In Alzheimer’s and in all stages of Dementia, conversation is based on the moment. We’ve all been taught to be real and truthful, not to lie. But Daphne Davis at Pinnacle Senior Placements suggeststhat white lies are okay at this stage, because they keep someone calm. It’s important because their reality is their reality. It’s more of staying in the moment with them – the little details don’t matter when their reality is what they believe.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
The following podcast is provided by pinnacles senior placements LLC and answers for elders radio. And Welcome back to answers for elders. We are here again. We had Daphnete Davis from pinnacles senior placements and we had such a wonderful conversation about, you know, honoring those that are, you know, keeping the piece with Alzheimer’s dimension. But now you know there’s that resistant parent and I know we’ve talked a little bit about that before, Daphne, but in Alzheimer’s demension it’s a very different type of conversation. I’m sure is that it is. It’s not always based in logic. It’s based in what’s going on right at this moment. And one of the things I want to share with all of our listeners is that we’ve all been taught not to lie. We’ve all been taught to be truthful and real h but when you’re dealing with different forms of dementia, I think that white lies are okay because they keep someone calm and to be correcting someone or saying yeah, but it’s really this way. My Mama didn’t happen that way. You know, I that was my that was my big fault in the beginning. I didn’t realize that. You know, I wanted to be the honest daughter and make sure that we had all of our facts straight and I was so glad I had somebody take me aside and tell me exactly what you’re telling yeah, it’s it’s really important because their reality is their reality. It is reality. The brain is deteriorating at different rates and different places of the brain. It’s not a matter of exercising the brain and keeping it active and challenging people. It’s more of stay in the moment with them. It doesn’t matter in the little details of life for someone who’s reality is totally based in whatever they believe at that moment. You know, I’ve talked about my dad and my journey with my dad and there were times when he was absolutely sure he needed to get to the airport and we needed to go someplace and I literally called my sister and said, you know how this is Daphne. Dave is calling from such and such home and we’re wanting to check on flight to so and so, and my sister on the other end is going what are you talking about? And I’m like, could you please help us understand that the airport is fogged out or, you know, to go to that extreme. Is Okay, because my dad was in such distress and so, you know, my dad didn’t recognize my sister’s voice and she said, yeah, I’m sorry, sir, the airport is closed due to fog and there are no flights going out today. And it’s so great that you had your sister there to kind of be your coach and you know, you, yes, we’re a great team. Well, she was on the other end going, Daphne, I don’t know what you’re talking about and somehow I got just go with it, you know, but that you there are times when the stress of correcting and not staying in their reality is not worth it. Yeah, so, especially when it’s comes to safety issues, and I know sometimes families have a lot of distress and saying, but my dad or my mom, they know that this is their home still and they want to stay in their home and you, as a logical, cognitive thinker, is saying, but it’s just not safe. And there’s also the piece that says I can’t come over here every day, I can’t spend five hours a day here, I can’t listen to the same story every time because I’m not a trained caregiver and I get frustrated, I lose my patience, I snap and you know that it’s not the right thing, but but my mom or dad won’t leave either, or they won’t let people into the House. Very common because dementia’s based in fear. We go back to that, that fierce factor, you know, that fight or flight, and when you’re in that spot, the person who has the some kind of dementia is going to be defensive and protect themselves. They are and they don’t know what they don’t know and they know they don’t know, but they don’t know where to context it and their reality is their reality. So in understanding somebody with dementia, it’s I always laugh because every once in a while, you know, I’ll go to a senior community and, you know, meet up with people and you know, I I have a heart love for those that are a memory care. When I go to memory care, we’re lucky enough to once a year be able to take, you know, bring cheer to them over the holidays and you know, I see people come in like me, they could give a rip about me. You take an animal in it’s a totally different story, and so to have that type of a connection to see that they’re, you know, as is it progresses. There’s different ways, obviously, but there’s also there’s that element of you know, something will set something, you know, someone off and they’re back to that resistance factor. So understanding a little bit about how to disarm that or how to, you know, understand a little bit is, I’m sure, kind of a interesting it’s an art form. We call that redirecting. Yeah, and I’m learning how to redirect and thinking quick on your feet and some of us are good at that and some of us are very challenged, just even in regular life. So that’s when you really should, I’m going to use the word should, reach out to other professionals that can help you get through that and help mom or dad figure out that this is not going to be in the end of the world if we need to change place of residency or whatnot. Many times when it’s advanced dementia, midstates dementia, there’s usually something else that’s facilitating a change. There’s usually something with the health, you know, an accident or or a disease process, another disease process has advanced and so that’s helpful in terms of making a change right from your home. But when there isn’t that factor, really reach out because it’s a gift you, as a children, are giving a gift to your parents for them to be able to live in an environment of like