The act of caregiving stirs lots of emotions and lots of hints from your readers. The AARP Andrus Foundation received hundreds of great suggestions and practical tips to help those who care for an Alzheimer's patient to make it through the day.
Our newest brochure contains 26 of the best tips. Readers who would like a copy can download the brochure at www.andrus.org/heloise2002 or call AARP at 800-424-3410 and ask for Heloise Publication D17740.
Here are the top five hints:
1. Post a daily calendar of events. This will help the person with dementia remember what he or she will be doing each day. Prepare a notebook where you fill in each day's plans. Keep it in plain view. Cross out each activity as it is completed.
Terrie Ilaria, Kittery, Maine
2. When your loved one is having difficulty holding eating utensils, use a foam rubber hair curler to place on the handle to make it easier to grasp.
Gloria Patmore, Port Charlotte, Fla.
3. Tape recordings made by family and friends whose voices are familiar are helpful. Recorded events, people and anecdotes from family history, when played repeatedly, are very calming and helpful in restoring some memory.
Barbara Yoffe, Kensington
4. If possible, have all prescriptions come from one pharmacy. The pharmacist can then check for any interactions.
Sylvia Stern, Ipswich, S.D.
5. Tape pictures of what is behind a door that leads to the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc., so the person doesn't get confused when looking for a particular room.
Fern Tilley, Columbus, Ohio
Finally, Lisa Gwyther, an Alzheimer's researcher, sent the following poem that says it all:
REQUESTS FROM PEOPLE WITH ALZHEIMER'S
Be patient with me. My disease is beyond my control.
Accept me the way I am. I still have something to offer you.
Talk with and listen to me. I can't always answer, but I do understand the tone of your voice. Because I cannot remember does not mean that I am dumb.
Be kind to me. Your kindness may be the highlight of my day.
Don't hurry me. Each day I struggle to keep up and understand.
Consider my feelings. I am sensitive to shame, embarrassment, failure, fear and uncertainty. Don't ignore me.
Treat me with dignity. I am not less of a person because I have Alzheimer's disease.
Remember my past. Remind me of successes, values and worth.
Remember my present. Let me do what I can do. Break down activities into steps I can handle. I respond to encouragement.
Remember my future. I need hope for tomorrow.
Pray for me. Your presence shows true compassion.
Manager of Communications
AARP Andrus Foundation
Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.(c)2002, King Features Syndicate