Daphne Davis at Pinnacle Senior Placements works with lots of patients with Alzheimer’s, all stages of Dementia and their families. One stumbling block for families is communicating with someone who has cognitive challenges. And they are different at different stages of the disease, and different from moment to moment. It’s a challenge to keep yourself in their world. There are some key phrases to use and avoid using.
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The following podcast is provided by pinnacles senior placements LLC and answers for elders radio. And Welcome to answers for elders radio. And I am here with Wonderful Daphne Davis as we’re talking about Alzheimer’s Dementia, Getting Ready for the big walk this coming up soon. And you guys work with a lot of Alzheimer by patients? Is that correct? Yeah, I do, a lot of people who have different stages of dementia and their families is who I work with a lot and over the years I have figured out that it is a walk that is not easy to do with your family members and and one of the things I know that people stumble on is communicating with someone who has some cognitive challenges, mention all timers. Yeah, when those challenges present themselves and they’re different at different stages of the disease and within that disease they’re different from moment to moment, and so for the family members in particular and caregivers who are supporting the elders, it can be a real challenge to keep yourself in their world versus them coming to our world. And so some of the key phrases that I’d like to share with you in avoiding and using are things that I’d like to talk about today. Love that. So one is do you remember when? Oh, well, that that infers that they’re supposed to remember and that they know they can’t remember, and so now I potentially get to shut down or I get nervous or anxious because why don’t I remember that? So any that word remember. Do you remember when? Oh, mom, we did that. Remember last week. You know, and that’s just normal. That is just normal conversation. Or instead it would be mom, we went to the doctor last week and we discovered that. You know, but not asking her to remember that, but just stayd have just stated. That’s amazing and when you think about it, you’re not making them feel bad. No, you’re not challenging her, you’re not wanting to quiz her. She doesn’t feel like, oh my goodness, I don’t real she didn’t have to reveal that I don’t remember going to the doctor. It’s just factual. We went to the doctor and the doctor talked about and we did that on Tuesday. If you know, whatever the personality is of your mom or dad, if they need a lot of detail, just give that to them. Sure if you’re a family member that I’m visiting. Another example would be, oh hi, Joe, it’s been it’s great to see you today. I I was around the corner the other day and just saw you walking out on the street and I said to myself, Joe, Joseph, go see Joe and you just told him your name and he doesn’t have to remember your name and you don’t have to introduce yourself like he has to say face and now and come up with, Oh, I remember who you are. You know, you don’t have to tell me, but you’ve just graciously said your name, your connection. I was around the corner, I was at Church and I saw you and I just said to myself, Daphne, go talk to eleanor I love that. I still loved that. So it’s just things that you can graciously save face for the other person. It takes work. So, as a family members are caregivers of family members, don’t beat yourself up when you say remember when, because we do it every day. It’s very true. And I think the other thing is is when you’re when you’re talking to somebody with dementia or Alzheimer’s, there’s an there’s a lot bigger element within them of fear. Yes, you know, they don’t know what they don’t know, and so they’re afraid of what they don’t know right, and so there’s that that feeling of trying to find a sense of grounding of their life, and what you’re really doing is providing that framework that makes them feel comfortable in the conversation. Give it to them. It’s give them the gift of saving face, give them the gift of feeling purposeful. They know in their own heart, maybe not at that moment, but some moment during the course of the day, they’re going to know, I don’t remember where the coffee cups are. HMM, are you might want to say, mom you’ve always been so amazing and this is why, and I always remember these things. So it’s coming back to give them context of I remember when you I remember right when you did data Dattata. was such a great thing that you did for us. So having that conversation and validating that individual is so important. Yeah, yeah, you have to pay attention to their personality. If it’s someone who doesn’t want to be gushed on, they might feel uncomfortable, but you know, you’re exactly sure it’s you know, remember who you’re talking to, what their personality is like, what’s important to them. I mean, your dad might be a linear thinker and he needs to know. It was on two o’clock, two o’clock on Tuesday that we went and saw Dr so and so. Yeah, and you know some other dad will just go. Dad, it was Wednesday and we went and head coffee and then we went to the doctor’s office adjust it. Yeah, you know, and but we found out this. Yeah, so those are the things that you it’s all about languaging people. Can do mechanical care for anyone, but can you do care of the heart? Can you do care of their ego, their emotional needs, because that’s really what matters. You know, if somebody stumbles over transferring somebody from a chair to a chair, will get through that and they understand. But if you bruise their ego or if they are feeling less than because I can’t do this anymore, that takes a long time to repair. It really does. And I think too with family dynamics, sometimes we get lost in the dynamic with our parent. Yep, you know, mom or dad, even if they have advanced dementia, they still know how to push your buttons, yes, say, always will, and you know how to push there. Yes, you do, and so that is this