Adapting to Changes in Routines

Scott Silknitter from Caregiving 101 discussed ways to deal with the negative impact changes to routines can have on your family members with dementia.

Routines allow caregivers to establish some sense of order and help prevent behavioral outbursts. Of course, routines will be disrupted and unfortunately, even the smallest change can lead to a behavioral issue for someone with dementia.

This is the time of year when kids everywhere are heading back to school. It's great for parents who are ready for the yearly school routine to begin, but it can be devastating for a loved one who enjoys regular visits with their grandchildren. When kids leave for school it can be very upsetting, especially for someone with dementia who might not understand why they don't visit anymore.

Silknitter offers these tips if you know family or friends who visit regularly are about to leave for school:

  • Schedule phone calls to hear their voice
  • Schedule Facetime or Skype calls to see their face
  • Create a photo album with moments from their visits

Adjusting to Changing Temperatures

Silknitter also discussed how temperature changes can be especially challenging for a caregiver whose loved one cannot fully communicate how they feel.

Consider this: your family member will experience different temperature extremes many times a day. Just going from the house, to the car and then the store can be tough, and that’s before you factor in how they feel because of their illness and their inability to fully communicate.

Fortunately, the answer to keeping your loved one comfortable is simple:

  • Preparation
  • Knowing your loved one
  • Layers

Silknitter says this may seem like common sense but it's easy to overlook things when you're stressed or exhausted.

First up: preparation. You need to prepare by checking your daily schedule to see when your family member might experience hot and cold extreme changes in temperatures.

Next: know your loved one. If they have a hard time speaking, you need to watch their body for visual clues. Those can include everything from fidgeting and sweating to repetitive motions.

Third: dress your loved one in layers of easily removable clothes so you can help them adjust accordingly to changing temperatures.

If you have questions for Silknitter, you can reach him here.