We had a great interview with Lori La Bey for Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio a while back. This is the link to the interview if you would like to see it.
I was going to write about “Facing your fears”! It was nerve-wracking getting interviewed, but I will keep that for another article, and it all turned out just fine.
Something that came up during our talk was that sometimes little things really matter. Many of the people who subscribe to this email are caregivers in some capacity and you will recognize this. In the late stage of dementia and other illnesses, it can be very hard to know ‘what to do’ with the person. Regardless of our stage in life, it is important to treat each other with respect and give proper attention to one and other.
I spoke about when my mother was near the end of her life and my sister used to go into the room and just sit with her, knitting quietly. There was no need for conversation and a good feeling of calm and companionship. My mother was comforted by her being there and there was no need to complicate it by further engagement. It just worked.
Equally, just sitting quietly with somebody, maybe reading, chatting a little or humming a tune, just so that they are aware of your presence is often enough.
Giving someone undivided attention for a while during the day really matters. Examples of good activities for this is giving a hand, foot or head massage. It’s is so relaxing, both for the person giving the massage and the person receiving it.
I find that reading aloud to people is very nice. Short stories or somebody’s favorite poems, book or author. A nice quiet past-time and it can be a stress reliever for the caregiver too.
Holding hands, or giving and getting a nice big hug. This is such a simple way to engage with another person. Holding hands relieves stress, reduces fear, gives you a sense of security, can help balance somebody and apparently has other health benefits too. While lots of us love a hug or touch, there are of course those that don’t, and we have to respect this also.
Music is another way to give someone (or yourself) comfort. Playing favorite songs to engage or for pure relaxation, some light classical music. Google ‘Music for relaxation’ and you’ll get lots of ideas.
Activities don't always have to be very active. Whether you are looking for late stage dementia activities or just a bit of general relaxation, I hope you find some useful ideas here.
Don’t forget to slow down sometimes and take care of each other!
All the best, Maria
For a bit more inspiration, click here.