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Periodic Contributor

Ideas on how to develop patience

Can anyone give me some tips on how to hone skills in being patient.  Awfully hard when you've answered the same question 5 or 6 times in a row.  Or your loved one starts doing behaviors you don't understand - like pulling far more silverware than needed from the drawer, placing it on the table, and then getting so hysterically upset with you when you try to move it.  Or blames you when she misplaces something or puts it somewhere -  "where did you put it?"  

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Trusted Contributor

There is no easy answer to this.
I rely on my faith, and pray for it. I pray for compassion, and imagine if it was me, how would I like to be treated.
But also know that there are some vitamins and supplements that can certainly help. Google Dr. Abram Hoffer and Dr. Andrew Saul. I have also seen Ozone treatments help greatly. Look up Dr. Robert Rowen on Youtube.

God bless you for your kindness in helping a love done.
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Periodic Contributor

Thank you.  Prayer sure does help!

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Regular Contributor

Appreciated your comment re. patience .

I have discovered that stress levels are a huge issue indealing with the infirmaties of old age. My wife of 50plus years had two strokes the end of 2017

as well as a failed hip. This has  resulted in huge increse in stress for both of us  as she is now requiring hands on assistance with everythng she does other than feeding herself. She is pretty much wheel chair bound also.

 

we also discovered that some friends we thought we had have pretty much disappeared. Talking to one of the the response was we just do not know how to deal with jan or what to say. pretty sad.

 

However, thankfully, a good many of our friends are still with us What we have done is kind of a coming out party with 15 couples we know invited. It is a celebration for Jan's being able to get thru the stokes and deal with her situation. Was wonderful all of our friends were absolutely astounded that we did this.We got many thank you's and was a wonderful way for these couples to see that Jan was still functional mentally and to some degree physically.

As Jan now has a caregiver 4 hours a day for 5 days a week she was able to assist jan and I with the preparation.

We are going to have a second pre Christmas get together but this time it will be a mid morning buffet with home made cinnamon (sp?)  rolls, Kisch,  coffee,

juice, and mimosa's.

All in all the cargiver has been a godsend.

God Bless

Jim

 

 

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AARP Expert

@jimbohretired Oh Jim!!! You are amazing and so is your wife! Thank you for sharing your story. I think immediately of my parents...my Mom had a stroke at age 63. She had aphasia and pain and some weakness on her right side. So physically she could actually get around ok but cognitively she couldn't drive again, couldn't cook without a lot of help (sequencing was so hard for her). Because of her communication problems with the aphasia, people were very much like your friends who said they just don't know what to say or do. Mom was very social and just enjoyed doing things and being with people. She could act things out and write a bit. She could talk some, and many years of off and on speech therapy often helped. She and Daddy joined a dinner group through church, they would take turns going to each others' house for dinner. Daddy wasn't a big cook but he could sure get a big lasagna from Costco and make a salad and they would bake brownies or slice and bake cookies - so they could host! I know how important those social times were for both of them - as it's so important for you and your wife. Sadly, none of the people in the group ever seemed to pick up on doing other things with Mom and Dad - or just Mom. I tried to get volunteers from the church to take her out for lunch etc. but it never worked out. 

 

So it's WONDERFUL that you still have enough friends who will come to your house for the party and bravo to you for making such a great effort and showing them that there is life after strokes and other physical disabiliites!!! 

 

As Jane said, so glad you have some help from a paid caregiver too!!!

 

Sending you best holiday wishes and much joy! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP's Family & Caregiving Expert

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AARP Expert


@jimbohretired wrote:

Appreciated your comment re. patience .

I have discovered that stress levels are a huge issue indealing with the infirmaties of old age. My wife of 50plus years had two strokes the end of 2017

as well as a failed hip. This has  resulted in huge increse in stress for both of us  as she is now requiring hands on assistance with everythng she does other than feeding herself. She is pretty much wheel chair bound also.

 

we also discovered that some friends we thought we had have pretty much disappeared. Talking to one of the the response was we just do not know how to deal with jan or what to say. pretty sad.

