GREENSBORO, NC -- As the number of seniors with dementia grows, there are an increasing number of tools available to help families in their day to day care. Scott Silknitter from Caregiving101 joined Tracey McCain with some great items.
DOLL & PET THERAPIES
There are several therapies out there that can help caregivers with their loved one who has dementia. Doll therapy and pet therapy are great examples. Dolls can be used for someone whose dementia has progressed to the point that she believes that she is a young mother again and is caring for her own babies. Pet therapy uses live, loveable animals such as dogs and cats as calming influences for seniors who may have dementia or even some other chronic issue.
There are some combinations of the doll and pet therapy that can help with behavioral outbursts. Behavioral outbursts are one of the worst things that family caregivers face so we want to look at every therapy or tool to figure out the best way to calm them down.
• Something that they can connect with
• Something that validates how they feel
• Something that can help them move past their current trigger
Here are some great examples of different tools from the Alzheimers Store that caregivers may want to try
1. Weighted bear – weighs 3 lbs so it can feel like a baby when it is cradled in your arm ,but it is also furry so you can stroke it. It can be put in microwave to heat up or freezer to cool down to help on warm or cold days
2. Real Baby Doll – Unlike your typical baby doll from the toy store, this little guy as a little bit of weight to him as well. It is so well received that the largest Nursing Home Company in the country uses this doll exclusively for their memory care units
3. Robot dolls – There are great advances in robotic toys and animals and things are becoming more and more life like. Here is a cat from Hasbro that can be used if a live kitty just is not practical for your home. It purrs and meows and you can pet it like you would a real cat.
Wandering is a huge concern for families caring for a loved one with dementia. Scott Silknitter from Caregiving 101 joined Meghann Mollerus with some tools and tips to help.
No matter where someone is caring for a senior with any form of dementia, wandering is a very real concern. Places like Skilled Nursing facilities have locked units and multiple staff members keeping a watchful eye on residents. Families at home face the exact same issue, but unfortunately may not have the budget for a large staff and secure unit alarms. Thankfully, new technology and ingenuity offer family caregivers the opportunity to protect their loved one and themselves.
When looking at these tools we have to remember some of the basics of caregiving that will apply:
• Preparation - Make changes to your home before it is too late
• Knowing your loved one - What tools will be most effective for them
• Change is inevitable, be ready for it – As diseases progress, you must be ready for more secure tools
With those in mind, we can look at some of the tools that are available. A few neat ones from the Alzheimers store require the use of technology like smart phones or a computer:
1. GPS locator Watch – Connects to smartphone and is warn like a watch
2. Door Alarm runs on a battery and plugs in the wall
3. Alarm Sensor Pad – senses changes in weight like when your loved one leaves the bed and sets off an alarm
4. Button Sensor - Sensor is attached to your loved ones clothes like a name tag and then connected to a smart phone – You can program safe zones that one you loved one leaves an area, you are alerted. You can also use it as a GPS device