Posted on March 3, 2010 - by Nurse Virginia
Know the elders routine.
Do you drink your coffee first thing in the morning or with breakfast? Do you get dressed before breakfast or after? There is so much comfort in having your own routine, doing things the same way at the same time. Everyone has an established routine. You like to do things in a certain order, so does your elder. Confused elders can become upset when they are unsure of what is happening next. The caregiver may be unaware of why the elder is getting upset. Knowing what the elder’s routine is and keeping to it can reduce agitation and provide the cues the elder needs to be successful in their day.
When assisting a confused elder – this is not the time to do it your way
If you are a family member, spend some time remembering the little things that meant so much to your loved one. Special music that you remember she always loved to hear. How she liked the environment – was she always cold, or complained about being hot? Maybe you are always warm, but she always said she was cold. These are the many things the confused elder may no longer be able to verbally communicate.
The confused elder is in the moment. When you are assisting the elder getting dressed you can’t be too prepared. Think about how you get dressed. Do you put a shirt on before pants or the other way around?
Have all of the clothes laid out before you start. If you have to stop what you are doing to look for something, the person you care for is in the moment – once you walk away the moment might be over for that elder.
Don’t be in a rush. Confused elders can tell when you are impatient. Elders with Alzheimer’s disease who no longer speak can tell by tone of voice or body language that someone is impatient with them.
If it takes two hours for the elder to dress themselves, it is two hours well spent, because:
The elder will feel successful if they dress themselves
The elder will maintain the ability to dress themselves
This is an important activity of the day and everyone needs something to do
See also blogs:
When the Elder with Alzheimer’s Disease Stops Moving, February 23, 2010
Other blogs on Dressing
Virginia Garberding, R.N.
Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois
Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance
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