minded people, people who know how to language without pushing their buttons, that they have quality of life and not quality of surviving, when you have to use all of your energy to survive and get through a day and put your socks and shoes on, and which one comes first? Or you know, is my arm? Do I remember how to lift my arm because I have some Parkinson’s going on or my arthritis is acting up? They’re not thinking this, but they’re in survival mode in terms of I got to get dressed. Yeah, yeah, and I’m supposed to be able to get dressed because I still live in my own home and my daughter’s coming over and I got to get dressed before my daughter’s here because I don’t want to be a bigger burden to her. There can be moments of that clarity. Sure, why not let them live in an environment that they don’t have to worry about those things? Well and understand the gift understanding to I think too. I remember going and when my mother was in skill nursing and she was always sat at the same table and her table meet. All of a sudden just said these nasty things to my mom and my mom didn’t even react. I was upset. It’s like, how can you do this? I was like so upset and I went and she says, Oh, they do this all the time to each other. Of course, I didn’t know. My Mother did the same thing back to her and they’re like good friends. It’s like it was totally like a neutralized situation. Yeah, I’m the one that took it personally and was like ready to move my mother to another table and all these things that. It’s like understanding that their reality is different than our reality. Give them the gift of having a community of care, a community of life and not surviving in their own home. I Hear Dad, I hear mom, they want to stay home, I’m not leaving them, going out in a pine box, whatever it is. They say no, I can take care of that, and then they try to do even more right. Know you listeners have seen this. If you’re walking this walk, you’ve seen it. But but be in a place that says I’m not dishonoring my family. I’m giving them the gift of quality of life and I, in the process, get the benefit of being a son or daughter again. I love that. That’s what’s important. So we are talking again to Daphne Davis from pinnacles senior placements, and Daphne tell us a little bit about how you work with families that have dementia. So dementia or Alzheimer’s, when it’s all when that is the the primary diagnosis, often I’m meeting people in hospitals or rehabs because they’re generally is something that’s triggered right things to have to move forward. I do meet in people’s homes as well and I am exceedingly respectful of that person and I will have a conversation with family members that say I’ll ask him. Where is your mom in this process? Are they okay with hearing honest conversation? Do we need to deal a little bit of a dance? Do I need to be a social worker? Am I your friend that you haven’t seen for a long time, and what role do I need to play? Shit that your parents I is okay. It’s okay. So that your parent is comfortable? Do we need to meet outside of the home without your parents? Is it? Are we at that place where it’s too distressing, because there’s no reason to cause more stress for someone? That is not kindness at all, and so it really depends upon the situation and how I interact with the family. Most often, when I’ve explained to families a situation or I’ve met with them for a few minutes at a coffee shop, happens a lot. And then we’re going to plan to go over to mom or DAD’s home, they’re like, oh, let’s just go now. You totally get it, you understand how to do this, you are going to respect my parent sure, and that’s the thing I think true, is the fact that when you’re talking about it with you, working with that resistant dad, he’s going to say different things to you than he is to his son or daughter. Especially in those early stages of dementia. They’re going to hold on to whatever they can that they feel like is most familiar and they want to keep that patriarchal dynamic. It’s very important. You’re not going to you know, another which sign. You’re not going to control my life. You’re not going to tell me what to do. I’m the father. Yeah, that certainly is an aspect that can happen. Another one that happens frequently as they don’t want to be a burden. Oh Yeah, and you know, my son is doing so much for me, you know, and Susie’s coming over and she always brings food for us and I just can’t let her know one more secret. I can’t let her know that I can’t bend over to get, you know, my Saxon. My husband’s doing that now and he might fall over when he’s doing that and it’s a bigger deal. But they’re not going to let you know that because you’re already helping him, and so that’s another aspect. Again, those are all things of, in my opinion, survival versus living. When you have a finite amount of energy and you have a finite amount of thinking power, why not spend that on joyous things rather than regular, mundane life survival things? Right yet us we need to feel purposeful. Yes, we need to keep our capability always, keep people independence as much as we can’t always always, but also have the support in place that allows them to have an off day. Absolutely, Daphne, that is so important. So tell us a little bit about how we reach you. So the easiest way to reach me, as I as I let you know, is at eight hundred and fifty five, seven hundred and thirty four, one thousand five hundred, and we do have a website as well. It’s Pinnacle Senior Placementscom and it’s never too early to call you if some if if your loved one has even an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia or any sort of mobility issues. You can help people with even in home care to come into the house and you can even help with, you know, the advanced planning and talking about what to talk about, you know, in the future or anything like that. So and Daphne services again, are free to you. So please give her a call and thank you so much for being on the show to there so well. The preceding podcast was provided by pinnacles senior placements LLC and answers for elders radio. To contact pinnacles senior placements, go to Pinnacle 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.