For our friends in these traumatic situations across America, I think I can offer some help! If you have someone living with you that has Alzheimer’s I am sure your life has turned more than upside down. Before you leave you homes for safety, here’s some ideas to keep meltdowns from happening.
Here’s some things you may want to pack, and heaven knows you may need to pack light:
• Please make sure you take a few of their favorite clothes, light jacket, warm sweater- for hot & cold moments that arise.
• Pack a photo book or photos special to them.
• Take a book with you that is familiar so you can read to them.
• Grab some headphones and a radio so you can use this as a tool when they are overwhelmed.
• Also make sure you can access comforting music for them.
• Take their pillow and favorite blanket if possible.
• Pack any medications they need and maybe some Tylenol or Aleve for flair ups or aches and pains.
• Pack any paperwork that is pertinent to advanced wishes if something should go wrong.
• If you have a 25-piece puzzle or a deck of cards with you that will help keep them busy.
• Access coloring books/crayons or anything they have for kids if your loved one is in an advanced stage.
• Take cotton balls and you can have fun throwing them back and forth at each other.
• Food will be difficult so if possible, take bread, peanut butter and jelly, some paper plates and candy. Finger foods work well for ease.
• Paper plates, plastic utensils are easy to transport and take water.
If you land at a shelter please try to find a quiet corner where you can shield them from over stimulation. Stay out and away from the center of the room. As often as possible take them for a quiet walk, sing songs, or use the head phones mentioned above. Maybe find a church nearby for quiet time.
I know it sounds too easy, but you must remain as calm as possible. The person with dementia will feed off your emotions. The more upset you are, the more upset they will be. This may be as tragic and traumatic as any situation you will ever find yourself in. They will not understand what is happening and you may not be able to reason with them. My heart truly goes out to all of you in this situation. Finally keep your tone of your voice low and calm, ask yes or no questions to your loved one, and stay as far away as you can from people who are upset and crying if possible.
We are all praying for you and wish you the best getting through these extremely tough times.