Kelley Smith from CarePartners Senior Living joins Suzanne to add insights and advice to the third and fourth of Teepa Snow‘s six tips for making holidays successful for those who have Alzheimer’s and dementia, providing advice and insight.
Tip 3: Be Ready to Hear the Same Story Multiple Times. Kelley says, “This is also a good way to connect with mom and dad. What if, while dad was telling your story about his fishing trip to Alaska – you’ve heard it nine times – ask who went with you. Who went? How long have you known Bobby? Didn’t you guys grow up together? You can steer the story, to see what else do they remember? One of these days you’re not gonna hear that story any more. For your grandkids, what about taking the opportunity to record some of these stories over the holidays? These are things that I look back on, things I wish I had of my grandparents.”
Tip 4. Avoid Direct Corrections. Kelley says, “This is one of my favorites. What Teepa says is, corrections don’t make you feel good about yourself. I’ll tell you something, I’ve been embarrassed in the past by well-meaning people who correct you, and the first thing I always jumped to is, I don’t remember you being my mother, and I’m not five, right? A person living with dementia, their brain doesn’t fire the same way. You have dementia and you don’t really even understand first of all what was said, but now, coming at you is this correction, it’s it’s a little demeaning in a way. I’ve always been a big fan of ‘follow them where they’re going.’
“They’re doing the best they can with the memories that they’ve got. They’re not liars, they’re not trying to set you up, but just telling a story, and they might not get all the details right. Is it important? No, so pick your battles. Not every story is going to be 100% accurate, not every every memory is going to be 100%, and that’s okay. You have to give yourself a little grace too. You’re not going to be perfect. Let it go. It’s not life for death.”
In the next segment, Kelley and Suzanne talk about the fifth and sixth tips. Learn more about CarePartners Senior Living at their website.
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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman 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 Newman found herself 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. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, 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.