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Question Dealing with Dementia? - December 19th 2011, 12:28 AM

So, my grandfather has recently been hospitalized, and then moved to a nursing home. My GP [also my mom's GP] has kindly taken on my grandparents as her patients (since they just moved down here, they lived 2 1/2 hours away until this stuff with my grandpa happened), and when I saw her to get a prescription, I asked her about my grandfather.

TL;DR, my doctor confirms that my grandfather has started developing Dementia. Basically, this means his memory isn't any good, and sometimes he gets quite angry with little to no reason for it. What he says only makes a bit of sense, and you have to work hard to figure out what he's trying to tell you. It's nerve-racking for me, since I feel powerless, and try to communicate with him the best I can.

Basically, does anybody have any experience dealing with Dementia?

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Re: Dealing with Dementia? - December 19th 2011, 12:52 AM

Both of my grandmothers had/have dementia, and really, it's just something that you have to deal with one day at a time. You have to have an immense amount of patience when communicating with him, because getting upset only makes the entire situation worse. It's best to just stay calm, especially if he starts getting angry with you.
Writing things down might help the memory issue; it did with my grandma on my mom's side.

I'm very sorry about your grandfather, and I'm here if you need to talk.

Sorry I couldn't be there, I was tied to a rocking chair.

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Re: Dealing with Dementia? - December 19th 2011, 08:13 PM

I am so sorry about your grandfather.

But I do have experience with dementia, as I'm living with it- my dad has it.

As AppleOrchard said, you do have to have patience. A lot of it. Especially if the communication side of things is affected. The only thing you can do is try to work out what he is trying to say. I know the powerless feeling all to well, but there isn't much you can do. Just take each day as it comes. My dad likes looking at pictures (though we doubt he knows who the people are in the photos). Sorry I can't be of more help. Dementia affects people in different ways, what might work for one sufferer might not work for another. Just wish someone would find a cure for it.

I'm here if you need to talk x
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Re: Dealing with Dementia? - December 20th 2011, 03:15 AM

Yeah, I've been trying to keep patient, but my Anxiety is an issue as is, and sometimes it can become worse when I visit him, since it becomes a struggle, you know?

I have tried my best to figure out what he's saying. Sometimes he's more coherent than others, and sometimes he's in a better mood than others. He does recognize me, and even recognizes my boyfriend (though he can't remember the name, he knows who he is).

Thanks both of you, I guess I have to try my best to deal, and there is no magical handbook, you know?

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Re: Dealing with Dementia? - December 20th 2011, 11:09 PM

Yes, my grandmother also had Dementia (before she passed). However, I didn't do much to communicate with her; instead I decided that I would just be with her alot, and do more actions than speaking - it sometimes worked out, but other times she got frustrated when I refused to talk back.

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Re: Dealing with Dementia? - December 23rd 2011, 10:03 AM

My grandfather has dementia and it can be a bit difficult at times due to his poor hearing since he refuses to use hearing aids for some reason nobody can understand, including his wife (who does not have dementia). I try to be very understanding and often go along with certain things he says, such as if he says he left his coat in the car, when in fact I know it is in his house, I'll quickly search the car, then tell him it's not in there. I'll then suggest to him perhaps he put it away in the house and I'll then get it for him. I rely quite a lot on his wife (my grandmother) because her memory and cognition is intact, so if there are difficult concepts he doesn't understand, I'll explain it to both him and her, so she can later on remind him when I'm not there. I'm certain that if she were not around, he couldn't function outside a senior residence home.

I suppose I'm also understanding of him because I've taken several courses, a few of which were research-based and included forms of dementia. As a result, whenever I see his struggles, I view it as real-life examples of some of what I've studied. However, there aren't any great universal ways to assist someone who has dementia without making them feel shitty about themselves. For example, he often wanders around in the kitchen as he makes a meal, so I labelled each shelf, and whenever I was at his house, I'd go over it with him and ask what is in each shelf. Eventually, he told me he didn't like being treat as though he were an infant, to which I responded he requires such shelf-labeling in order to improve his functioning in the kitchen, otherwise my grandmother would take over. When she did, he felt belittled because they usually work together to make meals.

Overall, I've found that reviewing certain material can help someone with dementia, as well as sometimes playing along with their incorrect beliefs and quickly correcting them, rather than constantly saying, "no, you're wrong". It certainly takes a lot of patience and remember that getting frustrated at the person will not help anything. Some people claim to work better under pressure but pressuring someone with dementia may not work. Lastly, try to incorporate it rather than skirt around it, such as making labels or explaining something then have them say it back in their own words.

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