Daughter’s White Board Notes For Elderly Mother With Dementia Starts Crucial Conversations
Learning that a loved one is suffering from dementia can be a difficult time for the entire family. While the individual himself or herself is certainly struggling, they aren't alone in the process. This disease impacts everyone including the patients, family members, friends, and even caregivers.
It's a challenging condition. Anyone who knows a relative or friend with Alzheimer's knows how communication has to change when dementia sets in. There was a recent post shared on Reddit that has sparked a meaningful conversation among friends, family members, and caregivers of Alzheimer's patients.
On the forum, an anonymous user shared a photo of a whiteboard with an accompanying caption that explained the situation. The daughter of a person with dementia left a note on this board to help reduce "anxious phone calls" that had become routine.
The message seemed to address some common concerns that the patient had. The whiteboard reassured the patient that she didn't owe anyone money, she hadn't upset anyone and encouraged her to drink more water to help her brain function properly.
The patient's daughter also encouraged her mother that she was okay and that no one was moving. These messages were left in the patient's view so she wouldn't miss it. Many different Reddit users chimed in to give their own advice, experience, and reaction to the message. Many people praised the idea and offered their best wishes.iStock.com/Wavebreakmedia
One caregiver recalled a resident who would always ask for a bill once the meal was finished. The caregiver played along with the gentleman, saying he would pay this time and the patient could cover the next meal. Afterward, the elderly patient would also offer to help clean up the dishes and clear the dining room.iStock.com/Ulza
Another commenter remembered his/her grandfather's problems with entering a care home. When he was moved in with other patients, he tried to smother one of them due to a mix of dementia and his past experience with the British Royal Marines. He had fought the Japanese in World War II and had experienced a flashback.
After the user's grandfather was transferred to the secure unit of the care home, he ended up escaping by getting past two security guards leaving them slightly injured. He had to scale a concrete wall reaching 10-feet before surrendering to police after seeing the British uniforms. The reason for his escape attempt? He had believed he had been captured by Japanese forces.iStock.com/Daisy-Daisy
Many other users offered some suggestions for what could be added to the list. One commenter stressed the importance of water. Many Alzheimer's patients will forget to stay hydrated. This can exacerbate the symptoms of dementia as the brain requires sufficient water to function.
Another Reddit user suggested curating a list of relatives and friends who had passed away. There was another user who suggested explaining the situation and all of the people in the room to help the patient feel less confused and scared.
One commenter who regularly works with patients who suffer from dementia offered some practical caregiving tips that friends and family members can use.
They suggested refocusing the patient's attention to menial tasks such as coloring, drawing, playing music, folding laundry, or caring for dolls. They also recommended taking the patient for a walk near the area to help keep their mind away from their worries. Basically, anything to take their attention away from whatever is confusing or upsetting them.iStock.com/AlexRaths
The Alzheimer's Association seeks to help patients, friends, and loved ones who are impacted by this difficult disease. The organization has stressed the importance of understanding the varying phases of the condition and what can be expected in each stage. They also mention the importance of working with licensed and capable health care providers.iStock.com/Squaredpixels
This sweet and thoughtful gesture is a sign that loved ones will do anything possible to help alleviate some of the stress, pain, and anxiety that patient's with dementia are facing. If you found this story inspiring, show it to a family member or friend who knows someone with dementia.
Our content is created to the best of our knowledge, yet it is of general nature and cannot in any way substitute an individual consultation by your doctor. Your health is important to us!