Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday Tidings: Phase 2

"I am awake, I am ready to get up," explained a client of mine.  He questioned, "Why is it so dark outside?"  Not knowing that it was 4 o'clock in the morning, I reoriented my client in making him aware that it was early in the morning.  I was more than willing to get up with him if he wished, but he decided to go back to sleep.  Instances such as this becomes more and more prominent as a patient progresses through the second phase of disorientation in Alzheimer's disease.  Phase 2, time confused, brings about loss of cognitive abilities and "time travels" between past and present. Though, the patient responds to touch and warm eye contact, and they know who is genuine. 

It is important to remain calm in every situation, for Alzheimer's patients feed off of a caregiver's energy and attitude.  There are many reliable sources in which support and enable us as caregivers to cope effectively when caring for a disoriented loved one.  If is crucial to communicate with everyone who has contact with an Alzheimer's patient.  Being able to have meetings and also getting away for a bit to free your mind are essential for healthy caregivers. 

Is there someone you know who is time confused with Alzheimer's?  Do you or loved ones take the imperative time to communicate?  Do you need assistance in organizing your thoughts and actions to better be prepared for this journey?  I wait patiently for your responses. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday Tidings: Phases of Disorientation

Distrust and repeated anger are often signs of a very important phase of disorientation known as malorientation.  Individuals with Alzheimer's who experience this stage, which is phase 1 of 4, tend to be unhappily oriented to life, are regularly accusatory, and typically do not maintain eye contact.  My belief is that it is our duty as caregivers to never judge situations and comfort our loved ones in the best way possible.  Naomi Feil's Workshop Handouts give basic guidance information when caregivers need extra support.  No one, patient or caregiver, should have to go down the long road of Alzheimer's disease without helpful advice from trained professionals who care.

In attempts to give Alzheimer's patients top priority over our own when it comes to emotions, we must remember this key expression: Alzheimer's is a disease of the mind that is uncontrollable.  When we as caregivers are having a bad day, we should stop to center ourselves.  As Carrie Gallahan, Certified Validation Worker and Group Practitioner expresses, close our eyes and imagine our favorite color entering our bodies each time we breathe in - all the way down to our toes.  Take a few minutes to do this until the body and mind feel relaxed.  Start off the day with a fresh slate, leave worries and everything negative at the door.  This will allow us to give our undivided attention and empathetic emotion to our dear elders.      

Has anyone tried using the Validation Technique?  How about attempting to center yourself?  Did either of these approaches provide benefits throughout the day of caregiving?