the family dynamic. That’s always there, no matter what. That kind of that that that doesn’t change. In many cases doesn’t. and that’s when everybody needs to give each other grace, because the bottom line is you’re still child, parent, you’re always you’re still nice uncle and whatever it is. That is your primary relationship and that doesn’t go away with familial relationships. And so give yourself grace, compassion patience with that other person. Think in terms of how can I uphold their dignity, more than anything else, of that love that uphold their dignity. It it is so paramount in terms of making sure that someone feels intact so that they have a reason to get up the next day. Something as simple as they have a reason to listen to you when you say, you know, mom, can you have another sip of water? Yeah, you know, when you’ve taken care of their heart and their ego, of their emotions, the other things will fall into place. When you eliminate behavioral things, when you eliminate the pushback, when you eliminate someone feeling defensive or pushed into a corner, your journey with this disease of dementia will go so much better. So we are talking to Daphne Davis from Pinnacle senior placements and Daphnely, you serve western Washington pretty much all the way up to scatchet county, all the way down to Thurston, yeah, which is an amazing area, and you have, you know, care coordinators. What do they call? Okay, Advisors, advisors. Okay, Advisors that work with pinnacle and given areas. So we’ve all got our areas of expertise, but with pinnacle also you get to have a team mentality. We’re here to work together. I love that and, you know, and really to spend the time together, to get to know your loved one and they have the skills to talk to your mom or dad that you may be trying to figure out. You know, how do I reach mom or dad? And oftentimes I know the the disease of dementia, as what we talked about, is fearfault. I’m I have noticed especially in men. Maybe I’m being are, you know, to stereotypical, but I have found that men especially tend to dig in their heels, even more when they had to Menion, because they want to save face, they want to feel that, you know, that male virility. Yes, that’s a purpose. You know, I’m contributed and I’m in charge, I’m in control, and so there’s that feeling of they’re not going to let their guard down to their children as a rule. Do you find that’s true? That is true and and more importantly, what I find is our job as people caregiving roles, whatever that’s that role is a caregiver role, is to really think about what is the behavior, the language, the pushback, what is it really saying? People don’t choose to be ornery, you know, when you’re in the state of dementia, people don’t want to be contankerous and stubborn. It’s the disease and it is based in fear, and so it’s our job to kind of be detectives, Slock Holmes, and figure out, okay, why is mom or dad responding to this situation this way? What did I say? What did I do? What just happened? Who visited them? What does this mean to them? I mean it’s all about asking questions and you figuring that out, not not out loud, asking questions right the loved one, because they won’t be able to necessarily articulate but what they feeling. They get triggered, they do. There’s triggers that happen and watch the patterns. If I could give you another good tip besides languaging, is right down patterns. If you come and visit, you know, after work every day and it’s six o’clock and you come strolling in and mom and dad are just kind of off well attention. You know what happens at six o’clock? Or what does that mean to them? Or are they low on protein? Do they need to have dinners? It before or after dinner? They eating right? Yeah, did they get enough? You know, fluid today? Or Yeah, it’s ninety two degrees outside. You know what happened? It really takes being intentional. Or do they have a Uti? Yep, there’s all kinds of that’s a huge trigger. All kind of happens a lot. So obviously dementia is kind of one of those things that are that can be pronounced in various different types of circumstances, not only physical triggers but also emotional or mental triggers. You know, it might be triggered by they had a phone called with somebody you know one hour ago that they didn’t like or you know it. It’s amazing how that happens. Is You never know where the brain goes. Personally, I walked through this disease process with my own father and so not only see it from a professional point of view, but from a daughter’s point of view, and that’s an aspect of I really like to be able to share with families that. You know, my personality is let’s not reinvent the wheel, but if I can get a tip from some one, let’s do it. And so some of the things you have to choose in your languaging if there’s you know classic story. My Dad was making a sandwich for lunch and he didn’t want my help and he made a Hershey’s Syrup Sandwich and put the Hershey’s chocolate all of the sandwich. My Dad’s never had a hershey syrup sandwiches life. But that was not a battle that I was going to fight and I just said Oh, Dad, I hope you enjoy your sandwich. He takes a bite of it. Dad has that sandwich. Oh it’s a little strong, is what he said to me, and I says, oh, would you like to have a different sandwich and and he says no, I can make this happen. Let it go. You know, he ate a sandwich and it was a little while later that I was able to help him in making a different sandwich because he didn’t eat the sandwich. But there was no point in me telling Him Dad, that’s Hershey’s Syrup and that doesn’t go on a sandwich. That would have been parking up the wrong tree. So it’s just a matter of letting things go as you see them. Well, I’m so glad you were here today. So how do we reach you? Eight hundred and fifty five, seven, thirty four, one, one five hundred. The preceding podcast was provided by pinnacles senior placements LLC and answers for elders radio. To contact pinnacles senior placements, go to pinnacles senior PLACEMENTSCOM.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.