As I have been reading our posts, I have found that many people have really good ideas to share but they are posted all over the place. SO, I have decided to post this new forum where we can share these ideas.
Remember, my mom is 95, uses a wheelchair but can transfer herself and has dementia which is under control with medication, but in the evenings she gets confused sometimes. She is also hard of hearing. I am 66.
Here are a few things which have made things smoother for us in our home:
1. I can leave my mom to go to the store, etc, BUT, I always unplug the microwave, take the knobs off the stove, and lock the deadbolt on the door just encase she should try to go outside wheelchair and all. I would not leave if I have not first assessed her overall demeanor.
2. I always leave a note on a 5x8 card right on the kitchen table so she knows where I am.
SOMETIMES, I even leave a note like "I went to the store" but I am actually somewhere else in the house doing something. This way she isn't constantly calling for me. Often when I am out, I come home and find her taking a nap.
3. Every weekend, I bake a meatloaf and a ham loaf, slice them and freeze slices for the week. We have our main meal at noon, because sometimes I am just too tired by supper time to prepare a meal. If I make rice, I always make enough for another meal, same with potatoes or steamed or canned vegetables. Desserts are usually pears or ice cream. Mother doesn't have her lower teeth so needs to eat soft foods.
4. I used to watch a lot of TV in the evening, but now I find that nothing is of more value on TV than the sleep I need. So I go to bed about 10 and get up refreshed about 6. Now I have time for me to get dressed and set the table for mother's breakfast and read the paper. Mother takes iron three times a day. For breakfast she get OJ, water, three prunes, and coffee, plus whatever main dish is on the menu for the week.
5. Mother and I have a schedule worked out.
After breakfast she brushes her teeth and usually within a half hour she has to go to the bathroom. After she is finished, I bathe her. She can't get into the tub, so I installed two grab bars on either side of the door frame and she stands and holds on to them. It takes about ten minutes total. Then she dresses for the day. Usually by 9am we are finished with "morning chores"
6. Mother likes to listen to music and religious tapes. She usually listens to one side of a tape after dressing.
7. Sense of Humor: This really works with me. I like to make mother laugh. I call her special names like "precious pumpkin sweetheart". Sometimes I walk like a duck. I just do funny things that get a response out of her. When I go by her, I always put a loving hand on her shoulder and often bend down to give her a kiss.
8. Dealing with anger. If I get upset with her during the day, it is usually that I am upset, not at her, but the situation which she has no control over. Every time, I sit down and pull her over and apologise and hug her....we talk about it and I usually end up crying. This is not a daily thing at all.
9. Every night before she gets into bed, I sit on her bed and we talk about something. I'll bring up a topic, or she will suggest a topic.
10. When I am really stressed, I find a hot soaking in the tub with bath salts really is a help. I put a sign on the door do not disturb and lock it.
11. My doctor has prescribed Buspar a non-addictive sedative which I take twice a day. It really keeps me on an even keel. I also have Alprazolam which is addictive but I only need it about once or twice a month. if that. My doctor knows I do not abuse medicines.
Final comment: Although Mother is not the same person I remember for most of my 66 years, I shall never forget those years, the love, sacrifice and joy and laughter she brought to our home. It is my honor and privilege to care for her now.