The Twilight Years Are Here

The Twilight Years Are Here

Friday, June 10, 2011

Top 5 Security Objects Favored by People With Alzheimer's (courtesy of

By Paula Spencer, senior editor
Last updated: April 12, 2011

Holding a security object can be calming to someone in the later stages of dementia. Don't insist that the person engage with the object (although he or she might, and that's great). Just having it around to see or hold provides the emotional link to a better mood.

You might be surprised by what works for your loved one. Some leading favorites:

Soft objects, such as a favorite shawl or a textured blanket

Animals, such as a real pet or a stuffed animal; they provide tactile pleasure

An object representative of the person's past: a newspaper, a briefcase, or a tennis ball for someone who once used these things every day, or a baby doll for a mother

A simple everyday item, such as glasses, a purse, a hat, or a watch

A photograph: Less common, since the person in the image is apt to be forgotten (but people have been known to grow attached to the frame itself)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Little Advice

For those who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s:

I make a point of going away for a couple of days every few months. My daughter stays here while I am gone (she is a paid elderly caregiver and Dad responds well to her). I call it recharging my batteries. In my case, I go home to visit my mother and my 92 yr old grandmother, the 2 most influential women in my life. While I’m there, it allows my mother to take a break from caring for my grandmother and gives me an opportunity to spend time with my grandmother. It may not sound like much of a break to most people but it's what works for me. Figure out what works for you then do it, regularly. Preferably before you have a melt down.

Do something for yourself. Make time for yourself. Take care of yourself. It's way too easy to run yourself into the ground when you are providing the kind of care we do.

You can't help the irritation or the frustration you feel. It's a part of our lives. Imagine how frustrating it must be from the person with Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer's is the most frustrating disease I know and that's all there is to it. The trick is to find ways to deal with YOUR angst. Even if it means having someone else come in for a few hours so you can remove yourself from the situation. I frequently run to the grocery store or the pharmacy when my husband is at home just to get away from it all. Some days it's the only hour of the day that I'm not frustrated, irritated or exasperated. But I know it helps keep me sane.

It’s ok to hate the disease. Believe me, you will make mistakes. You are only human. Forgive yourself! What you are doing is the most selfless act of love anyone can ever do for another human being. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. Be your own best friend, not your own worst enemy.