People in the early to middle stages of Alzheimer's tend to hide and hoard things. The theory is that these behaviors are a result of a fear of being robbed.
As a caregiver, I often found personal care items, food, newspapers, books, and garbage hidden in bags, boxes, sugar bowls, suitcases, under the bed, in closets, hampers, drawer and purses. However, these items weren't the problem.
The real frustration came when important items went missing. Car keys, remote controls, power cords, food about to be cooked, and everything else you can think of, would suddenly go missing.
The worry with this behavior is that the food, valuables and medications could be missing for days.
At the first sign of hoarding, put valuables where the person with Alzheimer's can't access them. Important documents, jewelry and other family treasures aren't at risk if they are stored somewhere else. You will save yourself a lot of grief if you decide to do this early in the disease. Think about medications and other important items, too. Put things you don't want to lose in a secure place.
It's okay to lose six pairs of socks. It's not okay to lose the house keys, medications, or legal documents.
Oh, and by the way, don't underestimate your person with Alzheimer's. They will take something from your easy hiding place and put it somewhere you may never find it.
Consider yourself warned. Good luck.
Around the time I began answering to "that girl," I realized names don't matter. At least they don't matter when you're dealing with Alzheimer's.
The fact that my Alzheimer's person didn't have a name for me didn't change the way we felt about each other. Our emotions remained the same. We laughed and cried and worried and loved the same way with and without names.
Try not to dwell on the things that are forgotten. It will make you sad to count your losses. Try instead to honor the relationship and emotions you still can share.
I'm sure you'll discover that love is love by any name.
She punched a code on the keypad and we went through the doors. My acronym anxiety immediately increased. As we toured the community, she bombarded me with code words: ADLs, CNAs, LPNs, MSU, SDP, LTC, DNR and DON. At least one reference every few sentences was a mystery to me.
I understand that language often is reduced to code so people inside a specific field can communicate quickly. But I was new to this, and already distressed just at the idea of assisted living for someone I love.
After touring 3 or 4 facilities, I began to remember what some of the acronyms meant
In Retrospect, I Think it Would be Best to Have a Decoder Ring BEFORE You Begin a Purchase as Emotionally and Financially Important as Assisted Living
So, here is a downloadable Learn The Lingo cheat sheet. It doesn’t have every term you’ll encounter, but it has some acronyms ever Alzheimer's caregiver needs to know.
Caring for someone with dementia at home can be an overwhelming situation. You find yourself laser focused on basic survival, and everything else falls far down — or completely off — your To Do List.
Who cares if the dishes are done when you spent the morning chasing after your wandering Alzheimer's person? Laundry will have to wait. Forget about cooking a real meal. Each day seems to turn into a lesson in basic survival. You can't go on like this.
I believe most friends and family members want to help. But often when people don't know what to do, they do nothing (sigh).
You're Going to Have to Ask for What You Need
Help with little things give friends and family a way to contribute, and allow them to see your true situation. When someone says, "how can I help?" be ready to accept their offer.
See, it's good for everyone when you don't do the dishes. Ask someone for help today.
Copyright 2020 by
Karen Favo Walsh.
All Rights Reserved.
My Book for Caregivers