Morning Confusion

 

Basic Needs

I have never been a morning person. You can ask my husband or my children and they would all agree….. coffee first…. conversation later. How do you feel in the morning? If you’re anything like me…. your head is foggy, your joints are stiff and your tongue feels like sandpaper. If you were a person living with Alzheimer’s, add the confusion of not knowing where you are or who is in the room with you or why are you cold and wet? I don’t know about you but I’d be afraid, probably very afraid.

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Now this strange person is saying something about clothes and a bath….. you don’t understand…The person reaches for you and you say “No” and pull away from them and try to get through the doorway. You’re still cold, a little unsteady and that person is still following you saying words you don’t understand and reaching for you. Sounds pretty terrifying to me. You might start swearing, crying or even hitting this strange person.

A Smile and a Soft Gentle Voice

Wow ….. I thought my mornings were tough. How can we as caregivers make mornings less stressful for everyone? A smile and a soft gentle voice may help. How about a familiar tune to set the mind at ease. Remember, if we were lucky enough to sleep for six or more hours we’re probably thirsty and hungry. Try offering a favorite drink or food. Is there a favorite robe or stuffed animal that brings them comfort. Most of all be patient. It may take fifteen minutes or maybe hours to regain their trust.

 

Remember every day is a new day. So turn on a tune, enjoy a cup of coffee and be patient with yourself. It’s gonna be a good morning.

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Instrumental Playlist

I thought that I would share another playlist this morning. This playlist is mostly instrumental pop and rock music from my wife earlier years. If you like music from the 60’s and 70’s you will recognize must of these tunes.

It makes for easy listening background music. I use it sometimes at bathtime, bedtime, and to just to sooth when I notice agitation coming on.

If you have an Amazon prime or an Amazon Music unlimited account I think you can download and play the playlist. Otherwise, I think you can view the list and get some ideas of your own.

 

Thanks, Clifton

 

 

Playlist

I thought I would share one of the playlists that I use. I use this one several times a week. This is just an example and suggestion. It is a soothing playlist, it sometimes calms the agitation.

Artist includes Ed Sheeran, Josh Ritter, Leon Bridges, Seal, B.J. Thomas, Sam Smith, Van Morrison, Adele, James Taylor, and Aaron Neville.

 

Soothing playlist cover

 

My Days Are Randomized

2I just finished updating the header photos on the website. These pictures will randomly load when someone visits the website. I chose pictures that may help explain what my wife is experiencing today. The day started off good better than most days have started off here lately.

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That was followed by her wanting to go somewhere. The where was not important, she just wanted to go see some ‘peeples’. She starves for social interaction so she will ask statue-417262_1280several times a day where are the ‘peeples’. However, she was not dressed. I attempted to explain that she needed to get dressed first then we would go out somewhere. Like I said the where is not important.

She had shown very little interest in eating so she had not eaten very much. Her agitation level is somewhat proportional to her hunger level. She has never been one who could go long without eating breakfast. Or going very long without eating. After eating a couple of breakfast bars and drinking some ice tea. Her anxiety started to ease. We always keep plates and bowls of food out for her to eat. Fresh fruit, cheese, vegetables cut up into bite-size pieces, small bites of some form of protein.

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For those who have followed me on Facebook, you should know I employ music therapy, as an emotional regulator. Soon after she had got up this morning. I put on some music that she finds soothing. About 30 – 45 minutes after eating she was dancing to the music. Her anxiety and agitation levels were now as calm as a glassy lake.

This calm lasted a couple of hours before restlessness returned, but we are still not fully dressed. This time the anxiety was brought on by the need for a bowel movement. She is not able to fully communicate what it is that is bothering her. So we a left to guess and make educated decisions. We only get so many attempts before anger sets in. And she will pop off with a remark like ‘whats wrong with you are you stupid’. Rule number 1 never argue. A typical reply at least for me is. Maybe, can you help me?

word-cloud-679919_1280Failure to determine what is causing agitation will lead to all kinds of other issues that will have to be resolved. These issues will wreak havoc on everyone involved.

What has not happened so far today is we have not hit a wall. However, the day is not over and sometimes those walls come at night when she refuses to lay down.

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Thanks for visiting

WhatAreKeys

Music and Alzheimer’s

 Unlock the Memories

What do radio, cassettes, piano lessons, school chorus, and church have in common? Music…. From riding in a car to fellowship with others, music has always been an important part of my life. Music has a way of transporting you to a different time in your life. Childhood songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star to Amazing Grace unlock memories and bring back emotions locked in a file somewhere deep inside your mind. Why should this be any different with a person living with Alzheimer’s?

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I have read numerous articles about music and the effects of people living with Alzheimer’s. The articles state that music enhances memory, improves focus and stimulates communication.  It may even lower the need to use psychiatric medications. I have seen magical things happen when music is introduced to people living in a nursing home. The room becomes alive with smiles, open eyes, and tapping toes. Even people who have closed themselves off from those around them begin to sing.

Ok, so your loved one living with Alzheimer’s is living at home. How can you as a caregiver enhance their lives at home with music? It’s basically trial and error. Start with the music they enjoyed. Think about the activities they enjoyed during their lifetime and the music associated with those activities. Did they attend Church? Did they line dance or enjoy watching musicals? What era did they grow up in, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, or 70’s? Did your loved one play an instrument? How about songs they listened to as a small child?

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Now that the ideas are flowing…. Where can you find this magical music? You may play an instrument. Why not put on a private concert? If you still have a stereo, dust it off, tune in the radio and unpack your CD or album collection from years long gone. Did you know there are music channels available on your TV? There are Apps galore that offer all genres of music…Pandora, I Heart Radio and Spotify to name a few. The Firestick is a device that seamlessly connects your smart TV to an Amazon Prime Account. This allows you to select your own personal playlists for hours of your loved ones listening pleasure.

So you’ve collected the music, added the Apps and set up your smart TV. Next question….. When do you incorporate this glorious music into the daily routine? The answer is anytime. You can set the atmosphere for exercise, bath time, or quiet time. It’s easy…..just turn on the music and let it unlock the melodies of their mind.

Enhance their new and ever-changing journey.

It will take some time to figure out what works for your loved one.  Turn on the music and see how your loved one reacts. They might instantly begin singing or it may take a couple songs to prime their mind before they start walking to the beat of the music. Take cues from them, read their body language, the expression their face can speak a thousand words. Remember … It’s trial and error, what works today, may not work tomorrow. Don’t give up. Keep trying. When people living with Alzheimer’s have lost their verbal ability to communicate, Music is the Key to connecting them to the world around them. Open that door for your loved one and enhance their new and ever-changing journey.