 

However, thankfully, a good many of our friends are still with us What we have done is kind of a coming out party with 15 couples we know invited. It is a celebration for Jan's being able to get thru the stokes and deal with her situation. Was wonderful all of our friends were absolutely astounded that we did this.We got many thank you's and was a wonderful way for these couples to see that Jan was still functional mentally and to some degree physically.

As Jan now has a caregiver 4 hours a day for 5 days a week she was able to assist jan and I with the preparation.

We are going to have a second pre Christmas get together but this time it will be a mid morning buffet with home made cinnamon (sp?)  rolls, Kisch,  coffee,

juice, and mimosa's.

All in all the cargiver has been a godsend.

God Bless

Jim

 

 


I want to thank you, also, Jim, for your story. It takes guts AND creativity to invite people into your home to see Jan and to celebrate the journey you BOTH have taken on. Wow. People learned a lot when they came to your home. "We don't know what to do or say to Jan" was a cop out, although very human and understandable. Everyone who were brave enough to attend your gathering were blessed by new knowledge that you both are hanging in there, and if anything like a stroke happens to anyone else, it IS survivable. 

 

The other thing i want to applaud is your hiring of a paid caregiver. I'm glad you can afford it and glad she's turned out to be such a help. So many people hesitate, even if they can afford the help, and care-recipients are worried that they won't like this stranger who's in their home. But most of the time it is a huge relief to have someone who can be with your loved one, make a meal for them, perhaps bathe them. 

 

You both are amazing, and lucky to have each other. 

 

Please keep us posted. You've already enriched my understanding of how to cope with caregiving ENORMOUSLY.

 

Jane

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Periodic Contributor

God bless you and Jan - and all your true friends.  I hope you find joy this holiday season!  Thank you for sharing.  

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AARP Expert

Hi Lauren,

 

     I think Amy has done a great job of responding to you. I just want to add a few more thoughts: If you can see the repetitve questions or suspiciousness as symptoms of a heart-breaking disease, you are less likely to take them personally or find them unbearable. That said, they are annoying and you are allowed to feel annoyed. Sometimes the annoyance may get so great that you need to leave the room for a moment or count to 10 under your breath. Sometimes the annoyance may mount to the point that you need a longer break and will want to enlist or hire someone else to spend time with your loved one. All of that is normal, expectable and acceptable. Part of the tragedy of dementia is it produces behaviors that can negatively affect our relationships with people we love. We need to guard against that by changing our mind-sets, as Amy proposed, and getting regular breaks to collect ourselves. Hang in there!--Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers

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Periodic Contributor


Thank you very much.  Helps me feel better.  Good coping tips.  

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AARP Expert

@LaurenS917638 Hi Lauren - I can totally identify with your challenge! I cared for my grandmother who had Alzheimer's back in the 1990's and more recently cared for my Dad who had it also for about 10 yrs intensively (he lived with me for the past 6 years) and several years before that from a distance. 

 

Here are a few things that have helped me and that I've learned from other caregivers throughout my own caregiving journey and my career of 35 years in the field of aging, including many years working in adult day health centers:

  • Validate - When someone has dementia, there comes a time when it doesn't help to try to correct them convince them of what is "right". You start to see that they just can't grasp it. What is logical to us just will not formulate as logical because their brain isn't working quite right. So it's more effective to use a "validation" approach. Validate where they are coming from. So if your loved one puts out too much silverware, instead of saying that's not right and putting it away, you might say, "Wow - we must be having a lot of visitors for dinner! You're doing such a great job of setting the table thank you! Who would you like to have for dinner?" Get a conversation going about friends and loved ones; validate the fact that the job she is doing is important and of course she wants so badly to do it right and compliment her. When you tell her that it's not right or remove the silverware it probably feels like a failure to her, she's wrong again, she's losing control of everything in her life, you are doing something mean to her etc. Try to think about her perspective, even if it doesn't seem "right" to you. 
  • Don't remove - replace - Any time your loved one has ahold of something or is doing a task that you want to change, try to replace objects rather than just remove them. For example, with the silverware...If she gets out too much silverware, get out the napkins and hand her the napkins before or as you take away the silverware, and give her another task to do. 
  • Divert - Sometimes a diversion is the best tactic - (the remove/replace is really a diversion tactic) change the subject to something she likes to talk about, ask her to do another task, sing a song (that ALWAYS worked for my Dad - he loved to sing!), turn on a TV show she likes, ask her to fold some towels etc. etc. 
  • Change your mindset - I made the decision to expect questions to be asked multiple times and pretend it was the first time I was asked the question every single time they asked it. This is a skill it does take some time to cultivate! But you can do it! You might vary your answers some, but it helped me to look at it as the norm for the questions to be asked multiple times. I'm sure it's hard for you to imagine right now, but later, when Dad didn't talk as much, I would have given anything for him to ask me the same questions 5-6 times! I knew that would be the case (from my past experience) so that kind of helped me to be more Ok with it - and actually kind of value the fact that he was engaged and communicating. 

I hope these approaches help you! Please keep us posted and let us know if you have any other questions! 

 

Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and

Color Your Way Content When Caring for Loved Ones

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Periodic Contributor

Thank you so much.  This really helps!

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Newbie

Thank you so much for the tip about validating your loved one's efforts.  My wife, now 87, has had dementia for 5 and a half years now, and though her memory is worse, her attitude has mellowed at the same time. She used to be a professional cook and created delicious meals for us, but we're reduced to surviving on my poor efforts now.  I realize she feels unneeded and she always asks if there is anything she can help with, but I always refuse as she invariably does whatever task required incorrectly and adds to the work.  I do give her laundry to fold and she likes that, but I don't allow her to do much more than that preferring to do all other chores on my own.

The thing that worries me most about her is her balance problem and inability to walk normally, using jerky baby steps. I got her two, three wheel walkers, one for upstairs, one for down, and she falls less often, but she constantly walks away from the walkers and after a time finds herself unable to go any further. She falls on average once a day, but my constant nagging has helped her use the walkers more often than not. She is a very tiny, 4' 10", 100 lbs Japanese, who somehow has avoided breaking any bones in her falls, though she has many bruises to show for it.  I didn't realize how easily she bruises until I noticed a bruise where she got her flu shot this year. I had been giving her a calcium citrate supplement every other day ever since her stomach cancer operation in 2001, and that might have helped strengthen her bones but I discontinued them after I read that too much calcium might lead to kidney stones.  She had her gall bladder out several years ago after developing stones.

Can you give me any help on how to curtail her non use of her walkers?  Or any other things that might help us get through this with fewer injuries?  Thank you.

I might add that despite the fact I'm 10 years her junior, that both my knees are painful and I walk with a walker in the house and a cane outdoors and am now only able to lift her with difficulty.

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AARP Expert

You sound like a very good husband. When you remind your wife to use her walker, that's not "nagging"; that's trying to keep her out of harm's way. When I cared for my mother with dementia and she forgot to use her walker all the time, I, too, found myself pointing it out to her repeatedly. That wasn't fun and tended to annoy her but was necessary to try to reduce the number of falls she suffered. 

 

Here are a few alternative ideas to consider: There are alarms that you can purchase that would ring a buzzer or bell each time your wife gets up from a chair. That sound might then remind her to use the walker in front of her. The other possibility is to provide her with 24-hour supervision. That's not easy for one person (meaning you) to manage. Would you consider asking other family members to help or hiring a home health companion to be with her for several hours a day?

 

On another note, I understand the impulse to take over the chores because it's easier for you to do them right than have to re-do them when she does them wrong. Yet I believe she will be happier if she feels like she is making some contribution. Are there chores with which you can allow her to make mistakes? When she does make those mistakes, can she let them be? Your tolerance of the disorder she creates will take you out of the "nag" role and strengthen the emotional bond between the two of you.--Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., co-author of AARP Meditations for Caregivers

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