Keeping your loved one engaged can be challenging. Across the country, about 40 million Americans are doing an overwhelming, stressful and exhausting unpaid job every day. They cook meals, drive to appointments, manage medication, perform complex medical tasks and more. They help parents, spouses and other loved ones live independently at home — where they want to be. They are family caregivers.
This is my life now, along with my brother caring for mom at home with dementia. After losing my father in early 2016, mom sunk into a deep depression on top of the dementia she seemed to be slipping away. We noticed she had no focus on any of the things she always liked to do. As time went on a number of challenges began to surface. Here are a few of them and ways we handled them,
In an effort to deal with the challenge of engaging mom in some activity rather than just melting away. I started playing card games, board games and watching TV game shows that kept her mind active and thinking. She seems to cheer up a bit and was soon talking to the TV answering the game show questions. She especially liked, Family Feud, The Price is Right, Jeopardy and several others. This seemed to really keep her engaged and the mind churning.
The next issue that we faced was a constant fight to get her to eat and drink. She would eat small amount a good balanced dinner, but would not eat anything throughout the day. I started baking oatmeal cookies, bran and banana muffins and she seemed to really like those. So finally with a piece of fruit, we got her eating small amounts throughout the day.
Taking her medications was the next battle. I would place her seven day pill box on the table each morning with some water and her coffee, and she would push the pill box away. At one point, she hid the pill box and then, of course when we questioned her she denied it and finally admitted it but couldn’t remember where she hid the box.
If you’re a family caregiver, you’re not alone.
There are a lot of resources available to help with care-giving and financial needs. At this point with my mom, she does not want strangers coming to the house and she opposes coming to a community center for engagement. She is adamant about staying in her own home and does not accept the severity of her condition. In time, it is our hope she will open up to the idea, but for now we are not pressing her.
Taking care of mom is my top priority so I have been able to build a home based business that allows me to work anytime, anywhere I want. Choosing my own hours helps to ensure mom gets to every doctor appointment, which often takes most of the day. If you find interest in building a home business, I can help you get started. Let’s get connected!
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Donna M Sands, SandsOnlineVentures@gmail.com