Clara sat on the porch rocking in her favorite rocker. She sat there every morning waiting for the School Bus to pass so she could wave and smile. One day her caregiver stepped onto the porch and asked Clara to come in and have breakfast. She refused, saying the bus had not come yet.
The caregiver was frustrated because she had a schedule to keep and others to care for. Clara was delaying her daily routine. The caregiver went back in while saying to Clara “okay but your breakfast is getting cold.”
Once the bus passed Clara got up and came in to breakfast. That was Clara’s routine.
Dementia Diagnosis for Family Members and Friends in Orlando, Florida
Often we want to mold our day into a practical routine that meets the caregivers needs to complete numerous duties and care for multiple residents. What we need to be doing is assessing how we can value the resident’s Cognitive needs and still meet the task.
In Clara’s situation she had waved her children on to school every morning for all the years of their childhood.
Clara’s children are now 52 years old and 60 years old. Obviously, no longer in school, but for Clara, they are on that bus.
There are many benefits to allowing a resident their space to live in the time and place they had lived for many years of their younger life.
- Decreased anxiety
- Increased feeling of responsibility
- Decreased conflict with caregivers
- Increased ability to control their own surroundings and feel independent.
Taking all of a Residents decision making and rituals away will only increase that internal fight for their independence and rights.
Let’s look at how that encounter on the porch could had gone a little better:
Clara is sitting on the porch waiting for the school bus to pass when the caregiver approached her to remind her Breakfast was ready. Clara responded she would be in as soon as the kids got off to school. The caregiver responded “well wave to them for me Miss Clara and hurry in.”
Nothing lost here and the caregiver and Clara have a positive exchange. In the middle of the rush we sometimes can’t see the benefits of slowing down and taking in the whole picture. Yet – isn’t that exactly what our residents are doing. Slowing down and drinking in each moment of every day.
Contact the Residential Home Care Network located in Orlando, Florida to learn more about The Value of making Cognitive Connections with residents with a Dementia Diagnosis.
Pamela L. Wisner, M.A. is a Marketing Representative with Vitas Healthcare. Pamela brings over 30 years of experience working in Geri-Psych and with individuals and families in transition.