Helping demented folks feel worthwhile

Hello everyone:

I was talking with a caregiver today about how demented folks sometimes feel depressed by their lack of contribution to life. She told me about a gal who gave her demented father some sheets of packing material and told him that the company needed him to test their product by popping all of the bubbles. He spends two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon popping the sheets. As a result of his work, he feels like someone needs him. He believes that he is being paid for his work, and recently asked for a raise.

My friend told me how she is looking for a typewriter so that her mother can type up copies of various documents. It is not a matter of my friend needing to have this done, but her mother enjoyed typing as a younger woman and can relate to this activity in spite of her dementia. Her mother also liked to paint, so she is looking for some small project for this elderly woman to work on.

The point here is to find something that your loved one liked to do when he or she was in full possession of his or her faculties and give the individual the chance to keep doing it. This can make a huge difference in how the person feels about life.

What tips do you have for helping demented individuals feel valued?

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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