George Washington riding a Harley Davidson!" It's a challenge to say the least. Mental health professionals tell me it's a two-step process. You use a simple agreement and then redirect. For instance, after the George Washington comment you simply say, "Oh yeah, and that summer we went to the beach I loved going to the seafood restaurants every night." It doesn't work every time, but more often than not it takes the person to a more focused thought. A friend once told me, "You don't use logic to reason your way out of a situation you didn't reason your way into." I'm thinking that it's hard to use logic with someone who isn't using logic themselves. Trying to use logic with someone suffering from dementia will make you crazy because their answers often don't meet your criteria for logic. Relax, and take a mental step back; it can save your sanity.

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