Caring for the demented

Hello everyone:

As hard as it is to watch your loved one decline as a result of dementia, it can be even more difficult to care for that person. A dear friend of mine has a mother who is going downhill quite rapidly.

The sweet elderly lady doesn’t want to take a shower, or wash her hair, or do anything related to her hygiene. She also doesn’t want to take her medications. What is her caregiver to do?

Well, with regards to the showers, she checked with her mother’s doctor and learned that someone in her 90s who does not exercise can probably get by with two showers per week. Old folks’ skin dries out pretty fast so bathing less frequently, while it may not seem like a good thing to you or me, may actually work for the older individual.

The hair washing is a challenge but, since the older gal likes to get her hair cut, my friend decided to take her mother to the hairdresser’s once a week. Problem solved. Stress relieved.

The personal hygiene is a battle worth winning, keeping in mind that you are now caring for your loved one like he or she once cared for you. Your roles are reversed, forever.

My friend thought of a superb way to give her mother her much-needed medications- Cool Whip. Get yourself a high-quality pill chopper-upper (one that turns the pill into powder) and crush the meds (make sure that you are allowed to crush them, of course) and then put them in something the patient loves- like Cool Whip. Down the hatch they go!

If you have any ideas to share, I would love to hear from you on a problem that cropped up and how you solved it. Thanks in advance for your ideas!

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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